Summer school: A sampling of upcoming food, wine and gardening courses

(Jessica M. Pasko / Lookout Santa Cruz)

Looking to grow your knowledge of food and agriculture? From fungi and lavender to cooking classes for adults and kids, Jessica M. Pasko checks out a few of Santa Cruz County’s offerings.

This story was originally featured in this week’s Lily Belli on Food newsletter. Be first the first to hear about food and drink news in Santa Cruz County — sign up for Lily’s email newsletter here and text alerts here.

If you’ve got some free time this summer and an interest in learning something new about food and agriculture, there’s a whole host of classes and workshops around Santa Cruz County to get you started. Here’s a quickie (and by no means comprehensive) guide to some that stood out to me.

Santa Cruz Fungi will be back at Mountain Feed and Farm Supply in Ben Lomond on Sunday to teach a course on how to add mushrooms to your garden bed. Learn about the benefits of adding the edible fungus alongside your veggies and get a step-by-step demo on how to get started (and a mushroom tasting, to boot.) The workshop is $25 and runs from 9:30 to 11 a.m.

Roberts Ranch Vineyard in Ben Lomond is holding its annual Days of Wine and Lavender workshop Saturday, June 24, focusing on how to dry lavender and use it for culinary purposes. Participants will get to taste some lavender-centric bites, sample some wine and go home with a bundle of fresh lavender, dried lavender and lavender lemon cookies. Tickets, available here, are $50 or $40 for those under 21, and $25 for wine club members.

There’s something for almost everyone — newbie and experienced gardeners alike — on Scotts Valley’s Love Apple Farm’s upcoming class schedule, including tips on all things tomatoes, growing better peppers and workshops on how to keep wildlife from destroying your veggie bed. See the full list here.

Ellie Lavender, a self-taught vegan Mediterranean chef, is teaching a trio of Saturday cooking classes this summer at FlipJack Ranch in Bonny Doon. She’ll focus on French tarts and galettes on June 17, the cuisine of Provence on July 22, and the food of Valencia, Spain, on Aug. 19 (including vegan paella). Each class is capped at 10 students, runs $175 and includes a bottle of wine.

Got an aspiring chef on your hands? There are still slots left in Teen Kitchen Project’s summer cooking camps for kids ages 7-13 at the organization’s kitchen in Aptos. Among this year’s offerings are international cuisine and gluten-free cooking. Check out the options here; each weeklong session is $450.