Friday Foodstuffs 4.16.10: The Wet Weather Has Been Bad for Crops…Or Has It?

My words of wisdom for the day: every weather situation could be good, or bad, for growing crops here in South Jersey.

Well, that just about covers it. Good night, and God bless.

Waitwaitwait, you might say, could you be a bit more specific?

Actually, no – I can’t.

Last year’s wet spring was supposedly great for making big plump blueberries, only to read further that the wet weather made blueberries too plump, and when they’re too plump, they burst. Ewww.

This year’s abundance of snow, along with a very wet March, was forcing farmers to have to wait to plant their crops. Bad news, right? Well, maybe not. For the berry crops, it sounds like with all the wet weather, along with the warm snap we just had, we could have a bumper crop. Or… not.

For the local cranberry growers, the wet weather was great for them. But the warm weather so soon? Not so good.

Let’s face it: farmers really have to know what they are doing. Well, duh. More to the point, it’s that I am gaining a better appreciation for what farmers have to deal with – be it the weather, the market conditions, the economy, the bees (or lack thereof), and so on. Tough job, not doubt – and I am ever grateful for the people who take on this task so that we all can enjoy the wonderful local produce at the farm markets.

And let’s also give a hand to our regional wine producers who have to deal with the same uncertain conditions. They also produce a large number of events during the year. Just this weekend alone, you have the Cape May Wine Weekend, the Tap a Tank Weekend at Sharrott Winery, and Festa Italiana at Swansea Vineyards. On Saturday night, Laurita Winery is hosting its April Country Night.

This just in from Lisa: next Thursday, April 22nd, Passion Vines in Somers Point will be hosting a special tasting from one of the vineyards creating a lot of buzz these days: Bellview Winery. Owner Jim Quarella himself will be on hand to discuss and answer questions, and Philly’s famous Di Buno Brothers cheeses will be served alongside them. We checked out Passion Vines this week and had a wonderful tasting experience there. Look for a blog post very soon.

The classrooms will also be active this weekend, with Cooking for Couples – Sexy Szechuan Cuisine at Kitchen Kapers on Saturday, then Cape May Wine School as well as Kids in the Kitchen – The Precious Princess Luncheon back at Kitchen Kapers on Sunday.

And in the news this week…

Wow! Sue Compton from Delanco won the Pillsbury Bake-Off competition. And for winning, she earned a million bucks and met Oprah, too. Congrats!

This sounds pretty exciting: Viking Cooking School is opening a new branch at Harrah’s in Atlantic City – and will open for business Memorial Day weekend.

The lunch ladies aren’t playing anymore: they served cheese sandwiches only at the high school in Atlantic City after a food fight and had a one-day walk out in Pittsgrove.

Think veganism is a relatively new idea? The American Vegan Society, based in Malaga, will be celebrating 50 years next month.

And Haddon Township will be part of the Philly Beer Week festivities in June.

Enjoy your weekend!

– John

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