Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Little Souse on the Prairie

Remember the TV show “Little House on the Prairie?” They raised their own food, there were no chemical or artificial colorings or flavorings. Everything was organic because it came straight from nature. With today’s renewed interest in living a healthy life ‘close to the earth’ we seek out organic, seasonal food – so why wouldn’t we do the same with our cocktails?

Prairie vodka is distilled from organic #2 yellow corn, and over 900 Minnesota farmers are stakeholders in the brand. In addition to all that home-grown goodness, it is certified both organic and kosher.

What does it mean to be “organic”? In order for a spirit to be deemed “certified organic” by the USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) the entire process, from the growing of the grains to bottling must be free of chemical pesticides, herbicides, genetically modified seeds and artificial fertilizers or enzymes.

What does it mean to be “kosher”? Being kosher means that the sources of all ingredients in a spirit are documented and approved, and that the distillation and bottling facilities are clean and hygienic, and all equipment has been properly sterilized prior to the production of each batch of vodka. This ensures that everything from the ingredients to distillation to bottling meets kosher standards for purity and cleanliness.

The flavor is smooth as corn silk with hints of summer and fall fruits such as cantaloupe and pear. Prairie also received a Gold Medal Spirit Award at the 2008 Los Angeles International Wine & Spirit Awards.

Without actually going to the distillery to witness this for myself, I’m relying on the press release with came with the sample for this information: “Leftover corncobs are converted on-site to biogas energy for powering the stills. In addition, the Distillers Dried Grains with Solubles (DDGS), a co-product of distillation, is returned to farms for reuse as feed. Prairie is packaged in an unfrosted, recyclable glass bottle, packed in a cardboard box produced from sustainable forest wood pulp, employs organic inks on its paper labels and, since it is crafted many thousands of miles closer to home than imported brands, requires significantly less petroleum to bring to market.”

The September 2007 harvest yielded enough corn to craft approximately 29,000 cases. And, the nice thing about not actually living in the little house on the prairie is that we can simply drink the vodka and leave the growing, fermenting and distilling to the people who do it for a living.

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