Yet again the cart has closed for the winter. I will miss the comfort of baking bread and cookies every morning, drinking Todd's coffee, engaging in bantering shop talk with the Green Castle crew, receiving and giving samples of food. The Mighty Gastropolis: Portland, to be released in December, has a few pages about Picnic in it. Karen is the food writer at Portland Monthly, and she writes in a baroque and visceral style, born of the newspaper. She's been hanging out at the cart from the first week we opened, chatting with my mom about cooking. She actually provides me with an excuse, in the book, of why we close in the winter. It's an adaptation to an inherently seasonal business. She makes it sound so reasonable.
Ryan from Moberi with Fabio
But why in truth do we close? Habits and traditions are hard to establish and it pains me to dissapoint those we feed. However, the nature of a food cart is mobility, including that of the seasonal type. Less people are willing to brave the rain, and it is unfortunately true of us as also of pedestrians and bicyclists. I do wish though to remain open year round and that's a goal of mine for next year. For now it is winemaking!
I have a space down the street from my house, at 14th and Clinton, where I will be doing my first fermentation outside of my back yard. Me and Jen have been getting it ready on days off from the cart over the last couple months. Last week we drove down to Broadley winery in Monroe to pick up a dozen neutral oak barrels. I have been collecting some other supplies, including macrobins for fermentation, an electric forklift, a large tank of argon, and two dozen silicone bung plugs for various purposes.
I've been driving to vineyards looking for good grapes grown by family farmers and will be getting Pinot Noir from JJ Smith and Kelley vineyards.
On the 22nd of September me and Jen went to Utopia vineyard for Dan's annual harvest bash. We arrived in the middle of a midday dinner of blackberry and hazelnut with mixed greens, corn battered chicken stuffed with chevre and raisins, a warm mirange layered with chocolate fudge, along with Utopia '09 (the same as I did), and a Folin vineyards zinfandel port. As is not uncommon, Jen recognized a friend at a table next to us. They went to PNCA together and spent a half hour catching up. I took photos of the grape clusters. The various vineyards around the valley appear to have some irregular maturation of berries, with a few small green berries in each cluster. This was caused by the wet spring during polination. However, the grapes themselves will probably to be able to go to 25 brix by mid october, so ripeness is almost too good.