As pervasive as the local food movement is here, it can still be difficult for conscious eaters to access local ingredients. If you miss the weekly farmers markets, what do you do? A few new initiatives help eaters get farm-fresh food to their table.
At last Sunday's Farm to Fork Picnic, the Piedmont Grown certification program launched a nifty, easy-to-recognize label to designate food and agricultural products grown, raised or made in the Piedmont region.
"Our mission is to support Piedmont farms and rebuild a regional, community-based, farm-to-fork, local food system," said Noah Ranells, a board member of Piedmont Grown, a farmer and the Agricultural Economic Development Coordinator for Orange County, in a press release. "We want to link consumers to local farm fresh foods, build local markets for farmers and food entrepreneurs, and grow healthy and prosperous communities."
Piedmont Grown NC Inc., the nonprofit behind the certification, requires farms, farmers markets, grocery and retail, restaurants, local food artisans and other local food businesses seeking certification to meet standards and practices specific to their category, as well as sign an annual license agreement to use the logo. Thanks to a grant, farms can become members for free in 2011.
They've also launched www.piedmontgrown.org, a website with a directory and map of more than 100 local food purveyors. Consumers can search by type of business or product, ZIP code and more.
Advocates for Health in Action has launched a specific directory for Wake County. The Farm to Family Food Finder can be viewed at www.advocatesforhealthinaction.org under the Local Food tab. The interactive map shows more than 60 Wake County farmers markets, pick-your-own farms and CSA drop sites. They also host a great guide to community gardens in the area.
For specialty international products that aren't produced locally, why not make them yourself? Carrboro Greenspace sponsors a Wild Fermentation Workshop on July 10 from 2 to 5 p.m. at Vimala's Curryblossom Cafe in Chapel Hill. Local food activists Rob Jones (of Crop Mob), Liane Salgado and Andrea Wood (of Porcino) will lead the class in learning how to make kimchi, sourdough and sauerkraut to take home, as well as demonstrations on making Japanese miso, Indian dosa/ idli, buttermilk, Mediterranean yogurt/ lebneh, vinegar and kombucha. Space is limited to 15 students; the suggested donation is $35. Reserve a space by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
In restaurant news, Raleigh downtowners still await the long-anticipated opening of Poole's Diner chef Ashley Christensen's new downtown establishments. Christensen's current menu boasts locally produced everything, including refined Southern vegetables, top-notch meats and fancy, French-inspired tartars. A sign for Beasley's Chicken and Honey, the chef's newest endeavor, popped up last week on the building at 200 S. Wilmington St. The restaurant is expected to be open by the end of summer. Local food buzz says that her neighboring restaurant and bar, Chuck's, should open shortly after.