We all want to know where our food and beverages are grown and processed. That curiosity is taking us to farms, fields and processing plants throughout the Northwest and beyond.
It's no different when it comes to wine. Once, grape growers only interacted with others in their industry, but consumers are beginning to tromp the vineyards in addition to visiting tasting rooms.
And growers are becoming as well known to the public as their favorite wine makers.
Wine Yakima Valley, the association representing the wineries and wine grape growers of Yakima Valley, has organized a series of vineyard tours for July. The four tours include wine, food and a chance for one-on-one time with the growers. Cost is $75 per person.
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The schedule is:
-- Red Willow Vineyard, 1-4 p.m. July 7. Tour goers will ride through one of the state's oldest vineyards in a tractor-pulled covered wagon.
-- DuBrul Vineyard, 1-4 p.m. July 14. See why mineral deposits, extensive irrigation practices and steep rocky soils are so important to growing exceptional grapes.
-- Upland Vineyard, 1-4 p.m. July 21. This tour showcases the progression from planting the vine to producing grapes, harvest winemaking and the aging process.
-- Boushey Vineyards, 1-4 p.m. July 28. Dick Boushey, the father of syrah, will discuss the idiosyncrasies of how syrah grows and the various conditions that change the taste of the grapes.
For more information, or to buy tickets, go to http://wineyakimavalley.org/vineyard-tour-series_422.html. Clicking on the name of each vineyard will allow you to buy tickets for each tour. Or call each vineyard or the Wine Yakima Valley office, 509-965-5201 or 800-258-7270.
Impatient grillers take note: Never place meat directly over an open flame. The fire will discolor the meat by leaving a black carbon residue on the meat. An open flame has a lower temperature than coals that are glowing red.
That's a tip from e-cooking.net, the food and cooking network.
The book: The 15-Minute Gourmet: Creative Cuisine Made Fast and Fresh by Paulette Mitchell.
Best for: The 350 recipes in Mitchell's book feature poultry, seafood, and beef and pork, as well as a chapter with vegetarian dishes. The recipes, representing many cuisines, are inspired by Mitchell's world travels and show, fortunately, you don't have to sacrifice flavor or nutrition just because life is hectic.
*Loretto J. Hulse: 582-1513; firstname.lastname@example.org