Heavy Rain May Mean Soggy Harvest of Oregon Grapes

Heavy rains may make for a soggy harvest in Oregon’s wine country.

In the southern Willamette Valley, for instance, the Eugene Register-Guard reports (http://bit.ly/1bV9Yuh ) that with heavy precipitation the past two weeks, September rainfall is more than four times the local average.

That threatens grapes with mildew, rot, dilution and splitting.

Cold days and nights shut some vines down for the winter, causing leaves to turn orange and vines to begin leaching sugars from the grapes.

The conditions are especially tough on Oregon’s prize but finicky pinot noir grapes.

It may be weeks or months, though, before winemakers can assess the impact of the rain on this year’s wines.

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Information from: The Register-Guard, http://www.registerguard.com (AP)

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Website Wednesday: Association of Food Journalists

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This week’s selection is from the Association of Food Journalists.

I can tell you firsthand that this site will soon change its overall look, but for now, this is the homepage.

This is the organization that I proudly belong to.

Food journalists can learn about upcoming conferences and contests. There’s also a scrolling recipe on the right side and a bar at the top for membership.

The links section is pretty expansive – from garlic info, to recipes and cookbooks to the Salt Institute and the Wheat Foods Council.

The greatest resource this site has is the member directory – with attached links. Yes, I am on there. I’m one of the few who work for a TV station (mostly everyone else works for a newspaper.)

afjmember

Most of the current site is for members, but that may soon change.

While it’s not currently the prettiest site to look at, it does contain a lot of important information if you are interested in food journalism.

Website Wednesday: Fine Dining Lovers

finedininglovers

This week’s selection is Fine Dining Lovers.

First of all, tell me that is not in anyway an enticing giant cover photo?! I dare you!

On its homepage, the site says “we talk about best chefs in the world, cooking techniques, food blogs, food design, food festivals, gourmet recipes, Latin America, table tips, tastes.”

And at the bottom, it adds to the ‘talk’ list with “Easter ideas, identita golose, Asia 50 best restaurants, Thanksgiving ideas, Christmas dinner ideas, S. Pellegrino Cooking Cup, Acqua Panna, S. Pellegrino, drinks, gifts for foodies.”

Don’t think I can really improve on that – can you?

I will say the day I visited they featured a travel article on where to get the 7 best cappuccinos in Rome. The photo alone sucked me in. A linked graphic explains espresso variations for those who may not know the difference an Americano and a breve….actually an Americano sounds good right now!

I originally stumbled upon this site by searching for Luca Manfe, the newest winner of MasterChef. I didn’t know a lot about him – despite for watching the show since May (!) – so I thought I’d expand my brain and learn more.

And voila!

Mouth-watering recipes include potato slices with aromatic herbs and shrimps, plum chutney in a jar, French onion soup and pork stuffed with broccoli and cheese.

Since I can’t travel to Italy every week, I must say I really do like the layout and typography a lot – really gives off a European vibe, especially with the metric food measurings.

Abbastanza sito!

USDA to Let Hawaii Ship Avocados to Mainland U.S.

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Guacamole connoisseurs around the U.S. will soon have a new domestic avocado to try — not from California or Florida, but Hawaii.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture is changing its rules for Hawaii growers to allow them to ship Sharwil avocados to 32 mainland U.S. states between November and March.

According to a USDA rule scheduled to be published in the Federal Register on Thursday, the shipments will help give shoppers an option to buy domestic avocados during winter months, when most grocery stores stock avocados from Mexico instead.

President Tom Benton of the Hawaii Avocado Association says growers mostly on the Big Island and Maui produce roughly 1 million pounds of the fruit each year, but until now have only been able to sell within the state. (AP)

Website Wednesday: Candy Warehouse

candywarehouse

This week’s selection is from Candy Warehouse.

Ok, put quite simply, imagine Willy Wonka on crack.

And what better time to explore this site than around Halloween time? You’re welcome! I actually stumbled upon this url in Bon Appetit Magazine.

Candies are separated by occasion, brands, types, flavors, holidays and even by color. So if you’re daughter only likes pink, you can accomodate that wish without going nuts! Pink all around! Oh, and she can only eat kosher?! No problem!

I will say I got totally sucked in by the occasion – game – category. I love me some Monopoly – so look what I found. Oh my God! Have you ever seen anything like this anywhere else? Most likely no.

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I also like how it’s not all chocolate. I get migraines from it, so it’s nice to see other non-chocolate candies, like gummy bears, taffy or jelly beans.

And what the shelf life of candy? You can learn about that too!

I could seriously spend all day here! Is there anything this site hasn’t thought about?!

A la Burning Man

bmcamp

It’s a little known secret I attend Burning Man. For the past 5 of 6 years, I have endured dust and heat for my personal enjoyment of art, counterculture and drinking.

This year was no different. Did I mention the heat?

While I whined to my boyfriend beforehand I wanted to try some gourmet food, he steered me back to my senses and we ended up eating normal or canned food. But we also experimented with some other treats. Like for instance, did you know that caramel and salted rice cakes are sooooo yummy? Myabe it’s the heat talking, but that was a pleasant surprise.

I even got him to try Frangelico with coffee! While that’s not a shocker to coffee enthusiasts, he looked like he never thought of combining the two. Mornings were also spent slaved over a hot Coleman grill frying up bacon to neighboring…apparent….vegetarians. Every year he makes a point of going up with seven pounds of bacon (1 for each day), but this year, he actually came back with some. Much to the delight of surrounding vegetarians.

Our goal was really simple: try to minimize actual cooking. Yes, all the gourmet food dreams I had were basically dismissed by way of brown sugar pop tarts, mini bagel sandwiches, freeze-dried ice cream, bananans and apple slices with caramel dip. Granted it worked, but I’d also would have liked a steak, just sayin’. In reality though – you know how long that would have taken to cook on a Coleman stove? I don’t even have that much patience when I’m *not at Burning Man!

Cocktails were also reduced to smaller portions. Not as cool when you’re guzzling cotton candy vodka out of a disguised shampoo bottle! Luckily, my Frangelico was already a small bottle, so we just kept that and shared it between the both of us.

It’s not even been two weeks since we left the playa – and already we’re planning for next year – and now one of our co-workers will apparently be joining us. Oh boy! Lucky for me, he wants to ‘camp’ in a RV! Hells yeah! Been bitching to get one for the past five years – maybe next year I’ll finally get my wish. And if I do – that opens up a whole new world of food for us.

I just like the idea of Burning Man cooking. It’s something special – and not real camping gourmet. Weather conditions are different, environments are different…..

I know bacon will remain a staple. And that’s fine. I just want to experiment; we already have a somewhat captive audience. And we’re all hungry for real food. Why not play? Plus, those hipster foodie photos will look even cooler with a playa background.

What do you think?

What cooking techniques do you use when you go camping? Do you change and adapt to forest or desert surroundings?