Demand, meet supply
The SweeTango apple, a cross between the Honeycrisp and Zestar! apples and bred by the University of Minnesota, is proving so popular that growers have begun a "Reserve Your SweeTango" promotion. Up to 1,000 shoppers can reserve a 4-pound bag for $15 at participating stores or online at http://reserve.sweetango.com. Apples will be available for pickup over the weekend of Sept. 7-8, plus you'll get a free tote bag, SweeTango T-shirt and an apple season calendar. Apples will be available in Twin Cities groceries through the season, which generally lasts into November, but the promotion enables you to have the earliest picks of the harvest. Tim Byrne, president of Next Big Thing, a cooperative of orchards that grows and markets SweeTango, says the promotion gives "our hometown fans a head start on the SweeTango season." Reservations are being accepted in the Twin Cities only, through Sept. 2. Participating stores are Lunds, Byerly's, Festival Foods and Knowlan's Food Markets.
For the spontaneous among you: The Minnesota Corn Growers Association is hosting a public corn roast today — Aug. 22 — from 4-6 p.m. at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum in Chaska. There'll be complimentary roasted corn, lemonade and water (although you must pay gate admission). Then you can visit the association's display plot of field and sweet corn, next to "Corn Growing Goldy Gopher" on Turf Grass Research Hill, and stick around to hear the F-Sharp piano duo performing in the Sensory Garden from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. For more details, visit www.arboretum.umn.edu.
Plan ahead for Kohler Experience
It's a six-hour drive to Kohler, Wis., but the annual Kohler Food & Wine Experience may be worth it. This year's celebrities include Cat Cora ("Iron Chef"), Christopher Kimball ("America's Test Kitchen"), Jacques and Claudine Pépin, Fabio Viviani ("Top Chef") and many more. The four-day event offers a range of culinary seminars, tastings and signature festivities, with prices for each (although many are complimentary). It's like a tapas bar: You can choose wisely and learn much for a reasonable outlay. Or you can go a little crazy — your call. Tickets now are on sale at www.KohlerFoodandWine.net.
Minnesota Grape Growers want to issue you a passport. For $25, you get a "passport" valued at more than $50 that enables you to enjoy 10 free tastings at a participating winery (and there are 30 of them.) That's one tasting per winery, per passport. Groups of six or more using the passports are encouraged to call ahead to arrange a private tasting, and some exclusions may apply. For details, visit http://mngrapegrowers.com/passport.