Towering feat

Tower of tubers — The giant squash tower is always a crowd pleaser at the Heirloom Expo, which returns to Sonoma County for its ninth year on Sept. 10, 11 and 12. 

For the eighth year in a row the Heirloom Expo returns to Sonoma County, with three packed days of food, education and fun, Sept. 10 through 12. The celebration of small-scale, organic and sustainable farming returns with a variety of new displays, new speakers and some new vendors.

The Art of the Heirloom contest will select original art that will grace the Hudson Valley Seed Company’s seed packets for the 2020 Expo. There will also be demonstrations and classes for fruit, vegetable and seed carvers and artists.

In addition, there will be workshops and talks on the importance of collecting, conserving and sharing heirloom seeds, along with a giant seed swap, this year expanded to all three days of the Expo. Visitors are encouraged to bring seeds and join in.

There will be speakers each day of the expo, with this year’s headliners including Robert F. Kennedy Jr., Food Revolution Network’s Ocean Robbins, seed saver and pure food activities Dr. Vandana Shiva of India, and botanical explorer Joseph Simcox.  

Heirloom tomatoes are always a crowd pleaser, and there will be a tasting and judging all three days. There will also be watermelon tastings throughout.

The giant pumpkin contest returns with $5,000 in prize money, along with a dahlia show and a rare poultry show, also both offering prize money.

The Global “Local” Food Fair will also showcase all the culinary delights possible with our local food products.

Children are always a focus of the expo, and all proceeds go to the Sonoma County School Garden Network and toward the costs of transporting students to the expo. According to its website, last year 5,000 school children attended the expo for free, thanks to these programs.

The Kid’s Festival will feature classes, tastings and games, and a new pavilion of kid’s items. Local school garden programs will have displays and will be entering their produce in a competition.

There will be over 30 food vendors, a folk music festival and an art show, with items made from natural materials.

The Heirloom Expo takes place Sept. 10, 11, and 12 and is held at the Sonoma County Fairgrounds, 1350 Bennett Valley Road, Santa Rosa. Tickets are available at the gate, a one-day ticket is $10, a three-day pass is $30 and children are free. The gates will be open 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. More information is at www.theheirloomexpo.com.

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