Summer’s on her last legs, though I’m sure she’ll give us a good poke or two, before finally relinquishing the reins to Autumn.
Ah, Autumn. Apples, pumpkins and an abundant selection of winter squash varieties will fill my market bag this month. I can almost smell apple pies, pumpkin streusel muffins and the scents of other comforting baked goods now. We’re fortunate that we have many opportunities to relish good food and fun this month without ever leaving the Triangle. And it starts this weekend at NC Hops & Roots Fest in Pittsboro.
Party in PBO!
Billed as “a family friendly festival supporting and celebrating North Carolina’s local music, food, and beers” the NC Hops & Roots Fest is new this year and kicks off at noon, Saturday September 3rd, at the Shakori Hills Community Arts Center. The $20 admission price allows access to seven bands and activities for the kids (kids 15 and under are free). Some beverages (for the adults) will be available from local breweries including Fullsteam, LoneRider, Carolina Brewery and perhaps others (probably others). Local foods come from Triangle area farms, including Coon Rock Farm and Celebrity Dairy, and dishes will be prepared by Zely & Ritz, Carolina Brewery, Angelina’s Kitchen and more. The fun will continue long into night, so you might plan ahead and bring the camping gear, if so inclined – the camping is free!
Feasting at/for the Farmers’ Markets
But we’re just getting started. Next weekend, two area farmers’ market want to feed their customers well, very well. The 9th Annual Chefs Event is Saturday, September 10th at Carrboro Farmers’ Market. Chefs from local restaurants such as Acme, The Eddy, Neal’s Deli, Il Palio and Watt’s Grocery, who are regulars at the farmers’ market, will use local ingredients to prepare free samples of All-American favorite dishes. The local food feeding fiesta begins at 9:00 am and continues until it’s all gone. On the same date, Western Wake Farmers’ Market holds its Pig Pickin’ Palooza, from 11:00 am to 2:00 pm. For $10, you can enjoy a local feast from market vendors and local chefs. Menu items include pulled pork sandwiches from Coon Rock Farm, a vegetarian okra gumbo from Chef Martin of Martin’s Curry Rice, coleslaw from Chef Crawford of Heron’s, hushpuppies and tea (sweet and unsweet) courtesy of Muddy Dog Roasting Co. and German baked goods from Annelore’s. There’s more on the menu too, but I felt full after typing just those few items. Come on out to the markets on September 10th to eat especially well.
Another farmers’ market related opportunity to eat well offers several unique dining options on various dates beginning in September and continuing into early November. Durham Central Park’s “Meals from the Market” series takes “local” to a new level through the generosity of businesses, farms and individuals who organize some of the most looking dining options, from jazz brunches, to behind the scenes “hard hat” tour of the Carolina Theatre and cook out, and international flavors from Mexican mole, Swiss fondue, French five-course fine dining and an Iberian garden party, complete with slide show! Some of the dinners have already sold out, and more will soon. You know what you need to do, if you don’t want to miss out.
Down on the Farms
For those who like to get up close and personal with their food (You know who you are. I like who you are), the Eastern Triangle Farm Tour dates are September 17th & 18th, from 1 to 5 pm both days. 25 farms fill the map for this tour, from urban farms to more traditional farms in the far corners of the Triangle. Tour all the farms you can for $25 per car load in advance, or $30 on the day of the tour. If you’re interested in just a couple of the farms, there’s a $10 per farm option too. Just pay as you arrive at each farm. I’ve volunteered at one of the farms for this tour. If you’re out in Person County on Sunday, I might see you and you might see me! Wouldn’t that be fun. 😉 Oh! Don’t forget to bring a cooler – very important. You’ll need one to bring back some farm fresh products. Tasty souvenirs from the day’s travels.
Eat, Drink, Sustain
The last Saturday (24th) of September promises one of the area’s premier food and wine events with a sustainable focus, TerraVITA 2011, in Chapel Hill on the Southern Village Green. Only in its second year, TerraVITA has added Sustainable Classroom program options for the morning, in addition to the Grand Tasting event that afternoon. Tickets for the Grand Tasting on the Lawn are still available. I can’t believe there are still tickets available! I can’t imagine that they’ll be available for much longer, so buying tickets now would probably be a really good idea, really. If you leave right now to go get that ticket, I’ll understand completely. Who would pass on the chance to experience an afternoon of fine wine tastings, select microbrews, and tasty tidbits prepared by NC culinary artists from the eastern part of the state, the western mountains, as well as right here in the Triangle? Not me. I’ll be there, ready to sip and taste with the rest of you local foodie fans.
Party with a Pepper
That’s quite a lot of local food goodness for one month… but I’ve got just one more for you – The 4th Annual Pittsboro Pepper Festival brought to you by The Abundance Foundation and Piedmont Biofarm. A Pepper Fest King and Queen will be crowned on October 2nd, and those in attendance at Briar Chapel Community Park will join in the celebration of local farms, chefs, music and beverages of many persuasions (including a pepper-powered beer). Take a look at the Facebook event page for currently available details, and a very long, impressive list of participants. Tickets are available now, and they’re only $20 if you purchase one (or more) before September 13th. After that, tickets go up to $25 if purchased by October 1st, or $30 day of the event. You know you want to go, so save yourself $10 and go get that ticket. Besides, it’s all for a good cause, since the pepper festival is the primary fundraiser for The Abundance Foundation and Piedmont Biofarm.
Actually, all of these events support a good cause, one that sustains our communities, strives to inform and improve our local world. Don’t you love it when good fun meets good food for a good cause? I do.