Centerville Virginia’s Bull Run Regional Park attracts visitors from almost a hundred miles away due to its variety of events and annual activities. The Virginia Wine Festival is one of my favorites since more than 60 wine vendors travel to introduce themselves to you. Traveling to and from this event requires special attention, since nobody wants people drinking and driving. For those with designated drivers, you’ll get a reduced rate and a special wristband that shows you’ll be behind the wheel later. Everyone else can take advantage of the shuttle service that runs folks from the Vienna metro station, the Reston Limousine Bus. You can also hire your own car to pick you up.
Store yoru unpopped popcorn correctly. When stored in a sealed glass jar in a cool cupboard, unpopped popcorn can maintain its freshness for 6-12 months. Popcorn pops because it has a bit of moisture trapped in each kernel. If the corn dries out, more of the kernels will stay closed. You can try to store the corn in the freezer to extend the freshness a few months, but eventually it will lose most of the moisture and you will end up with unpopped kernels and, potentially, a slightly stale taste.
Water the popcorn plants regularly. Keep soil moist but not wet. Add a two inch layer of straw mulch around plants to preserve moisture, prevent disease and prevent weed growth.
Another interesting find is the young woman peddling “live” mung bean sprouts, which are so young and fresh you can see them move as they are continuing to grow. She offers samples of these mung sprouts which she suggests as a snack or salad topping. The same woman also has a variety of other fresh beans, including black eyed peas, white, navy, and chick peas, as well as fresh wheat and barley.
I went to a dinner party on Thanksgiving with a friend of mine. I didn’t know the couple hosting the dinner, but my friend told me that the wife loved old 70’s sitcoms. Perfect! I stopped by Wal-mart and picked up season 1 and 2 of “Good Times.” I picked up a tin of Kettlecorn Dallas and put it in a gift bag along with the sitcoms. It went over great.
Lake Cuchicachi Tree Farm (no website). Cut your own tree. Saws, tree shaking, baling, and tying provided. Gift shop and refreshment stand. 19505 West State Line Road, Antioch. 847-395-7919.
Orville Redenbacher Natural Gourmet Popping Corn contains the following ingredients: popping corm, palm oil, salt, mixed tocopherols. ConAgra Foods, the makers of this popcorn, do not disclose exactly which tocopherols are used. What is a tocopherol? It is an ingredient that is added to ‘natural’ foods to keep them from spoiling. So even though the package says that it is ‘natural’, one could take that as a bit of false advertising.
The Downtown Phoenix Public Market is open two days a week, regardless of the weather. They always open up at 8 a.m. on Saturdays but close up by noon in the summertime. Wednesday nights they are open 4 p.m. to 8 p.m.