Cellar 426 Vineyard and Winery
Cellar 426 sits high on a hill near Ashland, Nebraska, just off Highway 66, boasting breathtaking panoramic views from the winery terrace of the wooded countryside and the Lincoln skyline in the distance. For Richard and Amy Hilske, development of the vineyards and winery has been a labor of love, and the fulfillment of a lifelong dream. Along with their son, Erich, they invite guests to relax while tasting Nebraska crafted wines in a beautiful tasting room designed with the comfort and warmth of a modern lodge. Wine tastings are $5, and their handcrafted wines are also available by the glass or bottle.
Cellar 426 plans to be open Fridays 1pm–7pm, Saturdays 11am– 7pm and Sundays 1pm–5pm. Cellar 426 is located at 1402 Dennis Dean Road in Ashland, Nebraska. Call 402.944.8109 for the opening date or check the website at www.Cellar426.com
Breakfast with Markus & Charlie
New Children’s Books Local author Mark Andrew Gorup’s two new children’s books teach kids that eating healthy can be delicious and fun. Mark, a health enthusiast for all ages, created the concept for the books by blending facts with an interesting story line. The Puggle Tails series follows the adventures of a boy, Markus, and his dog, Charlie. Breakfast with Markus & Charlie follows Markus and Charlie as they prepare for game day and explains how a nutritious breakfast fuels the body. Snack Time with Markus & Charlie offers fun advice for healthy snacks and explains why they are important. Each book ends with fun and simple recipes everyone can enjoy.
Both books are illustrated by Rachel Wolfe.
To purchase the books, visit www.MarkusAndCharlie.com or call 402.934.2366
Localmotive Food Truck
Local Foods on Wheels
Pat Favara, David Burr and David Scott recently launched Omaha’s newest and most comprehensive food truck—aptly named the Localmotive in honor of the local foods served as well as paying homage to Omaha-headquartered Union Pacific. The truck was built to their specifications and comes equipped with a bio-diesel converter that enables them to fuel the machine with biofuel waste from their operations and from other venues with food waste. The trio trekked all the way to Georgia to pick up the vehicle.
The menu consists of made-from-scratch foods that are quick and convenient. Initial offerings include several sandwiches, a daily special, soup and their signature item, the Rounder, a lightly-fried stuffed dumpling. All food items will be locally sourced when possible, and a seasonal menu will accompany the daily menu.
At their inaugural launch at the Waiting Room in Benson on March 4, three happy tasters shared the veggie sandwich, the chicken and bacon sandwich, and the meatball sub with fries. The flavors melded nicely and resulted in an outstanding meal at a reasonable cost. The truck will run at lunch and dinner seven days a week with late nights in the Omaha Old Market.
To find the truck, contact at 402.715.5653, visit at www.LocalmotiveFoodTruck.com or follow on Facebook.
Mead Drinks of All Kinds
Brian Schlueter, creator and owner of Moonstruck Meadery, has developed quite a following for his unique and delicious fermented beverages in the two years since he made the leap from handcrafted beer to mead. Mead has been around since the dawn of time and is an alcoholic beverage produced by fermenting honey with yeast and water. The result is not quite like beer, not quite like wine.
Brian uses honey from local producers, which comes in 55 gallon barrels, each weighing 650 pounds. To create 750 gallons of mead, he needs 2,000 pounds of honey. Each batch takes two to three months to produce. From the basic creation, Brian expands options by adding flavors such as cherry, plum and even jalapeño. Carbonization can be added and the result is served chilled or in an uncarbonated form served at room temperature. Moonstruck Meadery, the first meadery in Nebraska, is named after the “super moons” that occur every 18 years when the moon makes its closest approach to Earth.
Visit the tasting room at 2221 Madison Street in Bellevue, Nebraska, but be sure to call ahead as the doors are closed once the current batch sells out. 402.934.7544. www.MoonstruckMead.com
Mobile Food Market
Kurt Goetzinger, creator and owner of the Food Trailer, is excited to bring fresh local produce curbside to the neighborhoods most in need. Produce will be sourced from the BensonCommunityGardens project, which launched last year, as well as other community gardens and grocers. The food trailer will do more than provide food to the food deserts of Omaha; it will serve as an educational platform for the local food system, hunger and the environmental benefits of local foods. The generation-old trailer is currently being refurbished and will travel as the produce is harvested.
Follow the Food Trailer at FoodTrailer.org or on Facebook.
Recently opened in Omaha at 52nd and Leavenworth streets, in the former Wohlner’s
Grocery Store, J. Coco brings chef Jennifer Coco’s 13 years of experience at the Flatiron Café to one of the city’s newest dining experiences. The one-page menu features ingredients sourced from local, organic and sustainable producers whenever possible. House-made desserts and pastas with craft bartending are featured. According to Jennifer, the restaurant is a celebration of the traditional-with a modern twist. The newly remodeled space has seating for 60 with a small outside patio.
J.Coco is open for lunch Monday–Friday, 11am–2pm, and dinner Monday–Saturday, 5pm–close. Visit JCocoOmaha on Facebook or at www.JCocoOmaha.com 402.884.2626
Benson Neighborhood Restaurant and Wine Bar
Lot 2 owners Brad and Johanna Marr offer patrons approachable foods sourced from local farmers and ranchers at their recently opened restaurant and wine bar in historic Benson. Their menu includes sandwiches, primers and main courses, along with meat and cheese boards served with spiced nuts, garlic confit, tomato jam, grain mustard and Le Quartier Baking Company baguettes. The owners are both certified sommeliers and offer wines from around the world, along with a fully stocked bar. The owners feel their newly remodeled space, with its charming atmosphere and seating for 45, fits the upswing in the neighborhood overall. Eventually they plan to add patio seating.
Lot 2 is located at 6207 Maple Street in Omaha. Open daily.
Visit their Facebook page. 402.504.4200; www.Lot2Benson.com
Gluten Free in the Great Plains
New Gluten-Free Vegan Bakery
Plans are underway for a new gluten-free and 100 percent vegan bakery in the Omaha area. AmandaOverfield is excited to open an establishment where people can take comfort that allergies and diet choices are taken seriously. Amanda plans to offer breads, muffins, scones, cookies and more. Additionally, she will prepare cupcakes for birthday parties and special events. Amanda is finalizing arrangements for her location and is hoping to open late spring or early summer. Her baked items will continue to be available at the Benson Farmers’ Market throughout the summer. For opening information, follow on Facebook. 402.321.4207; www.GFGreatPlains.com
A Look at Revitalizing Cities One Vegetable, Bee and Chicken at a Time
Growing Cities, a documentary film by two friends and Omaha natives, Dan Susman and Andrew Monbouquette, examines the role of urban farming in America. The film follows Dan and Andrew on their journey across the country searching for ways to revitalize our community by growing food. The film, slated for an early 2013 release, questions how much power urban farming has to revitalize our cities and change the way we eat. If you believe in a more sustainable, just and healthy future for all, you can support the filmmakers in a variety of ways. To get connected, go to their website at GrowingCitiesMovie.com where you can sign up for their mailing list or follow them on Facebook.
Increased Focus on Local Food News
The Reader, Omaha’s oldest newsweekly, is stepping up its commitment to local food coverage. Starting this year it will designate the first week of every month as local food week. Inside the publication’s pages readers will find profiles of local producers, artisans and chefs who specialize in local food. “Our hope is to help raise awareness about our local foodshed and highlight the great work people are doing,” said publisher John Heaston. In addition to increased coverage, The Reader is also developing ways to help those passionate about local foods promote themselves even further through logo design and other marketing efforts.