Pick of wine, peas, lamb, cherries
There is a giddiness to the first days of summer. The season stretches ahead -- long days, warm nights, and there is a feeling that anything is possible, any jaunt worthwhile. Late June and early July are perfect times for food trips: a gala wine festival in Telluride, Colo.; the Purple Hull festival in tiny Emerson, Ark., or a lamb barbecue on an island in British Columbia. Sample the cuisine of the fine restaurants of Los Angeles at a Taste of the Nation event, or go cherry pick in Michigan.
Chefs from restaurants such as the Border Grill, Beacon, Ford's Filling Station, and Violet will offer tastes of their finest dishes at Media Park in Culver City in one of 70 such events scheduled this summer across the United States and Canada . There will be wine to taste, a chefs' challenge cookoff, and children's activities. All proceeds go to Share Our Strength and its efforts to end childhood hunger in America . Tickets are $95 in advance, $105 at the event; children ages 6-15 $25, 5 and under free.
877-26TASTE (877-268-2783). taste.strength.org.
A town of 359 residents not far from the Louisiana border, Emerson started its pea extravaganza more than 10 years ago to liven things up and to honor a vegetable grown in many a backyard garden. The marquee event is the rototiller race, in which contestants compete on souped-up cultivators. Other contests include a kids' fishing derby, a shelling competition, and a pea cookoff. The cost is minimal, up to about $20 for entering the rototiller contest.
870-547-3500, 501-315-7373. purplehull.com.
We may associate Telluride with winter fun, but this town almost 9,000 feet up in the San Juan Mountains is spectacular in summer, too, when it will play host to its 26th annual fete. Wine tastings, food pairings, demonstrations and classes by chefs and sommeliers, and live and silent auctions will fill the four days. Among those participating are Bertrand Bouquin , executive chef of Summit at the Broadmoor in Colorado Springs; Andy Nusser of Casa Mono and Karen DeMasco, pastry chef of Craft , both in New York. Ticket prices range from about $50 for individual events to $395 for packages.
This island of 350 year-round residents served by ferries from Vancouver and Victoria keeps its summer festival low-key, celebrating Canada Day with a lamb barbecue at Winter Cove Park. Whole lambs will be cooked on spits and dished up with cole slaw, Spanish rice, and buns . The event , which began in 1950 as a school picnic on a family farm at Saturna Beach, benefits the Saturna Island Community Club, which helps with projects such as health care, school outings, and the annual children's Christmas party. Tickets are $18.50, $12 for children.
The 81st annual event will dish up plenty of the red fruit . Along with cherry tastings, wine samplings, and ice cream socials, there will be tours of orchards, picnics, and volleyball. Some events are free; wine and cherry tastings have moderate fees.
Events are sometimes canceled, rescheduled, or sold out; call or check online to confirm. Alison Arnett can be reached at email@example.com.