Brew with your crew at Vine Park
It seems that everyone and their uncle (or aunt) is brewing their own beer. But the proprietors of Vine Park Brewing Co. in St. Paul point out that it's mainly a solitary process by way of kits and home-brewing supplies bought and brought home. For more than 20 years, Vine Park has offered a brew-on-the-premises option, one of very few such brewery concepts in the country and, Vine Park says, the only one in the Midwest. The brewery, at 1254 W. 7th St., also features winemaking, but brewing is most of its business. Owner Andy Grage said Vine Park appeals more to the casual drinker who simply wants a hands-on experience more than a science degree. Yet brewers can choose from among 50 recipes to mix. Vine Park monitors the fermentation for about two weeks, then you return with your crew to bottle the brew. They've hosted team building events, bachelor parties and weeknight brew parties. Stumped by what to get Dad for Father's Day? Learn more at vinepark.com.
Buy it, you'll try it
Here's a neat idea. The Maple Grove Farmers Market's Power of Produce Kids Club gives children ages 4-12 the opportunity to buy their own produce by giving them $2 each at the market. The program began in 2014 and was a success. This year's sponsors are Oakdale Ob-Gyn, South Lake Pediatrics and TopLine Federal Credit Union. The program began in Oregon City, Ore., where feedback showed that 72 percent of participants had tried a new fruit or vegetable through the POP program. Locally, the program also is in place at Mill City and Monticello farmers markets. The Maple Grove Farmers Market is open from 3-7 p.m. Thursdays through Oct. 20 at the Maple Grove Community Center, 12951 Weaver Lake Rd.
Haven't the foggiest idea
For something completely different, and maybe even weird, consider what Hangar 1 Vodka is creating in Alameda, Calif.: a vodka made from fog around San Francisco. Yup. Fog catchers were set up in several locations throughout the area (how does one catch fog?). When the fog becomes water, it's blended with vodka "distilled from premium wine sourced from a sustainable vineyard on the Central Coast," according to the company's website. The idea came from the company's desire to use less groundwater, given California's drought. Only 2,500 bottles of Fog Point vodka were produced, selling for $125. According to Hangar 1, all proceeds will go to water conservancy in California. Note: This product is available for delivery only in California, Florida, Illinois, Nevada and New York. Visit hangarone.com.
When you've got to have it
Vitamix blenders come with their own cachet. What did Jane Fonda — as Grace in Netflix's "Frankie and Grace" — spy with envy as she saw the wedding gifts delivered to her ex-husband's home? (Spoiler alert, although hardly: What did she finally get?) The blender also comes with its own price tag, mostly in the $400 to $700 range. So for the rest of us, Vitamix now is offering PayPal Credit Easy Payments, with no interest if paid in full within 12 or 18 months. (Otherwise prepare to be pulverized by a 19.99 percent interest rate.) For details, visit vitamix.com.