Do fireworks make you hungry? If a backyard barbecue isn't in the cards over the holiday, Locale Market is hosting a four-day event Tuesday to July 7. They will offer a special tasting menu on those days of classic Americana foods for $17.76. (Get it?!) Each food station will have a different dish that chef Jeffrey Hileman has created, including burger bites, barbecued chicken skewers, pepperoni pizza, wagyu beef hot dogs and apple pie. Fifteen percent of the proceeds will be donated to Special Operations Warrior Foundation, which provides full college tuition assistance to the children of Special Ops troops who die in the line of duty, and financial grants for Special Ops troops who are severely injured. localegourmetmarket.com.
Because the holiday falls on a Tuesday this year, folks have decided to celebrate our independence any darn time they see fit. Disney's Grand Floridian Resort, for example, hosts its "Happy Birthday America" Cookout at 7 p.m. Monday. Picture an all-American cookout with grilled steak, shrimp, hamburgers, hot dogs, sweet corn and all the trimmings, capped off with a marina-front view of Celebrate America: A Fourth of July Concert in the Sky fireworks display from the Magic Kingdom. $120, $59 children. 4401 Floridian Way, Lake Buena Vista. (407) 939-3463.
Head to Sur La Table in Tampa on the Fourth from noon to 2:30 p.m. for an Over-the-Top Ice Cream class. This isn't your garden-variety stuff: red velvet cake ice cream, smoked bourbon vanilla ice cream, mojito sorbet. You put your newfound knowledge to the test and it will be fireworks indeed. Instructors walk you through all the essentials, from incorporating fruit into sorbet and smoking bourbon to enhancing a classic custard base for ice cream. Plus, you'll learn techniques for creating the ideal smooth, creamy texture. After mastering the basics, you can create your own variations to share with family and friends. $48.96. 711 S Dakota Ave., Tampa. Toll-free 1-800-243-0852.
When we've all dragged ourselves back to work after the holiday, Wednesday provides another opportunity for celebration. The Mayor's Food Truck Fiesta is a monthly gathering to show support for local food trucks and for trucks to showcase their food to Tampa's downtown. Tampa's Downtown Partnership sets up tables and chairs in Lykes Park where guests can enjoy their lunches, and then the food trucks come out of the woodwork. Festivities run 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., and inclement weather can gum up the works (check tampagov.net/mayor/foodtruck to see if it's a go). Menu prices vary. 410 N Franklin St., Tampa.
Last week was National Pollinator Week, and more than 30 restaurants around the country worked with Environment America's Bee Friendly Food Alliance to draw attention to bee problems by educating their customers and highlighting foods pollinated by bees. A whole lot of restaurants in California and Vermont participated, and exactly one in the state of Florida: St. Petersburg's Community Cafe at 2444 Central Ave.
Honey bees, bumble bees and other native bees are critical to the environment and our food supply. Bees pollinate 70 of the 100 crops that provide most of the world's food. Many favorite summer foods including strawberries, watermelon and zucchini are pollinated by bees.
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Millions of bees are dying across the country. Beekeepers report they are losing an average of 30 percent of all honey bee colonies each year. Scientists point to several causes of the bee die-off, including global warming, habitat loss, parasites and a class of bee-killing pesticides known as neonicotinoids. Thanks, Community Cafe, for spreading the word.