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August 16-22, 2006

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In the Garden

By Patricia Lynn Henley

Insecto Man will be flitting through the acres of gardens at COPIA in Napa this weekend, filling the air with tantalizing accordion tunes. This green-and-brown-striped winged performer is just one of many signs that the third annual Edible Gardens Festival is not just another wine country event, says COPIA spokesman Tom Fuller. "It's really garden-centric," Fuller explains. "Obviously, people who love gardening will find it fun and informative, but people who love the outdoors and people with kids will have a great time. It's not your standard graze and sip."

Of course there will food and wine tasting, but there will also be garden-focused cooking demos; presentations on a variety of topics such as biodynamics, the basics of beekeeping or feng shui for gardens; creative craft activities; vendor booths; and a wide range of kid-oriented hands-on activities. "The bounty of the North Bay will be on display, and there will be music and great fun," Fuller adds.

In addition to the accordion wizardry of Insecto Man (11am-2pm both days), melodies will be provided by the Tucker Crosby Quintet (11:30am-1:30pm, Saturday), the Zydeco Flames (2-4pm, Saturday) and Pride and Joy (2-4pm, Sunday). Among those making presentations will be columnist and television personality Jeff Cox, author of The Organic Cook's Bible and 16 other books; Jeff Dawson, COPIA's founding director of gardens; Tony Kienitz, author of The Year I Ate My Yard; Helene Marshall of Marshall's Honey Farm; Flynn McDonald of Living Spaces; and ornamental horticulture instructor and author Pam Pierce.

The majority of the festival's activities will be held outdoors in COPIA's signature gardens, which are beautiful, educational and practical. "Most of the produce used in our Julia's Kitchen restaurant comes out of our garden," Fuller notes. Tours of COPIA's gardens are included in the festival lineup.

Edible Gardens Festival, 10am-5pm, Saturday and Sunday, Aug. 19 and 20. COPIA, 500 First St., Napa; $8-$10, free for members or children 12 and under; wine glass and five tastes. $5. 707.259.1600.

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