It's summertime, and that means all sorts of great outdoor food-related activities and local summer produce on local restaurant menus. Here's a sampling:
Ozan Winery is offering its first "Ozan Afternoon Wine Train" of the summer tomorrow, June 7, 11:30 am - 2:00 pm. For $25 you get a Gourmet Box Lunch, Souvenir Wine Tasting w/ Glass, Vineyard Educational Tour and a Train Ride on the Heart of Dixie Railroad Museum Train. Make reservations via e-mail to email@example.com. They will also do one on July 19 and on August 23.
This Sunday, June 8, it's the Southern and Slow dinner at Jones Valley Urban Farm at 5:00 p.m. This second annual dinner is a celebration of local foods, flavors and chefs while raising money for Slow Food Birmingham and Jones Valley Urban Farm. Restaurants participating are Gianmarco's, Salt Fine Catering, Bottega/Highlands, Continental Bakery and Kathy G Catering. Other participants include Higher Ground coffee and Whole Foods. Tickets are $100 each and may be purchased by calling 205-439-7213 or by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Not a member of Slow Food? Go to www.SlowFood.com to join.
On June 21 at the YMCA Youth Center in Birmingham, farmers, farm group leaders, neighborhood presidents, community activists, religious leaders, nonprofit advocates, extension agents and others will gather to share information on efforts around the state and region to expand Alabama's food access. The one-day Food Summit will be the second gathering of its kind to build on the growing demand for locally produced food and the issue of food insecurity in our area. Greater Birmingham Community Food Partners (formerly the Food Security Coalition of Jefferson County) is holding this Food Summit in conjunction with Jones Valley Urban Farm's Summer Solstice Festival. The purpose of the summit is to bring people from across Jefferson County together around the issue of equitable access to fresh, healthy food. $10 to register, deadline Friday, June 13. For more information, visit www.gbcfp.org or call (205) 706-6405.
And how about that Summer Solstice Festival? In addition to the Food Summit, which starts at 8:30 a.m., there will be a U-pick sunflower celebration from 2 to 5 p.m. with food and children's activities. At 6 p.m., Muse of Fire will offer a series of acts from Shakespeare plays (limited tickets available.) For more information, visit www.jvuf.org or www.shakespeareatsloss.com.
Prairie Fire Grille has a new summer menu and is featuring nightly specials with some of Alabama's finest produce including Blackjack Tomatoes, Chilton County Peaches & Bibb County Blueberries. For more info go to http://www.birminghammenus.com/prairiefiregrille/
Veranda on Highland is offering a "Summer Songwriter Series" starting Wednesday, June 11, with music from Vicki Hallman. Drew Holcomb performs on Tuesday, July 15, and Wednesday, July 16. Melanie Safka plays on Tuesday, August 19. Jim Lauderdale and Don Schlitz will be performing later this summer. All shows cost $75, including dinner. Wine and cocktails are available for an additional charge. Reservations are required and can be made by calling Veranda on Highland at (205) 939-5551.
June 14 is the Pepper Place Wine Festival, where you can taste and purchase Alabama wines during the regular hours (7 a.m. to noon) of the Pepper Place Saturday Market. Each Saturday until September 27, 2nd Avenue South between 28th and 29th Streets is closed off to accommodate local farmers, artisans, and producers.