Don’t quote me on it, but I’m pretty sure the whole slow and local food movement really began somewhere in the 1980’s when the world’s best chefs went searching for better, fresher ingredients. In 2008, the U.S. Congress defined local as describing products that travel less than 400 miles from their point of origin. Almost every town now has a local farmer’s market. There are more and more farm-to-table restaurants that change their menus weekly or even daily. The French Laundry in Napa Valley, arguably the best restaurant in the country and definitely on my list of must eat restaurants, takes local to the next level and gets all of its produce from the garden it tends across the street.
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I’m a big fan of this mentality. And while I certainly don’t adhere to this philosophy all the time, I do try to slow down my food and eat more locally. We buy from our farmer’s market, we like supporting our local merchants, I’ve begun making our own bread and pasta, and (unsuccessfully) planted our own veggie garden in an attempt to really be local. This past weekend was all about local. It started off Friday as we went to support the local minor league baseball team, the Sussex County Miners. Then on Saturday, we spent the day at a few different New Jersey wineries for the annual Barrel Trail Weekend--more on this in an upcoming post. And then we went out to dinner at a great local restaurant who does change their menu weekly.
So if we try to eat locally grown food, and shop locally owned businesses, and maybe even support local sports teams--Go Miners!--, why don’t we drink local wine? For me, I so badly want to enjoy New Jersey wine, and be able to drink it on a more regular basis but I’ve come across a lot of challenges in this area. Overall they tend to be too hard to find, too expensive, and harder to drink than I would prefer. But there’s promise for sure; and things are no doubt changing for the better. I’m very excited about the future of New Jersey wine.
Now I know not all regions can be good at making wine, so maybe yours isn’t. But I’m sure it’s good at making something. You can distill almost anything; even super cold places like Norway have aquavit So find out what your area is good at and try it out if you haven’t already. And let me know what you think. I’d love to hear about it.