Smart chicken: MBA Brand Smart Chicken is teaming up with Earth Fare to help those in need. What is Smart Chicken? It’s all-natural chicken raised without the use of growth hormones or antibiotics. Here’s the kicker: Now through Jan. 1, each time Earth Fare sells 10 pounds of Smart Chicken, MBA will donate one pound to MANNA FoodBank, which will get the chicken to a family that needs it this holiday season. For more information, call Earth Fare at 253-7656; find out about MBA Smart Chicken at www.smartchicken.com.
Green acres: The Highland Lake Inn in Flat Rock has joined the Green Hotels Association. This means that the Inn is officially committed to be an environmentally friendly business, recycling all plastics, aluminum and newsprint, and most glass. A new laundry system eliminates the use of chemicals and reduces the amount of energy used. High efficiency lighting and plumbing systems have also been installed. Season’s restaurant at the Inn has jumped on board, composting, recycling all fryer oil, refusing to use Styrofoam, and also using as much organic produce as possible — much of which is actually grown on-site. For more information about the Highland Lake Inn or Season’s, visit www.HLInn.com.
Big beer of the week: Now that “big beer” is legal in North Carolina, plenty of good seasonal brews that in past years we’ve missed are finally here and ready for the drinking. For example, there’s the deep mahogany Snow Cap Ale from Pyramid. At just 7 percent alcohol-by-volume, it’s not too strong, and its rich, malty flavor and hint of toasted coffee makes for a warm winter welcome. Though the flavor falls far short of wimpy, the body is not overly heavy, so it won’t weigh you down too much. The flavor, by the way, improves with a slight warming. I’ve heard that 45 degrees is the ideal serving temperature. By the way, the price is right: You can currently find Snow Cap at Greenlife Grocery for $6.19 a sixer.