Farm to Fork event July 25 puts your palate on the plate

Aquaponic grow beds at the Innovation Center.
Aquaponic grow beds at the Innovation Center.

Around Truth Central, we love to pull back a bit and observe food and beverage trend lines. Remember, back in the day (hey, where did THAT phrase come from?), when you went out to eat and you ordered and your food came to you from … the kitchen?

Not … any … more.

Today, it’s all “farm to table.” As if (ahem) the kitchen didn’t even exist.

But (there’s always the “but”), if you put the kitchen on the farm, and the tables, too, it’s problem solved.

Boy, has Naked Winery got its Club Naked members (and special guest) covered with our own authentic slightly rebranded Farm to Fork feast — Get Fresh! on Saturday, July 25, at the Ingenuity Innovation Center in St. Helens, down along the gorgeous lower Columbia River.

With wine, of course.

According to Club Naked manager Lara Friesen, the greens for the event will come from the aquaponic green houses at the Innovation Center. Pair that up with fresh fish and tri-tip from the grill, and it’s game on.

Diners will be eating outside, listening to “fun and funky jazz” by Julie Amici Trio.

When diners aren’t noshing or sipping Naked’s finest, they can get social (and recreational) herding cows, pitching forks and competitively eating corn on the cob.

The fun starts at 4:30 p.m., and a seat at the table (and farm) is $50 per person.

Get your Club Naked membership and reserve your seats (and forks) by e-mail:

Now, go to our facebook page and tell us your favorite variation on the “farm to table” concept. How about “field to flatware” or … ?

Hood River Beach Bash — with Naked Winery boost — picks up and builds on Wind Fest

Regular summer visitors to Hood River may have crossed paths with the annual Wind Fest event. Organized by the Columbia Gorge Windsurfing Association, Wind Fest enlisted wind surfing and kiteboarding gear makers and sellers to let wind sports addicts try out new gear, down at the Hood River waterfront.

My,  how the child has grown. This year, it’s called Beach Bash. Instead of two days, this year it covers four. Here’s the what and where of it all:

  • Thursday, June 25 — Pray for Wind Party, 6-10 p.m., Stonehedge Gardens restaurant. $20 covers a catered dinner ($10 for kids); cash bar, raffle, band and auction.
  • Friday, June 26 — High Wind Demo, sponsored by Windance, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Rowena (East. Mayer State Park, 15 miles east of Hood River off I-84).
  • Later that same day (Friday, June 26) — Outdoor Concert, 6-10 p.m., Waterfront Park Amphitheater, presented by 10 Barrel Brewing and supported by Naked Winery, food by 4 & 20 Blackbirds and Leah’s Lunch.
  • Saturday, June 27 — Big Winds Beach Party, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Hood River Event Site. All kinds of fun, including a Mt. Hood Meadows Kids Section, with races, relays and the Never Ever Windsurfed Before Race. For us bigger people, the day includes music, food, drink, gear demos, archery tag and more.
  • Sunday, June 28 — All Sports Swap Meet, 7 a.m. (sellers), 8 a.m. (buyers) to noon, Luhr Jensen Parking lot (just to the east of the Hood River Waterfront Park). Sellers pay $10.
  •  Closing BBQ — 1-3 p.m., Northwave Lawn.

Just for the fun of it and to get you all jacked up, we’re sharing a video below from the recent Pistol River Wave Bash on the Oregon Coast. Winds pushing 50 mph, and a lot of talent. The Hood River Beach Bash will be a lot calmer. Count on it.


Pistol River Wave Bash 2015 from American Windsurfing Tour on Vimeo.

For residents of Nebraska care facility, a little Naked tastes a lot like normal

Residents of Highland Park Care Center enjoy Naked wine and snacks.
Residents of Highland Park Care Center enjoy Naked wine and snacks.

DeeDee Behm lives in Alliance, Nebraska, but was taking a little break in South Dakota when she found herself at the Naked Wine store in Hill City.

She liked what she tasted. What she tasted gave her an idea, after she took over care of 14 residents in the memory care unit of the Highland Park Care Center three months ago.

Behm says the staff tries to bring a variety of activity and experience to the residents, both inside the facility, and out of it.

“There’s such a stigma to Alzheimer’s disease,” she says. “We load our residents up, take them to McDonald’s, try to keep them as normal as possible, so they’re not just locked in.

“That’s one of the reasons we wanted to start using wine.”

As we like to say around Naked Winery, a glass of wine helps put a smile on your face.
As we like to say around Naked Winery, a glass of wine helps put a smile on your face.

Behm reached out to a long list of wineries, and that’s how she found herself talking with our “Secret Weapon,” Becky Williams.

Williams says Naked doesn’t make donations to everybody, but welcomed the chance to help the locked-in residents of Highland Park.

Behm was elated.

“When I got the email from the girls at Naked that they were sending something, I told the residents, and every day after that, they’d ask, ‘Did it come yet?’” Behm, says.

“When it came, they were excited to try it. Becky sent us six bottles, tattoos and magnets. She was very generous.”

Behm says she had tried serving residents some big-brand box wines.

“They weren’t very good,” Behm says.

When the box from Naked arrived, she had some thrift store wine glasses ready to fill. The ladies – not the guys, who preferred beer – loved the wines.

Behm says they limit servings to 4 ounces. Nobody complained.

“They really got a kick out of it,” she says. “The first night we did it, you would’ve thought we were at a bar. They were all laughing and giggling.”

She says the residents enjoyed the playful, risqué names that Naked uses on some of its wines.

“They thought the Booty Call was very funny,” Behm says. “They really think that’s hilarious.”

Behm says the wine has clear therapeutic benefit.

“We use it a lot if the weather is changing, or the moon is changing, and you can feel the tension in the air,” Behm says.

“Well give a glass of wine before dinner, and it settles them down. We don’t want to medicate them. If we can give them a glass of wine instead of an antipsychotic drug that lasts for hours, that’s better for everybody.”

Behm says her residents suffer from memory limits. When they settle in with each other and a glass of wine, she says, they just relax and enjoy.

“It’s funny, the conversations they have,” Behm says. “They build friendships, at least for the moment.

“For that half hour, when they’re sitting there talking, they’re normal.”

Bottling the Big Oh!

The Big truck with the magical machine

At Naked Winery, I have long expected every aspect of our wine making to have some sort of twist on it, and bottling is no exception. A sure sign any day is going to be an adventure is when it takes the poor gal at Starbucks three tries to get both mine and Jody’s drink order right.  We groggily relay details at 6:30am post late night last minute preparations and then head on our way.

Bottling reminds me a lot of snowboarding, where you hurry up to wait. Rapid flurries of activity are coupled with 20 to 30 minutes of sitting on freezing cold steps. This whole chaotic production is run by the bottle truck guy, who delivers his instructions in a curt, yet friendly matter, making me feel both stressed out and excited at the same time. Did I mention that he orchestrates the day with one of the largest cigars I have ever seen outside of a mafia movie?  So that’s where the smoky flavor comes from.

My primary responsibility

My job was to put the final capsule on the bottle before it was sealed and to make sure each and every bottle coming down the line had a cork in it. A task I managed fairly smoothly until I had to change capsules and then I created such a back up that the emergency stop button had to be hit. The direct reactions to an emergency stop is a 5’5” man climbing like a monkey up and over the equipment twisting knobs, adjusting wine flow and resetting label placement, all while cigar is in tact. I am serious, the thing never leaves his mouth and it is amazing.

Side effects of bottling include, very cold hands, as it was January in the gorge. Luckily the other person in charge of the bottling truck is a slightly chubby golden retriever who will sit on your feet to warm them for the small price of an ear scratch. Ear scratching also cured the cold hands, so everyone is a winner. Another side effect is an affinity for heinously awesome 1980’s tunes. Come on Eileen and Coma Chameleon can really only be fully appreciated as you are shaking your booty on an assembly line. The work is tedious, but needs to be precise and nothing keeps the brain turned on like a little 99 Red Balloons.

After 6 hours you now have wine in a portable receptacle, but by the end, all mental capabilities are completely exhausted.  Case in point, it took 4 of us over an hour to count 6 pallets of wine. Eventually a wine club member and outside source had to count for us. All said and done I ended up with the real concrete feeling of satisfaction that solid manually labor gives me. A visual of boxes of wine stacked high, ready for the willing consumer. Oh, that feels good!