All posts by Patrick

A Whole Week in One Post

I ended up at Overmountain Vineyard today with Alex Rike and Russell Mierop. At this time, I received a massive amount of grief for Eating Local an entire week and only posting once so far. So to them and to you dear reader, I apologize. It does not take away from an awesome week though and I’m excited to tell you all about it.

Breakfast in General: Consisted of skipping it, yogurt and granola, and tomorrow it will most certainly be an egg and cheese biscuit. If you have forgotten my Ode to egg and cheese biscuits, you can see it here but it if not Shakespearean it must be only slightly less poetic. (I’m not the only one either, check out this post from Field and Stream magazine indicating how well loved their breakfast sandwich posts are received)

Lunches: Two from the Mill Spring Farm Store consisting of sandwiches and Hunger Buster bars. Today was the grand exception, I was in Landrum picking up donations for the Ag Center and decided on Dawn’s Eat Local post to go to Southside Smokehouse and Grill. Upon walking to the door and seeing it adorned with Eat Local stickers I knew this was a good idea. I had the watermelon, blueberry, feta salad. I ordered the small and was overwhelmed with the size. Most of the salad was secured locally and I had unsweet tea (not local but I just didn’t think of it honestly – I was thirsty and I thought the humidity was supposed to break today…)

Dinners: Have been great.

Monday: At home, local tomatoes and couscous from the Mill Spring Farm Store with Ashe County Cheese and garlic from home to adorn the dish. Ice cream from the Farm Store to make a Monday a bit better.

Tuesday: Grilling at Russell’s house. We had his pork links (grown no less than 20 to 22 feet away from where we ate) and zucchini, onion, and green pepper skewers all thanks to the Farm Store. I also want you all to know that because of my unhealthy obsession with Pinterest, Russell is now addicted whether he chooses to admit it or not.  Russell sells his pork and beef at the Columbus Farmers’ Market.

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Wednesday: Grilled Sunburst trout (in the rain) at home from the Farm Store with an ear of corn. Drank Hi-Wire Brown Ale to wash it down.

Thursday: Headed to Asheville to see my buddy Peter and stopped in West Asheville at Lucky Otter and had a burrito. Chicken from a Hickory based farm and veggies from Mountain Food Products at the WNC Farmers’ Market. It was good.

Friday: Headed to Overmountain (and don’t think I am a lush) but had some apple cider, sangria, and blackberry wine. Then brought a bottle of cider home for good measure. Overmountain’s cider is amazing. I am no aficionado but without a doubt, it fit the bill so amazingly for a warm August Friday. Many ciders rest for a short period and then immediately to the bottle. Overmountain takes their time. These Gala apples start in Henderson County but make their way to Polk, are pressed and fermented wine style for a year. It was dry, it was not to sweet, it was cold, and it was great. I can promise you that I received no compensation, I received no special treatment, the giant Great Danes didn’t even come to give me a sniff…it is just good stuff and you should go try it.

I hate that I did not make it to the other vineyards of Polk County while I was on my week (still next week while we are all Eating Local). I love Parker Binns Vineyard and the lack my attention to them in the last two weeks of my Eating Local does not take away from their quality of wine. They are building an amazing new facility and it is situated at the top of a hill that will have one of the most amazing views in Polk County.

Mountain Brook Vineyards is nothing short of what you would expect from your best friends making some wine and inviting you over to enjoy it. Their place is bucolic and serene and someone who is better at wine tasting than I has said they make some of the best in our region.

Russian Chapel Hill is run by a man named Andrey who has a heart that I assume makes it difficult to walk around due to its oversized nature. The Chapel that he has built might seem odd by a passerby driving through to get to their business  meeting. But standing within it’s walls and hearing him talk about building it for the soldiers he served with in the military is near harrowing.

Green Creek Winery is the jet-less trip to the Napa Valley. I have never felt more far away from home and still now I’ll be in my bed at night than here. It might just be me, but it is a transporting place and I have been glad to have a sip at this fine place.

These folks create a product for us. Henderson County is five times our size in population and near 100 more square miles in size and yet they have only two wineries. Nothing against them but Polk County was made to produce good grapes and fine wines. Visit these places and help their businesses grow.

Last thing for this evening, if you have a bit of interest in visiting the farms and wineries that we have talked about over the last six weeks you can. No VIP pass required, you don’t have to know a guy, or sell your soul. On September 19th we have the PolkFresh Farm Tour. Farm across the County open their doors to you so that you can see what they do, how they do it, and how they are damn proud of the product they make. Come and visit them and show your support. The farms will make you proud and the wineries will make you at ease. Visit our Farm Tour page for more information and to get tickets.

Here’s a link to most of the places we have been these last six weeks. 

Saturday Buying and Sunday Eating in Boone

So I have no excuse for the time it has taken to make my first blog post. It has been a busy few weeks but I am glad to be back on my week of eating 100%.

Saturday morning I was in Boone so in preparation for the Eat Local Challenge I went to the Watauga County Farmers’ Market.  I have been before but everytime it seems to get better and better. We parked two parking lots away due to the volume of visitors and even had to do that stare down the other driver who is trying to steal your spot thing. It was tense. So we got a Fried Apple Pie from The Farmer’s Wife and a Fresh Lemonade (sorry kid, I forgot what your name was but I gave you $1 tip so I hope we’re cool) to calm down.  And if you’re reading this guy in the parking lot, remember one thing…I won.

We got:

  • Honey from Faith Mountain Farm
  • Beets, purple green beans, Cherokee purple tomatoes, and beets from Against the Grain Farm (I went to there farm during the High County Farm Tour – it is an amazing place)
  • Turkey Burger from I forgot.
  • Summer Banana Apples (Particularly excited about these as I planted two of these this year from Century Farm Orchards and have no idea what they taste like – just went with the good sounding description.) Also from I forgot.
  • Potatoes from Caroline at Octupus Garden (Hey Caroline!)

We also heard some great tunes from Redleg Husky. It’s nice having music to meander too. Like a farmers’ market soundtrack. The artists, Tim and Misa were very nice too.

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If you find yourself in Watauga County and are preparing for a local food odyssey – then make your way over to Ashe County for the cheese. I bought a wheel of cheese from Ashe County Cheese. Won’t say much more than that but if I forget to mention it, just expect everyday I have a chunk.

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We didn’t buy anything (sorry owners) but really enjoyed The Honey Hole. They had a wide range of bee keeping equipment, poultry supplies, and good food gift items. The best part was the outside entry and indoor display beehive right there in the store. For all you poultry fanciers, check out the leash option for walking your chicken down Main.20150815_171553

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Lastly for West Jefferson, stopped at Boondocks Brewing for a few beers. Really enjoyed the IPA and grew extra hair on my chest from the Campfire Scottish Ale.

Dinner that night was good but it being the last night of not eating local it inherently was not very local. Though the Come Back Shack has local turkey and beef burgers, I opted instead for a veggie burger with fries.

Sunday brunch brought a great feast at Melanie’s Food Fantasy. They had beautiful pollinator gardens on their patio and outside the restaurant. I had a hard time deciding but ended up with local scrambled eggs, biscuit from Stick Boy Bread Co, covered in gravy, bacon, whole grain pancake, and apples. It was a feast and was great.

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Sunday evening after getting home I went to the new mega Ingles in Mills River. So fancy that they lights in the freezer section only come on as you walk by…good job Ingles! They had a nice display of local produce as soon as you came in the door. I bought Annie’s Bread, smoked Sunburst Trout, and another tomato. Had a picnic of sorts at home with the Ashe County Cheese.

The picture at the top is from the Mt. Jefferson State Park.

Saturday Vittles

A five day work week has been pretty much the standard for over 100 years. We bemoan Monday and are ecstatic for Friday. I bet about 99% of the folks reading this though don’t count Saturday as a day off though…there’s the grass to cut, the car to fix, the house to paint, the animals to feed, and more. We work all week to get to the weekend to work on some more stuff. There’s a big difference between leisure time and lazy time I suppose and I wouldn’t rather be working one place or another, I just know that the end of a day spent working feels better than marathoning Parks and Rec for the 3rd time.

I say all this to best describe Saturday which was a mix of the leisure and lazy. Pickup a little chicken feed, read a little, appear to help cook but don’t help cook, and be in charge of opening bottles of things. It was a good mix of leisure and lazy.

We had breakfast composed of our eggs, cantaloupe from McCall’s farm stand in Little River, and pancakes made from the Whole Wheat Pancake Mix made by TK Family Farm. I doused my pancakes with butter from the Farm Store and hickory syrup  from Wildwood.

No lunch but an afternoon snack, eaten on the tailgate after washing the car, to save room for the big dinner. The last of the Annie’s Ciabatta bread, Ashe County Cheddar, and Roots Hummus.

I can neither confirm nor deny that I also snuck the last Cool Mama’s donut. Not really though. But pretty sure I ate it. I totally did.

Dinner was extravagant to say the least. Two TK Family Farm chickens, grilled to perfection beer can style. Two pounds of shrimp from Manna Cabanna skewered and cooked to plumpness. Corn roasted and copious amounts of butter applied. We drank Overmountain Wine, drank Pisgah Pale and Sierra Nevada beer, and finished the night around the fire with baklava and lemon bars created at Blue Mountain Deli in the Hendersonville Co-op. Our nightcap was courtesy of Troy and Sons Distillery of Asheville which paired well with the marshmallows I roasted at exactly 12:01am.

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My brother, who was our chef for the evening.

Thanks for following along my week of eating local. Sydney starts Sunday and I am very confident will put me to shame so well that I won’t be able to show my face for a month. Please see our list of resources for links to any and all of the food we have eaten the past few weeks.

Friday was Awesome

“Exalt the farmer.” says Nick Offerman and he is right. I will add exalt the shopkeep and the produce stand, exalt the markets and their managers & volunteers, the makers of divine products, and exalt all those who buy their food from these folks.

Friday started with breakfast at home of Farm Store Wholesome Country Creamery yogurt, granola, and the honey from our Ag Center bees but then took a turn for the fantastic. Headed to Green Creek to take a look at a farm, Alex and I stopped by Cool Mama’s Bakery for Friday Donut Day. I am forever glad that we did. These are great donuts folks – it doesn’t really matter your donut preference – somehow it fits all the parameters. Outside of the delicious treats, Martha has breads, cinnamon rolls, and a selection of local products. available for sale.

On our way back to the Ag Center we swung through and saw Sofia at Overmountain Vineyards. I had not been there since they had finished their beautiful new patio. I thought about taking a picture but instead, I want you to go to their Facebook page, Like it, and follow every last thing these folks are doing. They could just have folding chairs and a bug zapper and their wine would be worth sitting around and drinking but they have made an oasis. I will show you their wicked bus and I hope the dream for it is a travelling bar that shows up wherever good wine is needed. I bought the Patriot Red and will have it Saturday night.

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In the afternoon I went to Meanwhile Back in Saluda. She has a massive selection of local products and is working on more every day. I have been to many different stores getting ready for and taking this challenge, Meanwhile definitively has a better selection of products than the majority of the places. Don’t forget an awesome beer and wine selection too. While shopping I sipped a Full Steam Basil Beer (if you live in a place that has summertime, this is a beer to try). There’s too much to mention here, but from Mary Ann I bought more of the basil beer, Imladris Farm Smoked Ketchup, Postre Sea Salt Caramel sauce, and Sunburst Carolina Smoked Trout Dip.

Next I went to Manna Cabanna to pickup some fresh from Beaufort shrimp for dinner Saturday night. She also had a nice display of produce and I bought some corn from Carol Lynn from the Cooper Riis farm.

I tell you what, the people of Saluda have their life together. In one swoop, they can get off the interstate, fly across the mountains and float the river with Green River Adventures, afterwards sit and have a local beer on tap at the gas station, Mountain River Tap and Growler. Mosey up the road to Meanwhile and get beer and local meats for the grill. Amble over to Manna Cabanna for some produce and shrimp and then stop by the Tailgate Market to round out their meal and their evening. Not to mention the shops along the way. Way to go Saluda.

I made a beeline for home and then started our somewhat epic journey to get to the Grove Park Inn. Two traffic accidents led us to Hwy 25 which was quite congested. We did finally arrive about 30 minutes late for dinner at Edison. I had a good long talk with our server who led me to the chicken on top of Hendersonville based greens to make a really good Caesar salad. Beer with dinner was the Hi Wire Bed of Nails Brown. We went to Elaine’s dueling bar afterwards where I requested Take Me Home Country Road by John Denver and had a Troy and Sons Distillery cocktail. It came out pink which was just fine because it was delicious.

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After getting home from Asheville we had some homemade ice cream in the freezer, I added some of that Postre Caramel sauce. If I had thought the donuts were my best decision of the day, I was wrong.

Our dog Otis ate local with us today as well! Thanks Food Matters.

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Local Thursday

I have gotten into a groove on breakfast and lunch as most folks do. Breakfast was the same as yesterday and lunch from the Farm Store as well.

Dinner was great and filling. As I peered over the ingredients available I figured that it was going to be something similar to the usual meals I cook. Worked a little late, had to run an errand or two, everybody gets into that mode and needs something quick and reliable. Tonight I made a vegetable medley of zucchini from the Brookshire garden, onion and chickpeas from the Farm Store, garlic from the garden all sautéed in the cast iron pan on the stove. A bit of Ashe County Cheddar & Lila’s Garden Microgreens on top and couscous on the bottom to round it out.  Had another Pisgah Pale while cooking too!

On the way home one of the places I stopped was Harris Teeter in Hendersonville. I was impressed as you walk in the door is a permanent shelf of NC food items. They had a few produce items in the section and I really liked their Local Produce signs and the miles from where I was standing to the farm.

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Tomorrow is panning out to be an awesome day of food! Friday afternoon I will head to Saluda for stops at the Tailgate Market, Meanwhile Back in Saluda (really excited to try that Basil Beer), and Manna Cabanna for some shrimp! After that headed to Edison in Asheville so will have a big blog post for you tomorrow night (or more likely Saturday morning).

As always, here’s the link to all the goodness.

Wednesday Meals

I really liked breakfast today – yogurt from Wholesome Country Creamery from the Mill Spring Farm Store with granola from the same and honey drizzled on top made by last year’s hive of the Mill Spring Ag Center’s hardest workers – our honey bees.

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I have repeatedly found that I am doing a poor job of planning well for lunch. It is easier when I can plan to buy a sandwich at the store or go to town for a meal. Eating locally this week has meant more prep time for meals but it has been enjoyable. Prepping a day ahead for my lunch though is something I will have to improve upon for my next week of eating local.

It is super convenient to have a local food farm store within 30 yards of where you work so I do feel like I cannot complain! Yesterday I had lunch at the store again, a perfectly ripe SC peach, a Hunger Buster Bar (you owe it to yourself to try of one – it reminds me of something I ate as a kid at summer camp), and Uncle Scott’s root beer.

I went by the Hendersonville Community Co-op to grab a couple of extra things for supper. It being summer time it felt like the time for something classic – a burger.

So we had Rosetta’s Kitchen, a restaurant based in Asheville but that sells their products in grocery stores, burgers with Annie’s Bakery Ciabatta bread for rolls. Topped with lettuce and Lusty Monk Mustard from the Farm Store. On the side, sweet corn and Wholesome Country Creamery butter from the Farm Store. And with dinner, a couple of Pisgah Pale Ales, my favorite.

See all the link for food we have eaten here.

Tuesday Night is Farm Store Night

 

This is how the Farm Store all started. A fridge in the hallway of the Ag Center with eggs that could be purchased on the Honor System.  I think of what the hall looked like when we set it up. It was before we had water in the building so cleaning it required bringing buckets of water over from the neighbors or home. We were still heavily into renovations on the first floor. Mopping and dusting the hallways was a fool’s errand as it would be dirty fifteen minutes later.

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The Farm Store came together because of so many people. Carol Lynn Jackson was its creator and first manager, from there to Kacy and Judy. Each and every person brought something magical to the store. It went through so much to now be in the capable hands of Reda Harvey. She has taken the store to a level that we would have not reached for years to come. It is place where people come shop, convene, laugh, learn, and eat.

The store does and will always need you. More than that, the farmers that bring their products need your business as well. When new farmers come to Polk County we tell them this – we have three places you can sell. Go to the farmers’ market and sell your carrot for a $1.00 and get a dollar. It’ll take about a day away from the farm to prepare and go though. Bring your stuff to the Farm Store and sell it on commission (for most farmers – 20%). You get .80 cents of that dollar but that day back on your farm and your product sold all week long. Lastly, when your farm is ready and getting big – start selling through the virtual food hub, Polk Fresh Foods, to markets all over including Charlotte, Asheville, and more.

If you believe in Local – support these places or they will go away. There is no fail safe without consumers believing in what Local means. There is no reason for a farmer to keep going if she is not even breaking even. Want a bigger variety? Longer season? Buy what they have now – INVEST in their future and yours and tell them what you want. They will work towards all of our mutual ideals – one day walking in to the local supermarket after the Farm Store takes it over!

Alright, those that are here for the menu tonight can start here!

 

Warmup: Roots Hummus, Roots and Branches Crackers, and Bottle Tree Irish Ale

Layer 1: We are using the Sunburst Trout Fillet left over from last night, purchased at Food Matters, baked utilizing Solio Family Canola Oil* from the Farm Store. Sliced tomatoes from the Ag Center gardens.

Layer 2: Okra, peas, onions, and green bell pepper from the Brookshire garden.

Layer 3: Salad mix  and couscous from the Mill Spring Farm Store.

Topped with:   Wholesome Country Creamery in Hamptonville, NC provided the yogurt base and cucumbers from Laura’s folks provided the flavor to a tzatziki sauce. Firewalker Hot Sauce from Asheville to taste!

Side: Creamed corn made by my mom last year which was purchased from the nearby McCall’s Farm Stand.

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Dessert: Mint & Chip Ice Cream from the Wholesome Country Creamery Folks

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*If you don’t click on any other link, make sure to check out the Soilio Family Canola oil. Made from farmers throughout the Southeast and really well priced. It is non-GMO and support local family farms.

Lastly, here’s the link to all the links I have posted so far this week, I will be updating soon to include all of Dawn’s as well!

 

Breakfast at the Hendersonville Co-op

Recently in a meeting of food minded folks we were asked to go around the table, introduce ourselves and say what our favorite food happens to be. I was near the end so I heard most everyone’s answers. There were a few which included broccoli, fresh summer vegetables prepared in one way or another, and a couple of chocolate lovers as well. I however received a pause when I said, Egg and Cheese Biscuits. It is my favorite thing I will admit. It can be done so many ways and unlike fancy alternative favorites, you can do it poorly and it will taste good or leave it in the hands of the best chef and it will taste great. I think odes could be written to the Egg and Cheese Biscuit. In fact, I’ll take a stab at it:

Ode to Egg and Cheese Biscuit 

Row after row of rising dough,

Irregularity alright, no rising a fright,

As it bakes it flakes and prepares to accept,

The receipt of no meat, just the work of the chicken and the bovine’s teat, 

Rejoice as it comes together, layer after layer, 

The delicious, Egg and Cheese Biscuit. 

Needless to say, I went through the Hendersonville Community Co-op‘s grand new location this morning and picked up one of their to-go Egg and Cheese Biscuits. It was, as always, delicious and well prepared. I also noted that I was in and out in less than 4 minutes as they have most of the biscuits prepared and you can grab and go.

Monday Night = Awesome Dinner

Did you read a little bit about the Presidents’ eating habits? I enjoyed it very much. I have a book on the Founding Father’s entitled Founding Gardeners  by Andrea Wulf. This is from the book jacket:

Not only did Washington, Adams, Jefferson, and Madison operate farms, all believed agriculture was the noblest occupation and the foundation of democracy. All loved to talk about it, write about it, and spend leisure time (between building a nation) inspecting local farms. Scholars have not ignored this, but British design historian Wulf (The Brother Gardeners: Botany, Empire and the Birth of an Obsession) focuses on the agricultural passion that also reflected the political convictions of America’s founders. Even while fighting the Revolution and governing the nation, Washington bombarded the manager of his beloved Mount Vernon with detailed instructions and insisted on prompt replies. During years of diplomatic service overseas, Adams and Jefferson toured private gardens and studied the latest agricultural techniques. This obsession went beyond the personal, influencing the design of Washington, D.C., and the White House, where Jefferson wanted only native shrubs and trees. Detailed botanical descriptions, garden layouts, and crop yields of their estates may appeal more to fans of horticulture than of history, but Wulf offers a delightful new perspective on the men we usually associate more with politics than with plants.

If you like the looks of it, remember to buy it Local!

So I promised a good dinner to make up for a lackluster brunch and I think you’re going to like it. Food Matters in Brevard is a great market and has a great selection of organic food, ready to eat meals, local beer, pet food, etc.

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They had a good selection of local meats.

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Laura purchased two Sunburst Trout Farm fillets, Spicy Brassica Mix Microgreens from Lila’s Garden in Hendersonville, and Imperial Red Ale beer produced by Polk’s own Bottle Tree Beer. Laura then swung by her folk’s house in Pisgah Forest and picked up a bag full! Carrots, peas, potatoes, okra, and zucchini.

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I was the chef this evening so I decided to bake the trout with garlic and steam some of the peas. It was odd not to use a citrus for me but the results were great. After the trout came out of the oven I added peeled carrot to the top for a nice crunch and then the microgreens to boot. I turned on the wrong burner for the steamed peas so they didn’t quite steam up and ended up being lukewarm. Seems weird, but that happens to me a lot.

We finished and then Laura had a great surprise. Her folks had made blueberry ice cream. Using milk from the Mill Spring Farm Store, blueberries from their yard and some that Laura and I had picked in Polk last year, and some of our eggs. (Does that make it a custard? I don’t know, let me know if you do.)  It was amazing…

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