Petting zoos, picking your own produce—such as spring’s sweet berries and summer’s peaches—and winding your way through fall’s corn mazes before choosing a pumpkin can give you a taste of rural life. But if you’re looking for a more immersive event, a farm tour offers a feast for the senses.
The Pacific Northwest is one of the USA’s top ten producers of apples, and the diversity, knowledge, and craftsmanship of its apple crops shines through ciders being produced in the region. No wonder the craft ciders of Washington, Oregon, and Idaho are growing in popularity. The chance to taste ciders is one great reason to visit the area, whether you favor versions made from limited-edition heritage crabapples or the star-dotted Cosmic Crisps bred at Washington State University.
In November 2019, I happened to flip on the TV just as the founders of The Yard Milkshake Bar in Gulf Shores, Alabama, made a pitch on Shark Tank. Ultimately, investor Mark Cuban offered $400,000 towards future franchises in exchange for 22 percent of the profits from the new locations. Today, this sweet business offers customers 34 different ice cream flavors plus 60 different toppings. There are even vegan, lactose- and gluten-free ingredients plus eight versions of edible cookie dough.
The Twin Cities Gateway is one of the Minneapolis-Saint Paul metro area’s best kept secrets. Each of the nine communities that make up Minnesota’s Twin Cities Gateway—Anoka, Blaine, Coon Rapids, Fridley, Ham Lake, Lino Lakes, Mounds View, New Brighton, and Shoreview—has its own unique vibe. They also have something in common: great restaurants.
It could be said that food is our most important love language. “Mother Nature isn’t just a circle of life, it’s a circle of love—and one to be most revered,” says Sylvia Ganier, who works diligently on her organic farm in Nashville, Tennessee. Cultivating food is labor-intensive work with a low monetary yield; it’s ultimately a labor of love.
This Valentine’s Day most of the world’s lovers are planning on staying in, but that doesn’t mean you can’t dream of a tropical island escape. With a little planning ahead, you can even enjoy an exotic tasting tour of the Hawaiian Islands. Tease and tantalize taste buds with Hawaii’s finest flavors—with enticing options like Oahu-made chocolate, elixirs from Kauai, and wine made of grapes grown on a fiery mountainside—to feel swept away in the sensations of tropical breezes and salty waves even while at home.
My adopted home state of North Carolina is a food lover’s fantasy land. There’s more outstanding barbecue than you can shake a rib at. Everywhere along the coast the fish shacks, oyster bars and sushi restaurants make the most of what’s caught on the line and in the net. Forests and fields deliver surprises to chefs from the mountains to the sea. And the beer scene—we can’t even go there right now, but do yourself a favor and come thirsty. Most of all, come hungry. Come to Wilmington hungry. This city in the southeastern corner of the state has a food scene that’s got its fair share of names and accolades, from James Beard Award nominees and winners to a AAA Four Diamond restaurant to faces you might recognize from Bravo’s Top Chef and a raft of up and comers. Break out the bib, put on your loosest pants, and get ready to feast. These are the eight must-eat restaurants in Wilmington (right now).
California’s San Francisco Bay Area was sweating out a week of uncommon triple digit temperatures in the summer of 2020. And things were about to get much, much worse. In the pre-dawn hours on August 16 a very rare series of dry lightning strikes illuminated the skies, sending massive chunks of electricity to the ground and setting off small brush fires. Within days, a series of 650 wildfires had ignited across Northern California, eventually destroying approximately two million acres and hundreds of homes and structures in just over two weeks.
If your mental image of a dairy farmer is someone perched on a three-legged stool to milk cows by hand, visit Hillcrest Farms for an update. The first robotic dairy farm in the state of Georgia is now giving tours at its fourth-generation farm in Dearing, a small community in McDuffie County near Augusta. Take part in a 90-minute tour and you’ll come face-to-face with cows, learn how the high-tech approach to milking has been implemented and how the cows have reacted (spoiler alert: they’re happy!), learn something new, spend time with nature, and bring new meaning to the phrase ‘farm-to-table.’
Nick Liberato is a man of many talents: He’s a celebrated chef, restaurateur, and also host of the Netflix series “Restaurants on the Edge.” The series focuses on helping restaurants in distress by performing consulting, restructuring and turnaround services in a holistic manner.