One Saturday in mid-April, a writer from Bon Appetit made the rounds at opening day of the new South Estes Farmers' Market in Chapel Hill, chatting up vendors and admiring the merchandise. A couple weeks later, a writer and photographer from Southern Living spent a day at Hillsborough's Coon Rock Farm, photographing pigs and interviewing the proprietors. Features on our farmers and their markets and our local-food restaurants and their chefs have appeared in USA Today and Garden & Gun. The national media has taken notice of a trend some in the Triangle may not even be tracking: When it comes to eating locally, we are rich in supply and plentiful in demand.
The problem, as the stories that begin on the next page illustrate, is that it can be tough to connect the two.
Regulations and infrastructure tailored to industrial-scale farming don't serve the needs of the small, organic, sustainable farms that form the backbone of our local farm-to-table movement. Altering or circumnavigating them is cumbersome and time-consuming. But thanks to some of the folks you'll see profiled here, and a populace of supportive (and hungry) shoppers and diners, the Triangle is moving toward a food chain that requires less traveling—by parties on both ends.
As gas approaches $4 a gallon, it can't happen soon enough. —Jennifer Strom