Locavore odds and ends: Five minutes of your time can really help our wineries

Fromage Fort - a cheese spread made from the odds and ends of cheeses leftover from the holidays. Yum!

After only two truly cold days, the 55 degrees this afternoon have me in a happy, spring-like mood. My mood might also be contributed to the fact that yesterday, the winery direct shipping bill finally made it out of committee in the New Jersey State Assembly and will be going to the floor for a vote on Monday, January 9, 2012. This is the third (I believe) version of the bill – the first two never made it to the floor for a vote. On Monday, if bill A-4436 passes, chances are really good that our wineries will be able to thrive, our vineyards will continue to exist to preserve open land, and consumers will have a freedom of choice.

It’s not a done deal, and this is where YOU are very important. If you go to Free the Grapes, you’ll find an incredibly easy way to contact your district’s representatives. In less than five minutes, you can send them emails encouraging them to vote for A-4436. They need to hear from as many of us as possible. They need to know this is important to their constituents. Please take a few minutes to do this before Sunday evening so when your representatives get to work on Monday, they’ll be inundated with our voices.

I’ve got a few odds and ends to let you know about, too.

  • Mark January 16th on your calendar for the 3rd Annual Mac Off to benefit The Food Bank of South Jersey. This year, the event will be held at The Collingswood Ballroom to be able to accommodate all the great people that want to come out and support our restaurants and the food bank.
  • Two of my favorite local producers Sharrott Winery and Cherry Grove Farm are teaming up on Saturday, January 21 from noon to 5pm for an afternoon of wine and cheese pairings at Sharrott’s tasting room.
  • If you’re being inundated with cute little Girl Scouts asking you to buy their cookies, but you don’t want the unhealthy ingredients, my partner in food writing over at MNN, Kimi, has a recipe for homemade Thin Mints.
  • Another recipe that might interest you is Fromage Fort. I read about this in my latest issue of Saveur and had to make it. You take the leftover cheeses that you have in the fridge and mix the in the food processor with white wine and butter to make a cheese spread that’s different every time. You can get the recipe for Fromage Fort on my MNN post.
  • In that same issue of Saveur (which was a really great issue – I enjoyed the whole thing cover to cover) there was a list of the Saveur 100 favorite things, and oyster stout made the list.  Flying Fish’s Exit 1 Oyster Stout was one of the stouts mentioned and pictured in the mag. How cool is that?

That’s it for this weekend. Things are fairly quiet after the holidays. We all need a quiet weekend, I suspect. I’ll be un-Christmasing my house this weekend. How about you?




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