Canandaigua grape grower Len Barron will appear on "Martha Bakes" with Martha Stewart in April

CANANDAIGUA — Thirty minutes ahead of schedule, Len Barron arrived at the PBS television studio in Manhattan — grapes in hand, of course.

What did you expect the Grape Guy to have as part of his carry-on bags, bananas?

Barron, who with his wife, Angela, have run the Barron Pratt Barn and Vineyard in Canandaigua for more than 25 years, brought samples of 10 of the 16 varieties of table grapes he grows along with him on his trip to the Big Apple last September.

So in comes Martha Stewart — yes, that Martha Stewart — who hosts the PBS television show, “Martha Bakes.” Barron was there to tape a segment for the show on grapes.

“And off we went,” Barron said. “Boy, there’s no delays. She’s a unique lady, definitely business-oriented and runs a tight ship. It was enjoyable meeting her.”

And, he said, Stewart — who grows two 20-foot rows of grapes of her own, Barron said — possesses a good, working knowledge of grapes and a desire to learn more.

“She had many questions,” Barron said. “What gets cut out, I have no idea. But we did it in one take.”

Barron is hopeful that her interest will be evident in the episode he’s to appear in, and, of course, Finger Lakes table grapes get the wider attention they deserve.

When the show airs, however, depends on where you live. Here’s the Barrons’ best guess.

In the Rochester viewing area, season 11 of “Martha Bakes” begins at 8 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 19. The show repeats Thursday and Sunday evenings.

Most likely, Barron said, it will be April 23 in the Rochester area.

Barron is to appear in the 10th episode of the season, aptly titled “Grapes.” Based on other episodes in the series, he expects his segment to be about 6 minutes in duration.

But the show could air anywhere from March 9 through April 23. His wife, Angela, suggests consulting local listings because PBS stations throughout the country air the show on different days and times.

Some stations have already begun airing this season, so Barron may be seen talking grapes sooner rather than later.

And people want to know.

“We appreciate the interest that family, friends, employees and our valued customers have expressed in this ‘must-see TV’ event,” Angela Barron said in an email.

The Barrons started the vineyard with 1,800 vines on 5 acres of property after leaving the corporate life at Xerox Corp. He produces an estimated 30 tons of his many varieties of seeded and seedless grapes. Half of what is grown goes to school districts in Ontario, Wayne and Livingston counties.

The school kids here love the product, as do the Martha Stewart people, Barron said.

The grapes he brought with him came off looking great.

“They were very impressed,” Barron said. “People down in New York City don’t usually get to see fresh grapes. After the taping, she told her aide to collect all the grapes. ‘They’re going home with me.’”

Fire and Ice

Here’s a few reminders about the Canandaigua Fire and Ice Winter Festival's food and drink events planned for Saturday.

Remember, no chili this year. Instead, set your tastes on macaroni and cheese, as the Downtown MacDown competition will pit the best of this comfort food mainstay. Also on tap, local beer makers will be in competition for the best brew.

The competitions feature the likes of Catch 407, Mac’s Philly Steaks, Brew ‘n’ Brats, Peacemaker Brewing Company, Rio Tomatlan, Gateway Grille, Flavors, Simply Crepes, the Green Front, Casa de Pasta, Nick’s Chophouse, Climbing Bines, Nolan’s on Canandaigua Lake and Il Posto.

Tickets are $10 a person, and it’s limited to the first 500 people. And you have to be 21 to participate in the brewery tastings.

Judging is from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., with an awards ceremony following.

And that’s not all. Also planned is a cocoa crawl, which runs from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The first 200 people can buy a collectible mug for $5 and enjoy cocoa tastings at participating businesses.

Tickets and mugs can be purchased at the information booth at 115 S. Main St.

Mark your calendar

A mix of nearly 30 breweries, wineries, cideries and distilleries will serve up some of their best products at the first-ever Rochester/Finger Lakes Craft Beverage Trail tasting event.

The event, First Fest, will be held Friday, March 29, at Ravenwood Golf Club in Victor, and will feature samples from nearly 30 craft beverage producers. Plus, there will be food vendors, a free tasting glass, music and raffle prizes. The ROC/FLX Craft Beverage Trail is a nonprofit collaboration between brewers, wine makers, cider makers and distillers.

First Fest will offer a VIP hour from 6 to 7 p.m. Participants can sample special selections only available to patrons in the first hour with a $40 ticket. General admission tickets are $30 each and are good from 7 to 9 p.m. The trail will also offer a designated drive ticket for $15. Tickets are on sale at CraftBeverage.EventBrite.com.