If you visit any of the 88 wineries in the Yakima Valley this year, be sure and wish them a happy anniversary. It's the 30th anniversary of the Yakima Valley American Viticulture Area, the first established in the Northwest.
An AVA is an area designated by the federal government as a distinct wine-growing region. There are less than 250 AVAs in the nation and just 13 in Washington.
"We're celebrating the confluence of conditions that has made the Yakima Valley so important to the regional wine industry: this valley is the first AVA in Washington state; this valley is home to the most vineyard acreage in Washington state; and this valley fuels the best wine labels across the state and beyond," said Barbara Glover, executive director of Wine Yakima Valley, which represents the area's wineries and growers.
"In the past three decades, growers in the valley have cultivated most of the best wine produced in the state, since award-winning wineries from Woodinville to Walla Walla and even down into Oregon's Willamette Valley have grown to greatness through their use of Yakima Valley grapes," Glover said. "And it continues to be the most significant source of quality grapes for Washington wines."
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Several celebrations already are planned for the year, including special tasting seminars and a summer vineyard tour.
For more information, go to the Wine Yakima Valley website, http://wineyakimavalley.org. Or contact Glover at email@example.com or 509-965-5201.
Tickets now are available for the Benton-Franklin Humane Society's annual crab feed from 2 to 8 p.m. Jan. 26 at St. Joseph's School, 901 W. Fourth Ave., Kennewick.
Tickets are $38 each and can be purchased online at bfhs.com or by phone at 374-4235.
Whenever you cook pasta, follow this tip from The Food Network's chef, Nigella Lawson: Remove some of the pasta-cooking water (about 1/4 or 1/3 cup) just before draining.
When you add the sauce of your choice to the pasta, add a little of the cooking liquid. This helps the ingredients in the sauce to blend; the starch in the water adds body and a kind of creaminess.
The book: Cook This, Not That! Kitchen Survival Guide by David Zinczenko and Matt Goulding.
Best for: Creating nutritious, delicious meals at home that rival anything you'll find on a restaurant menu. Best of all, the authors have found ways to cut calories and fat, which can result in a new, slimmer you for the new year.