Jan 28, 2013
January traditionally is a month for making plans for business trips to the east, then canceling and rescheduling due to snowstorms. Witness one winter-time pile-up on I-68, as I did three Januarys ago — as she sped by, I saw the whites of the woman from Ohio’s eyes, moments before she braked too late on ice — and you’ll be changed forever.
Now, for me, no matter how much business suffers, it’s safety first.
Last Friday, I was supposed to be part of a delegation of Garrett County farmers and specialty producers bound for Baltimore’s Woodberry Kitchen, the city’s premier farm-to-table restaurant. We were to meet with Woodberry’s owner, chef and staff to discuss what farm items our county might serve up.
Woodberry has gone one step beyond such newly focused restaurants: it not only sources virtually all of its greens and vegetables locally during the growing season, but it preserves and cans the summer bounty for seasonal dishes during winter — old-school, the way family cooks used to before fresh veggies (of often questionable quality) were trucked 7,000 miles across the continent from California.
This era is constricting and will someday end. The Woodberrys of our coming world will lead the way forward.
But for now, on your next summer excursion to Maryland’s mountaintop, visit on a farm market day. The variety will stun sophisticated shoppers. Our cruciferous vegetables and root crops are especially productive and delicious, given our fertile soils, warm days and cool evenings. There are also brambles and berries of all stripe — and even tomatoes are now grown increasingly in plastic “hoop houses” that extend the traditional seasons.
When the winter storm warnings went up late Thursday and the snow began early Friday, I canceled and began rescheduling. Several folks did go, including Brenda McDonnell, owner of Brenda’s Pizzeria. She also takes over management soon of a venerable Lake restaurant where she will do all she can, she vows, to offer fresh foods grown locally.
“Woodberry was amazing from the minute we walked in,” she reported to me, as heavy snow continued on Saturday. “I can’t stop thinking about it.”
Biz Buzz Best Buy White — Marqués de Riscal 2011 Rueda (Spain). Speaking of preserved foods, try this old-time label, with its modulated creamy citrus and honeysuckle flavors impeccably crafted from the native Verdejo, with the ultimate Spanish winter comfort food — salt cod (baccala) omelet. So simple, yet breathtakingly delicious. $9.
Red — Continuing the Spanish theme, check out Bodegas Campos Reales 2011 Tempranillo (La Mancha, Spain). To my taste, it’s the perfect blend of bright and dark berry flavors, with a dash of freshening mint on the nose, and a succulent texture that suites it so well to many foods. Rustic yet sophisticated, rich yet not soupy. From the master winemaker Jorge Ordoñez. $8.
(Photo: Woodberry Kitchen)