KQED Food Blog: Bay Area Bites: Lipsmacking Links
Bay Area Bites: culinary rants & raves from bay area foodies and professionals
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Thursday, March 23, 2006
Lipsmacking Links
Crushpad Winery
I know they've been around for a few years now, but I've only recently investigated just how making wine at Crushpad Winery works. Basically, Crushpad turns you into the winemaker, so whether you're from Scarsdale, San Francisco, or St. Paul, you get to make all the big decisions on your own wine. The grape, the vineyard, the harvest, the crush, the aging, and the packaging -- it's all up to you. If you think about it, it's sort of like SIM Winery or a "Choose Your Own AdVINture" exercise.

Along the way, the Crushpad folks are free with their expert guidance and can even help you promote your vanity vino. Therefore, if you don't want to keep all 25 cases to yourself, they will do things like get your fermented grapes into retail locations or submit your bottles to wine rating organizations.

Here's what I'm thinking: all the Bay Area Biters divide up the cost of a barrel ($3900 to $6900 for 25 cases) and come up with our very own BABernet Sauvignon. What say you?

Hungry Cyclist
I have become fascinated by this Brit on a bike who decided to quit his UK advertising job, fly to America, and pitch his tent along with his appetite. His goal? To cycle and eat his way across America in order to prove that American food isn't as bad as its reputation. After 243 days and 7067 miles, Tom Kevill-Davis has eaten snapping turtle stew in Minnesota and gutted his own wild turkey in Oregon. Last I checked, Tom was tasting tacos in Tijuana and trying to buy back his stolen knife from some Mexican farmers. You gotta admit, one of the best perks about this trip of his is that he can eat absolutely anything and everything.

Not really in search of glory or riches, Tom saved for three years to finance this trip and any money he can raise in donations along the way will go to Macmillan Cancer Relief.

Rent Mother Nature
It may not be nice to fool Mother Nature, but how does she feel about being rented? In my opinion, this is the ultimate foodie gift. Do you have a major food fiend in your life and want to give them the most thoughtfully delicious gift? Look no further than the purple mountains majesty and amber waves of grain we have across our fruited plain. Through Rent Mother Nature, you can lease everything from almond trees to goats to wild rice beds.

According to the site, this is what you get if you decide to rent a bit of Mother Nature:
1 Lease Document: Handsomely personalized with the name of your recipient, the handsome parchment-look certificate is beautifully illustrated and embossed with a gold seal. It is sent to your recipient at the time the lease is ordered along with an illustrated Announcement Folder (including a gift message from you) describing the program you selected. You can also choose to have the Lease sent to you for personal presentation.

2 Progress Reports: As the crop is nurtured informative, entertaining, homespun newsletters build anticipation for the harvest. As a humorous option we'll even go out and take an action photo of your tree, hive, cow, sheep, or field hard at work and mail it with one of the Progress Reports.

3 Harvest: The grand finale, delivered right to the door, of fresh natural products. Yields are guaranteed, along with your complete satisfaction. We do all the work and you get all the raves (while helping America's family farms and craftsmen).

I just love this idea so much I want to give it to everyone I know. More unique than the usual fruit, wine, beer, or cheese-of-the-month club, this gift allows you send carefully raised delicacies that your nearest and dearest might not otherwise be able to get their hands on. Rent an oyster bed and send 4 dozen of the salty Puget Sound suckers to Aunt Eunice in Nebraska; Sister Hortense in Minnesota would love 7 1/2 pounds of Maine lobsters; And how about thanking Professor Keckler in Boston for all his wise counsel with 12-25 Georgian peaches (the number depends on whether you rent a branch or the whole tree).

It's the romantic in me that almost wants the old fashioned, "beautifully illustrated" lease even more than the gift that follows. Now, if you love this idea but don't want to do the food route because your recipient doesn't eat or something, you can rent a fluffy sheep and net them a pure virgin wool blanket.

Fallen Fruit
Capitalizing on a forgotten L.A. law that makes all sidewalk-overhanging fruit fair game for public collection and consumption, three profs at CalArts have embarked on a project to make "fallen fruit" accessible to the general public. By providing online maps that show interested parties where to get their free avocados, loquats, and figs, Austin Young, Matias Viegener, and Dave Burns have turned certain L.A. neighborhoods into veritable supermarkets. Considering they have big plans to infiltrate Brooklyn in order to show those denizens where to get their hungry hands on trashed day-old bread and edible restaurant spoils, could showing wine countrymen how to access undrunk bottles of tasting room wine be far behind?


Blogger shuna fish lydon said...

Edible East Bay featured an article about a neighborhood in Oakland, Temescal, making fallen fruit available too! I love this idea.

In Florida I wanted to eat fruit off trees but I knew I'd get shot eventually, being a short haired Yankee and all.

3/26/2006 1:13 PM


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