I had hoped that this week's column could serve as an urgent reminder to buy your Farm to Fork Picnic ticket (farmtoforknc.com). Unfortunately, it is too late. The popular June event, where chefs team up with farmers to create delicious dishes, has already sold out.
But you can mosey over to one of the Triangle's agro-conscious restaurants any day of the week for a big ol' farm-inspired meal with a heaping side of community. Vimala's Curryblossom Cafe in Chapel Hill and Angelina's Kitchen in Pittsboro are two welcoming, small-town places with big charm, known for their extensive—and selective—use of ingredients from local farms. Another spot to join the farm-to-table offerings is Martin's Curry Rice in Morrisville (9549 Chapel Hill Road, 380-7799, martinscurryrice.com), which features all-local Tuesday night dinners. Martin Sreshta's regular menu includes cafeteria-style curry dishes with a choice of sauce, vegetables and proteins over rice. But what got my big fat Greek nose twitching was Tuesday's local goat shepherd's pie, with sustainably raised meat from Two Bridges Farm in Louisburg. The menu also includes saag paneer and tomato rice with local produce. Entreés are a steal at under $8 each. Reservations are recommended. To-go orders can be placed ahead of time by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Triangle Food Blogger Bake Sale hits Durham on Saturday, May 14. Organized by Matt Lardie of Green Eats (greeneatsblog.com) and Johanna Kramer of Durhamfoodie (johannakramer.com), the event is part of a nationwide Great American Bake Sale, with proceeds going to the children's hunger organization Share Our Strength. The sale runs from 10 a.m. until noon at Vega Metals' open-air Art Market on Hunt Street and Rigsbee Avenue, one block from the Durham Farmers Market. Expect cherry-pistachio biscotti from Kramer, cranberry-chocolate-chip scones by Lardie, chocolate chip cookies by Jyotsna Jagai of MasalaWala (masalawala.wordpress.com) and more.
If you've talked to a farmer lately, you know that bees make more than just honey. The Fifth Annual Pollinator Day Celebration aims "to raise public awareness of the importance of the bees and other pollinators that are needed to produce 80 percent of our flowering plants and one third of our human food crops." The event takes place Saturday, May 14, from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. at Chatham Mills in Pittsboro and is sponsored by the Chatham County Center of N.C. Cooperative Extension, Chatham County Beekeepers' Association and Starrlight Mead.
Beekeeper Connie Jones explains just how crucial bees are: "In North Carolina, we lost over 50 percent of our beehives. For every 10 colonies flying in the summer, only five come out next spring. If we continue to lose bees at that rate, you and I are going to starve to death. It's as simple as that. This is the weak link in our food chain."
Farmers and foodies alike can learn about beekeeping by observing hives at work. Meadery tours are available, too, and include a glass of local mead or award-winning honey wine. Kids can enjoy a scavenger hunt, beeswax candle-making and more. Details are at growingsmallfarms.org.