SUMMER FINALE

Summer Finale: The season for eating in full bloom and Journeyman spirits lift Three Oaks

2013-08-22T10:00:00Z 2013-08-22T19:22:04Z Summer Finale: The season for eating in full bloom and Journeyman spirits lift Three OaksBy Pat Colander nwitimes.com
August 22, 2013 10:00 am  • 

Raspberries, blackberries, peaches and corn burst out of the trees, vines and plain old ground in northern Indiana and the sweet hills of southwestern Michigan for a few weeks. You must act now.

Fresh Produce Will Not Last Forever: I'm probably checking the weather report as often as Tom Skilling, now that my family and friends have become such devoted slaves to fresh produce. (Is it just that we were so deprived last harvest season?) The deck report is that the tomatoes and peppers are smallish but taste sweet and juicy. The cucumbers are somewhat meh---we have barren cucumber plants. Even the farmstand cucumbers are smallish and curved. There is no comparison, of course, with the anemic corn of 2012 and the far more robust, flavorful edition this year.

We had sweet little Georgia peaches starting early last Spring, which was kind of ironic because the Michigan peaches just never arrived in 2012. (When Chef Joho did a cooking demonstration several years ago at the Epicurean Classic he deliberately chose to make a peach tart, because he's so fond of Michigan peaches.) Peaches are full, ripe and ready to be turned into anything this week.

At Johnson's the u-pickem raspberry and blackberry fields are open 8 – 6 on Monday through Saturday and 9 to 4 on Sunday. Whatever you pick is $3 per pint. Johnson's has two produce markets in Valparaiso at 718 W. Highway 30 and 8960 East Ridge Road in Hobart. Johnson's homegrown freezer corn is out there and you can get five-dozen for $13.99 while the season (and the corn) last.

An Afterword About the Journeyman Distillery in Three Oaks: The maker of fine spirits is having as much success with bites as with the extensive housemade cocktail menu---a comprehensive recipe page is available at journeymandistillery.com---including ingredients like Ravenswood Rye, W. R. White Whiskey, Red Arrow Vodka, Featherbone Bourbon, Silver Cross Whiskey and Bilberry Blackhearts Gin. The distinctive flavor and aroma also permeates the food in items like Featherbone Bourbon whipped peanut butter in the chocolate mousse and also in the brown sugar ketchup. White flights---gin, vodka, run and something that sounds vaguely like tequila---are $3 and whiskey flights are $4.

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