Tomato Sale to End All Tomato Sales & More

Grow your own tomatoes -- with the help of Love Apple Farm. (Photo courtesy of the farm)

Love Apple Farm’s Annual Tomato Seedling Sale

Yes, folks, this is the biggie — the tomato seedling sale that’s the largest in California, the one that attracts droves of home gardeners, including folks from Los Angeles, who have been known to drive up and back in one day just for it.

Why? Because Owner Cynthia Sandberg knows her tomatoes.

Sandberg runs the 20-acre Love Apple Farm in Santa Cruz, which supplies one — and only one — restaurant with an astounding variety of produce. That would be the Michelin-two-star Manresa in Los Gatos.

The seedling sale will kick off at 9 a.m. March 26 and run through June 26. An astounding 30,000 plants representing more than 100 varieties of heirloom and hybrid tomatoes will be sold, including Black Oxheart, Gary O’ Sena, Hippy Zebra and Mountain Pride. Seedling prices range from $3.50 to $5.50 each.

The sale will be held at Knox Garden Box, 46 El Pueblo Road in Scotts Valley. Hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Friday; and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturday and Sunday.

Additionally, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. April 30, Sandberg will host a Tomato Extravaganza Day at Knox Garden Box, which will feature demos on planting tomatoes, pruning techniques and advice on growing in containers or in the fog.

The scene at a previous seedling sale. (Photo courtesy of Love Apple Farm)

Restaurants Pitch In to Help Japan’s Tsunami Victims

With each day’s news reports bringing ever more dire news from Japan’s tsunami-ravaged and earthquake-rocked regions, Bay Area restaurants are lending a hand by raising funds for survivors. Here are some of the ways they are helping:

A who’s who of top toques will come together April 3 at Prospect restaurant in San Francisco for “Chefs Unite for Japanese Earthquake and Tsunami Farm Aid Dinner.”

A six-course dinner with paired wines and sake will be prepared by Ravi Kapur of Prospect; Sho Kamio of Yoshi’s; Hiro Sone and Lissa Doumani of Ame and Terra; Bruce Hill of Bix, Zero Zero and Picco; Staffan Terje of Perbacco and Barbacco; and Paul Canales, formerly of Oliveto.

Tickets are $300 per person with all proceeds going to charity.

The Bacchus Management Group’s restaurants will host “Dine Out for Japan” on March 30. That day, 10 to 15 percent of sales from each restaurant will be donated to the American Red Cross.

The restaurants are: Cafe des Amis in San Francisco; Mayfield Bakery & Cafe in Palo Alto; Spruce in San Francisco; the Village Pub in Woodside; and Pizza Antica locales in San Jose, Lafayette, Mill Valley and Santa Monica.

Through the end of March,  Ozumo restaurants in Oakland and San Francisco will donate all proceeds from its $8 Kibou No Hana (“flower of hope”) cocktail to the American Red Cross.

San Francisco’s Nombe will donate all proceeds from its March 24 sake pairing dinner to the Japan Disaster Relief Fund. The meal will include four courses and five sakes, including an 18-year-old koshu (“aged”) one with notes of cinnamon, caramel and cigar smoke. Price is $45 per person.

Nombe also plans to give $3 of sales of one food item each day to Japan Disaster Relief.

And through March 27, Le Colonial in San Francisco will donate 1.5 percent of all revenue from both its bar and dining room to the American Red Cross.

East Bay Vintners Invite You to Taste Wines

To get a taste of the urban winery phenomenon exploding across the East Bay, come to the fourth annual Passport to the East Bay, noon to 5 p.m. April 2.

Presented by the East Bay Vintners Alliance, the event will feature six tasting rooms pouring selections from 21 award-winning wineries in the East Bay. The tasting rooms are: Dasche Cellars/JC Cellars, Cerrutti Cellars, Periscope Cellars, Rock Wall Wine Co., Rosenblum Cellars, and Urban Legend.

Tickets are $40 in advance here or $45 at the door at any of the tasting rooms listed above. Designated drivers pay $10. With the admission fee, you get a wristband to gain access to all six tasting rooms, which will provide wine tastes, appetizers and a souvenir glass. Designated drivers will receive a commemorative coffee mug.

A Cheesy Time

Cheese lovers will want to head to the fifth annual California’s Artisan Cheese Festival’s scrumptious marketplace, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. March 27, at the Sheraton Sonoma County in Petaluma.

Seventy-three artisan producers will be sampling their cheeses. Additionally, there will be chef demos and book signings.

Tickets are $45 per person; $25 for youths, ages 12-20; and free for children under 12.

Taste of the Nation

Take part in the 22nd annual Share Our Strength Taste of the Nation gala, April 7 at the Bentley Reserve in San Francisco, for a deserving cause.

A bevy of chefs, led by Honorary Event Co-Chairs Chris Cosentino of Incanto in San Francisco and Traci des Jardins of Jardiniere in San Francisco, will be providing the gourmet eats.

Tickets are $95 for general admission, $165 for VIP level access (which gets you in an our earlier, access to a private lounge, and free valet parking) and $500 for executive level access (which includes complimentary car service to the event and access to the after party). All proceeds benefit programs to help hungry children.

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