Conventional wisdom advises that habits are ingrained after 21 days of repetition. If that theory holds true, then the eat~play~shop local habit requires time and effort to develop. Each month I’ll be sharing “21 Days” of some event, place or organization in the Triangle, enabling (and I mean that in the most positive sense possible) your inner Localista to come out and join us. This month it’s all about local food, farmers markets and farms.
Late Spring starts the peak of picnic season in the Triangle, the largest of which is the annual Farm to Fork Picnic in Orange County, just north of Hillsborough. Picnic attendees can dine on dishes from more than thirty pairings of Triangle area chefs with farmers, secure in the knowledge that the price of admission to the grand feast in the field helps grow new farms.
Today’s young farmers face unprecedented challenges, from loss of affordable farmland to limited access to training resources. That’s where the Center for Environmental Farming Systems (CEFS) and PLANT @ Breeze Farm Enterprise Incubator play an important role for entry level farmers, providing new farmer training programs through innovative collaboration. Proceeds from Farm to Fork picnic benefit the farmer training programs at CEFS and the Breeze Farm.
The picnic is a big draw for the foodie-forward Triangle and sells out every year. Restaurants from every corner of the area convene in the countryside to create small plates using ingredients from their partner farms. At the 2013 picnic, one could dine on a refreshing, chilled soup of fresh kale, chard, spinach and parsley with apple cider by Raleigh’s Irregardless Cafe using In Good Heart Farm’s produce. Perhaps a little more apropo of a picnic, Panciuto of Hillsborough created a pork hot dog in potato batter using Fickle Creek Farm products. For dessert, options included a sweet potato cake doughnut with sorghum glaze and country ham from the Rise Biscuits & Donuts and SEEDS collaboration.
This year’s picnic date is set, June 8 from 4 to 7 pm. Ticket sales will open in the next month (and they usually sell out each year). The picnic is on, rain or shine (and there’s a large tent in the center of the event in case of rain). Come prepared to have a good time, dining on delicious food and admiring the riches of the Triangle local food scene.