Bite and Sip

Prepare for produce and major deck-dining this season

2014-06-26T10:00:00Z Prepare for produce and major deck-dining this season nwitimes.com
June 26, 2014 10:00 am  • 

Some of us may have experienced this to a greater extent than others, but winter craziness left behind a large amount of just plain dirt around my house, particularly in the garage, but covering window wells and dried all over the deck. Planting vegetables---which are rapidly climbing over trellises and covering planters with over-size leaves---is the usual expected muddy mess, but then there was the deck dust bowl, everything covered in filth that sometimes refuses to yield to power-washing, or taking the paint with it. No matter, we have been grilling and eating everything we can get our hands on---including, zucchini, eggplant, peppers, potatoes, tomatoes, sweet onions and giant mushrooms. Even corn, though it’s early.

Now that I’ve become more conscientious about the origin of what we’re eating I’ve realized that there is definitely a rhythm to the ripeness and flavor of food that’s lived through a cycle. While the peaches have not lived up to the peaches we had two years ago---the strawberries this year are incredible! Like the blueberries we had in 2013, though this year’s crop of blueberries has yet to come. Maybe I’m just looking too closely. Corn, which collapsed last year, has been terrific. I’m not quite sure where the corn is coming from this early but after I ate it I didn’t care about the carbon footprint as much. (Sorry.) As usual, the Sawyer Garden Center has a vast selection of quality produce but don’t forget Emerald Avenue’s Piggott’s market and bakery in Coloma, Skip’s Open Air Market near New Buffalo on Red Arrow Highway, Klug’s Orchards in Berrien Center and Granor Farm in Three Oaks. In Benton Harbor there is Harbor Market and True Blue Country Store and Dutch Farm Market, both in South Haven. The St. Joseph Farmers Market is open every Saturday in Lake Bluff Park in St. Joe.

This weekend we will be entertaining houseguests and home-grilling. Ever optimistic about the weather, we have abandoned Plan B for the most part and will fire up the Weber instead.

But, if you are wanting restaurant rooms with a view pick Tabor Hill, the most scenic vineyard in Lake Michigan Wine Country; Plank’s Tavern at the Inn at Harbor Shores, a way of looking at the intersection of the lake and riverfronts you have not seen before and the clearing in the forest that is the patio of Bartlett’s Gourmet Grill in Beverly Shores.

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