Monday, January 2, 2012

Drinking Locally

In A Tine to Live, a Tine to Die, farmer Cam Flaherty enjoys a sip of locally brewed ale or wine from the local winery. But is this plausible in Massachusetts?

You bet it is. The Ipswich Brewery has a new Five Mile Stock Ale (you can read about it here and here). It's good, too. Here's their description:

"With most of 5 Mile’s ingredients locally harvested from Massachusetts farms and with one ingredient grown within five miles of Ipswich, 5 Mile is truly a local brew. Dry-hopped with Cascade hops from our very own Ipswich hop yard, 5 Mile is a big, malty stock ale brewed to be enjoyed by Locavores and Omnivores alike."

The Alfalfa Farm Winery is just down the road in Topsfield. I helped out on their vendange, or harvest day a couple of months ago. In return they fed the volunteers lunch with wine and let us all pick out a bottle to take home. In the book, Cam is sipping a glass of the Marechal Foch when she discovers the body. Mill River Winery is also nearby, but I haven't had a chance to check them out yet.

Turkey Shore Distilleries is in Ipswich. They make a white rum at their micro distillery. I haven't tried it yet, but plan to. Maybe we'll pick up a bottle to celebrate my son's return from Rum Central (Puerto Rico) later this spring.

National Public Radio just did a story on the Mohawk Bend restaurant and bar in Los Angeles that stocks only wine, beer, and spirits from California and serves only locally grown foods. That's a good place for such a venture. A restaurant like that in Massachusetts would likely have a much smaller selection.

A couple of the volunteers who belong to the Locavore Club won't drink coffee because it isn't local. Coffee plants don't tolerate frost. They thrive on shady land in humid climates with temperatures ideally around 75 degrees Fahrenheit. In the US, it's only grown commercially in Hawaii. I guess you could nurture a single plant in a big pot on wheels in Massachusetts. If you had a heated indoor pool at home in a glass enclosure, you could probably overwinter the coffee there. In Iceland they grow coffee in greenhouses heated by volcanic steam.

Do you have any local drinks you're particularly fond of? Ever tried growing a coffee plant in a frosty climate?

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