Daily Archives: June 25, 2014

B-Town Barrel Fest

Can’t ignore a ‘Barrel Fest’, especially when it’s only two hours east of Paso Robles. Bakersfield will be hosting the B-Town Barrel Fest on Saturday (June 27th) at the Kern County Museum.

Anything that comes from the inside of a barrel will be there for tasting, including beer, spirits (i.e. whiskey), tequila and wine. By the way, this isn’t to be confused with the Bakersfield Craft Beer Festival.

There will be several tequilas on hand and well over a dozen beers. Margaritas and Bloody Marys will be on tap as well.

Good last year – Even better this year

A success with last year’s inaugural Barrel Fest, expect much the same including food, games, contests and other activities, comedians, plus live entertainment. Three local bands will perform — classic rockers Dust Bowl Disciples; La Marcha, playing salsa, cumbia and dance music; and Members Only, billed as the “ultimate ’80s band. Once again, it should be a fun time.

You must be 21 to attend and tickets go for $35. If you plan on going, go online and get your tickets electronically to save $5. The proceeds will benefit the museum. And note that your ticket gets you samplings, but the food is extra. The event runs from 6:00 pm through the evening.

With a park-like setting, the Kern County Museum is on Chester Ave across the street from Floyd’s General Store. They’re in the north central part of town off of the 204 (Golden State Ave) – also, if you know where the Sam Lynn baseball park is, they’re right next door. Stay cool.

Click here for ticket information.

Salootie Patootie,

Daryle W. Hier

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All About Lavender

What is the fascination with lavender and why do we celebrate it? The purple colored ornamental flower has been used as a herb, for ages. How far back? To the beginning of time? Here’s a quick rundown on the amazing and ageless plant.

Lavender field

Lavender fields are a common sight in places like the California Central Coast

Lavender, which technically is called Lavandula, is a part of the mint family. Personally, I know of these plants having grown mint as a guard of the vegetable garden since it discourages pest – they are invasive though. The lavender isn’t as invasive and brings in beneficial insects while turning away unwanted pests. In fact, grow them around fruit trees, because they attract good bugs and deter the bad ones.  The plants are usually perennial, so you plant and leave them – although they do need trimmed in late winter or early spring. Once established, they grow for years with little care.

Origins

The name comes from the Latin word lavare which means ‘to wash’. The plant supposedly originated in the Middle East around the Mediterranean region, which may be why it does so well here in California. The plants can take harsh dry heat in the summer, yet withstand frost in the winter. Lavender is sometimes considered a drought tolerant plant and you can find it growing in the wild on the Central Coast of California.

As most of us know, the lavender fragrance is one of its biggest attractions. However, most importantly, the oils from this potent herb have been utilized since the beginning of time and later found their way into the Bible when Mary Magdalene cleaned Jesus’ feet. The medicinal uses of lavender’s antimicrobial essential oils are legendary. In China, it is utilized for almost anything to do with medical use due to its anti-inflammatory properties.

Lavender flower

Healing properties

The popularity of its essence is used for soothing herbal baths and the aroma has been said to be an aphrodisiac. Another use of lavender is as an insecticidal along with deodorant and disinfectant – potpourri has plenty of lavender in them. Part of the liquid generated from the plant is about one third of a type of alcohol that is non-toxic to humans, yet an antiseptic, but repels bugs such as mosquitoes and lice.

Still, its properties allow chefs around the world to flavor their dishes with both a great flavor and scent. Now, folks add lavender to enhance vinegars, honey and a host of other foods and fares. Far-reaching eats and drinks can be found with lavender including cookies and margaritas.

There are countless uses for lavender. And to help feature the soothing miracle herb, there are lavender events all-around the United States and many of them are here in California. They often will have exhibits featuring how the plants are cultivated and dried, along with how the oils are extracted.

Come see the magical herb

One of the fastest growing purple-shaded events is the Lavender Festival presented by the Paso Robles Main Street Association and the Central Coast Lavender Association. The annual celebration is located at the City Park in Downtown Paso Robles. This year you can enjoy the festivities on the second Saturday of July between 10:00 am and 5:00 pm.

Lavender Festival

Central Coast Lavender Festival

There are a plethora of lavender products and along with them, the associated arts and craft products you see at any Central Coast fair, including wine barrels and half wine barrels. Come on out and have fun finding out the wonders of lavender. As always, Downtown Paso is filled with gourmet restaurants and of course dozens and dozens of tasting rooms.

Additional sources: The Lavender Lover’s Handbook, About.com

Au revoir,

Daryle W. Hier

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