Sunday, June 7, 2015

Farm to Fork: one of the year's don't-miss events

You drive out into the country, to the Breeze Family Farm in Hurdle Mills.  You see signs only just before you have to turn off NC 86.  You go about a mile and a half, and suddenly you're in the middle of one of the tastiest food events of North Carolina's year, Farm to Fork.

This year marked the third time I've attended this delicious festival, and it was the first time that my company, Principled Technologies, was one of the event's sponsors.  The giant picnic takes place in a big field, with white-topped tents ringing a large central area.  Inside the tents are 30 food selections that pair a local restaurant with a farm in the area; 10 beverage providers; and, in a special, extra large tent, 14 local food artisans.  You buy a ticket in advance, and then you spend the three hours (or however long you choose to stay) wandering around and eating whatever you'd like, as much as you'd like.

Each year, I try to sample everything, and each year I fail.  I certainly tasted a good three-quarters of the offerings, but I ran out of steam way before I could eat them all.  My favorites were probably, in no particular order, the pulled pork barbecue and green onion slaw from Pig Whistle and the Green Button Farm; the local mushroom, Providence cheese, and arugula tart from Mandolin and the Goat Lady Dairy; and what may have been the strongest dish, for my taste, of the group, the homemade egg pasta with fresh herb pesto from Crook's Corner and the Bracken Brae Farm.  The Lady Edison extra fancy country ham from The Pig, which cured it and aged it for 1.5 years in Johnston county, was also an amazing treat all on its own, as were the four artisanal cheeses from Box Carr Farms.

At a hundred bucks a pop, this picnic isn't cheap, but in addition to buying you an exceptional afternoon of eating, the money also and more importantly helps fund new farmer training programs at the W.C. Breeze Family Farm and the Center for Environmental Farming Systems (CEPHS) farm in Goldsboro.  So, you can eat well and do good, all at the same time--a most delightful combination.

If you can afford it, I highly recommend Farm to Fork NC.

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