Friday Foodstuffs 1.6.12: It All Comes Down to Monday

Monday is a big day, no doubt.

Will Alabama get revenge on the biggest and grandest stage, or will LSU (with the most-drinkingest fanbase, according to the Wall Street Journal) once again rise to the occasion and show they are the class of college football?

Closer to home, there’s another big event that (hopefully) will take place on Monday – something that many of us here in Jersey want to see happen. Monday is the day that Assembly Speaker Sheila Oliver has the opportunity to introduce A-4436/S-3172 to the Assembly for a vote on its last day in session before the newly elected Assembly take their seats. This legislation will allow small wineries (those that produce 250,000 gallons or less per year) in New Jersey and out-of-state to sell directly to consumers. The current system in Jersey, which allows only in-state wineries to sell directly through tasting rooms and wine outlets, was ruled unconstitutional by a federal appeals court. The ruling gave Jersey until the end of March to get their act together, hence the importance to get this matter resolved.

If the direct shipping bill does not get passed, there is a possibility that wineries would have to close their tasting rooms. Most of the revenue wineries generate in-state come from the direct sales in their tasting rooms, so shutting them down would be crippling. So who is against this legislation? The liquor distribution folks, who see direct shipping as a potential drag on their revenue. They have made arguments about loss of jobs, destroying the three-tier distribution system that exists in Jersey, and that kids will now potentially have more access to alcohol. However, since 38 other states allow for direct shipping, it doesn’t seem to be as job crippling as the liquor lobby is indicating. And as for underage drinking, I’m much more worried about kids getting a hold of Four Loko than an artisan wine from Jersey or California.

Passage of this bill will help keep Jersey wineries going and growing, and the three-tier system will survive just fine. The same cannot be said of the bill does not pass. If you have a moment or two this weekend, let your representatives know that A-4436/S-3172 needs to be brought to a vote on Monday.

It’s a quiet weekend for food events, so maybe you’re up for a drive. With the mild weather, perhaps it’s time to take a jaunt down to Cape May and try out Cape May Brewing at their new tasting room. They are open from 12PM to 4PM. Or, maybe a historical trip to the Delaware Bay Museum in Bivalve to explore the history of the oyster industry on the Delaware Bay. The museum now has a cafe that serves lunch from Thursday to Saturday.

On Monday, the Epicurean Society of Southern New Jersey Dinner Event will be taking place this month at Buddakan at the Pier Shops in Atlantic City. Dinner starts at 6:30PM.

Here’s your cooking class schedule for the weekend:

Saturday: Best of Class: Steakhouse at Viking Cooking School at Harrah’s Resort in Atlantic City and Cozy Winter Supper at Kitchen Kapers in Moorestown.

Saturday and Sunday: a 2-Day Artisan Bread Workshop at Sur La Table in Marlton.

Sunday: Baby Cakes and Winter Dinner Party at Viking Cooking School and Kids in the Kitchen: Comfort Foods at Kitchen Kapers.

Blogging Out Hunger

The demand for food stamps shows no signs of slowing down.

Nice work Girl Scout Troop 45127!

And in the news this week…

What would you like: a burger, the chicken parm, or the filly in the 6th?

Boutique farming – get to know that term.

There’s a change in management at Landis MarketPlace, and promises that the second floor will be fully rented out with vendors.

Culinary students at Salem County Vo-Tech have put together a cookbook, and are using the proceeds to help fellow students.

The annual Shad Banquet in Salem County will be missing something this year: shad.

And congrats to Flying Fish for getting their Exit 1 Oyster Stout mentioned as part of Saveur’s 100 New Classics.

Enjoy your weekend!

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