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HUGE CROP OF FLORIDA TOMATOES ROTTING ON THE VINE
Florida's devastating hurricane season - which destroyed tomatoes in the field and delayed planting of new crops - had contributed to a short-term shortage of fresh tomatoes in much of the country. But after a short-term shortage of tomatoes immediately after the hurricane season, Florida's farmers replanted and there now is an abundance of fresh tomatoes. Yet, there is a shortage of tomatoes: acres of Florida tomatoes remain unpicked, and large numbers are being destroyed by packing houses that cannot move tomatoes. "I was shocked to see acre upon acre of unharvested tomatoes," said Florida Agriculture Commissioner Charles H. Bronson who toured tomato farms in Homestead. "Consumers aren't buying tomatoes, retail grocers and restaurants aren't placing orders, even fast-food establishments are still limiting tomatoes or not serving them at all and our growers are facing disaster because they can't sell their crop." Retail grocery prices for tomatoes, which had peaked at nearly $4 per pound in October and November, have begun returning to more normal levels. Bronson was told by growers that they are receiving 15 to 20 cents per pound for their tomatoes. "We want American consumers to know that Florida is back in the fresh tomato business," Bronson said. "Florida's farmers have rebuilt, replanted and revived much of our state's agriculture industry," Bronson said. "This is vital not only for our state but for the entire nation, since Florida farmers produce 80 percent of this country's domestically grown vegetables during the winter months." For information contact the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services at (850) 488-9948 or e sleepd@doacs.state.fl.us

BLIND TASTING @ THE WINE CLUB / WINE INSTITUTE
Have you ever wondered how much you know about wines? Sommelier Rocío Escudero is preparing a "blind tasting" of six wines on Thursday January 20 at 7 PM.at Diego's Restaurant, 65 Alhambra plaza, Coral Gables. Requirements are: No perfume or fragrances; No eating during the event (however you may order food before or after the event). No excessive smoking before the event. Reservations or more information: clubdevinos@bellsouth.net, (786) 286-9458. $ 15.00 per person.

THE DINER OFFERS ALL-DAY ALL- WEEKEND BRUNCH & WINE TUESDAYS AT 50%
The Diner is now featuring Saturday & Sunday All-Day Weekend Brunch, from 10am to 5pm, with an a la carte traditional and untraditional menu including eggs any style, silver dollar pancakes, steak and eggs as well as Belgian Waffles with caramelized bananas, lamb, pork and chicken Country Sausages with a 4 minute egg, a five layer onion, potato, red pepper, asparagus and tomato omelet stuffed with spinach and goat cheese, Crab Cake Eggs Benedict, and other favorites.
Wine Day every Tuesday with 50% off on vintage or non-vintage wines from California, Washington state, Oregon, France, Italy, Spain, Germany, Chile, Argentina, Australia, South Africa, and New Zealand. The Diner's carefully selected wine list features over 70 reasonably priced offerings, as well as a great selection of wines by the glass. The Diner, 1450 S. Dixie Highway, Coral Gables. 305-669-2698.

CHEF VITO MOLLICA OF FOUR SEASONS, PRAGUE AT ACQUA'S KITCHEN
Chef Vito Mollica of Allegro restaurant at Four Seasons Prague, Czech Republic, will cook in Acqua restaurant at Four Seasons Hotel Miami as part of the restaurant's visiting chef series. January 27 through 30. Chef Mollica will host a cooking demonstration and a cocktail reception on Wednesday, January 26. Vito hails from Four Seasons Milan and under his tutelage, Allegro, has become the finest restaurant in the Czech Republic, was named one of the Top 50 New Hot Tables in the World by Conde Nast Traveler, and was included in Gourmet's 50 Best Hotel Dining Rooms list. Acqua restaurant at Four Seasons Hotel Miami. 1435 Brickell Avenue, 305-381-3140.

SOUTH BEACH WINE AND FOOD FEST
Ticket information call toll free 877-762-3933 or 305-460-6563

MASTER SOMMELIER BLIND TASTING
Friday February 25, 1:00pm 3:00pm. Parrot Jungle Island, 1111 Parrot Jungle Trail, Miami. Learn the secrets of those who taste wines for a living. Industry experts rely on the ?double blind tasting? to truly judge a sample without regard to its origin, price tag or fancy label. Master sommeliers Larry O Brien of Paterno Wines, Virginia Philip of The Breakers, Palm Beach, and Eric Hemer of Southern Wine & Spirits of South Florida will headline this event, $100
WIENIES FOR WINIES SEMINAR
Saturday February 26, and Sunday February 27, 11:00am noon Intercontinental Hotel, 100 Chopin Plaza, Miami. Sausage paired with wine? You bet. Noted New York restaurateur Danny Meyer (Union Square Cafe, Gramercy Tavern, Eleven Madison Park, Tabla, Blue Smoke) and Fort Collins, Colo., sausage meister Terry Miller explore this unique combination in what can only be described as palate aerobics? $75
"MAKE IT A BLOCKBUSTER NIGHT" WINE AND FOOD PAIRINGS SEMINAR
Saturday, February 26, and Sunday, February 27, 1:00pm 2:00pm Intercontinental Hotel, 100 Chopin Plaza, Miami. Wine authority Joshua Wesson of Best Cellars shares the lowdown on serving the appropriate wine with those sinful munchies in which we all occasionally indulge. $75
CHATEAU MOUTON ROTHSCHILD SEMINAR
Sunday, February 27, 1:00pm 3:00pm InterContinental Hotel, 100 Chopin Plaza, Miami The greatest wines of Bordeaux go on display in all their glory. . Join Tom Matthews , executive editor of Wine Spectator, as he welcomes Olivier Lebret , president of Baron Philippe de Rothschild USA, who will lead this tasting of exceptional offerings from Chateau Mouton Rothschild complete with vertical tasting of some of their most highly regarded vintages! $150

TWISTED ART SUNDAYS AT ARCHIE'S CORAL GABLES
Every Sunday, from 2 - 4 pm, enjoy gourmet meal and watch how talented Russian artist Irina twists balloon sculpture for restaurant patrons, including monkeys, green lizards and Barbie dolls. Archie's Coral Gables, 166 Giralda Ave. 305-444-1557


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