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Summer 2011

Living green in N.C. and S.C.

4

reCiPes to have your best barbecue yet

What’s in your cart?

The story behind your food’s labels

smoothies that will refresh any summer day

A Charleston chef tells us about his sustainable Southern seafood

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VeGetarian Men we tackle the truths and myths 6/30/11 12:10 PM


WE SELL ONLY A FEW THINGS

BUT WE TREAT THEM AS THOUGH THEY

REALLY MATTER

227 s. elliott rd. Chapel hill, nC www.3cups.net

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Monday - Wednesday: 7am - 7pm thursday & Friday: 7am - 9pm saturday: 9am - 7pm Closed sunday

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Working with a small network of farmers, our chef creates a menu that changes some every week and highlights the region始s culinary traditions as well as its agricultural bounty. Everything from the bread to the ice cream is made in house, and all summer Chef & the Farmer始s kitchen staff puts up preserves, pickles and jellies to be enjoyed all year long.

KINSTON, NC 28501

Tuesday - Thursday: 5:30pm - 9:30pm Friday & Saturday: 5:30pm - 10:30pm Closed Sunday & Monday

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Contents liVe Fresh Green PartY 8 Ban waste at your next party! Five compostable utensils and paper goods perfect for any bash.

DiaPer reVolution 34 The story of how one mother’s love for the Earth and her baby inspired her cloth diaper business. in Your BaCKYarD 51 Get to know the people living sustainably in your neck of the woods. This issue: Mitra Sticklen and Steve Coombs.

VeGGie Men eXPoseD 10 We take on the stereotypes about men who’d rather have a tofu burger than prime rib.

the south in a Glass 68 Fullsteam Brewery in Durham, N.C., crafts Southern beers with a plow-to-pint philosophy and classic Carolina ingredients.

FiVe to BuY 18 The must-haves from Weaver Street Market in Carrboro, N.C., you can’t leave without.

Bone aPPÉtit! 74 Quick and simple organic peanut butter treats that will put the wag in your dog’s tail.

siMPle VeGGie Wash 24 Keep your produce clean and your wallet full by making our easy fruit and veggie wash. QuiZ: KitChen PoWer 71 Test how efficiently energy is used in your house and learn where you can cut costs.

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Green aDVentures 73 Traveling this summer? Here are nine tips for how to conserve energy on your next vacation.

onCe uPon a shoP 76 Shawn Slome, owner of Chapel Hill boutique Twig, finds inspiration in his past to sell green goods.

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MarKet Fresh suMMer ProDuCe PiCKs 12 Select the best eggplants, cucumbers, watermelons and bell peppers at the market.

GroCerY naMe GaMe 28 What does that USDA shield really mean? A look inside the certification process for organic produce.

rooteD in FaMilY 57 Sunset Farms’ Chris Murray is part of a long lineage of farmers who cultivate more than just their land.

MarKet-MinDeD 33 Author Diane Daniel gives us her tips for getting the most — and best — out of your local farmers market.

GooD BuY 14 Why buying the organic versions of fruits and veggies is worth the extra money.

Vines anD VeGGies 44 Meet a family whose passion for sustainability is in every sip of their wine and bite of their produce.

FinD Your MarKet 26 Not sure where your nearest farmers market is? Our top picks for markets across the Carolinas.

a taste oF hillsBorouGh 62 Hillsborough Cheese Co. takes us to the market and shares a few of its favorite cheese recipes. straWBerrY seasons 78 Farmer Mark Waller takes you through the strawberry growing process season by season.

CooK Fresh Fresh BlenDs 15 Three smoothies that mix the season’s best fruit into a quick and easy cool treat.

suMMer serVeD 39 Make the most of summer’s ingredients. Our menu has your next barbecue covered from entrée to dessert. BlaCKBerrY BeautY 80 Love blackberries? So do we! Satisfy your craving with this recipe for homemade jam.

PeaChY Finish 82 Our recipe for peach cobbler from a South Carolina farm is the perfect end to any meal.

sea sustainaBle 21 Sit down with Aaron Lemieux, a chef with a commitment to local produce and seafood.

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One of five markets owned by the state of North Carolina and operated by the North Carolina Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services.

- Farmers Building, featuring 30,000 square feet of fresh produce, plants and other specialty items 6 carolinafresh.indb 6

- Indoor market shops - Market import shops - State Farmers Market Restaurant

- Wholesale terminal - Market Grill restaurant - Seafood restaurant

Monday - Saturday: 5am - 6pm • Sunday: 8am - 6pm 919.733.7417 • 1201 Agriculture CAROLINA FRESHSt., Raleigh, NC 6/30/11 12:18 PM


letter from the

editors Editorial Staff Alyssa Bailey Megan Gassaway Stephanie Kelly Emily Nycum Meghan Sherrill Hannah Taylor Laney Tipton

Art Directors Sierra Piland Lennon Dodson (Asst.)

Design Staff Carolann Belk Evan Bell Courtney Coats Amanda Davis Christie Ray Harrison Jess Maggart Anna Thompson

Multimedia Evan Bell Jess Maggart

Contributors

J

ust go for a drive across the Carolinas as you head to the mountains or beach for vacation, and you’ll notice there’s no shortage of farmers markets and sustainable businesses sprinkled along the route. From Weaver Street Market in Chapel Hill to 39 Rue de Jean in Charleston, these businesses offer more than just the local take on fresh produce. They offer a glimpse at our eco-friendly culture and the lifestyles of Carolinians who are passionate about living and eating in a green state of mind. As we all try to live more sustainably — to cut back on energy consumption and grab the freshest produce — it’s the people behind this movement who know how to do it best, and we want to connect you to them. At Carolina Fresh, we believe going green should be simple, and in our magazine, we strive to take the guesswork out of each season for you. Looking to find eco-friendly party goods for your summer barbecue? Turn to page 8 for our favorites.

Love strawberries? Get a behindthe-scene look at growing the fruit season by season through the eyes of Durham farmer Mark Waller on page 78. Don’t know what to cook tonight? Our mouthwatering recipes like decadent peach cobbler on page 82 and succulent barbecue chicken on page 39 will brighten your dinner table with the season’s freshest ingredients. The cherry tomato and mozzarella salad on page 42 is our favorite! Browse our first issue, and you’ll get more than tips: You’ll become closer to the land on which you live. Whether you’re in the vineyards of the Appalachian Mountains or at the low country fresh fish markets, you’ll find advice from your neighbors across the Carolinas. Sit back, read their stories and know this is only the beginning. While you’re making blueberry pieflavored ice cream (on page 43) for that summer soiree, we’re thinking about fall’s abundance of ripe, red apples and the best way to cook squash. We can’t wait to show you what’s next. See you this autumn for seconds!

Brittany Bass Terri Flagg Catherine Orr Maggie Bridgforth

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special thanks to Bill Cloud and terence oliver

COVER PHOTOGRAPH BY EMILY NYCUM

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five

ways to party green

By alySSa BaIlEy Staff Writer

T

his summer, let memories be the only things that last after your party. Sustainable party goods use recycled materials and decompose quickly to minimize waste. So whether it’s a barbecue, graduation party or get-together with neighbors, these five picks, from trash bags to baking cups, show the Earth you still care — even if all the world is there.

Don’t let any of this sweet treat go to waste with If You Care’s compostable baking cups.

PHOTOGRAPH BY BRITTANY BASS

8

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1

BaKinG CuPs

Keep cupcakes in place no matter what their size with greaseproof, unbleached baking cups. Available in mini, large or jumbo sizes, If You Care’s baking cups are gluten-free and allergen-free — safe for every guest. After using, compost the cups. The baking cups are available at Harris Teeter, Whole Foods, Ingles, Fresh Market or A Southern Season.

if You Care large Baking Cups One box contains 60, $1.99, Harris Teeter, www.ifyoucare.com

4

suGarCane Plates

Keep waste off the guest list with these must-haves.

2

3

trash BaGs

Keep trash bins both inside — and outdoors — covered. Seventh Generation offers trash bags in large and tall kitchen sizes. The large trash bag holds 33 gallons and comes from 80 percent recycled plastic. The tall kitchen size holds 13 gallons and comes from 55 percent recycled plastic. Seventh Generation products are available online or at Whole Foods, Harris Teeter, Food Lion and Target stores. seventh Generation

Waste nothing with large trash Bags, liquid-resistant, re33-gallon One pack contains 15, $5.49, newable plates. Ecowww.seventhgenerationstore.com Products’ 9-inch- and 6-inch-diameter plates are made from a fast-growing sugarcane plant and can be composted after use. The plates can be pur- eco-Products chased online at Office sugarcane Plates, 9-inch pack contains 50, Depot or www.eco- One $7.99, www.officedepot.com and productsstore.com. www.ecoproductsstore.com

CornstarCh utensils Don’t let disposable utensils hang around too long. World Centric’s forks, spoons and knives are made of cornstarch and designed to degrade in a commercial composting center after 120 days. A pack of 24 utensils, eight of each type, is available on www.amazon.com. Custom orders can be placed at World Centric’s website.

World Centric Cornstarch utensil set One pack contains 24, $9.14, www.amazon.com and www.worldcentric.org

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ColD BeVeraGe CuPs Fo r d r i n k s , E c o Products also offers 16-ounce cold beverage cups that are made from fully compostable corn plastic. The cups can be purchased online at Office Depot’s website or www.ecoproductsstore.com.

eco-Products Greenstripe Cold Cups, 16-ounce One pack contains 50, $7.79, www.officedepot.com and www.ecoproductsstore.com

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The Stigma Against

Vegetarian Men

By Hannah Taylor Staff Writer

T

he scenes are the same across the television media. It’s a Sunday night, and the man of the house sits down at the table to devour a long-awaited, juicy steak dinner. Commercials feature burly men sprinting in the streets to fast-food joints for succulent, mammoth burgers. Real men eat meat, right? With these images fresh in our collective conscious, it may come as no surprise that women are 60

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percent more likely to be vegetarians than men. Yet, a vegetarian diet boasts enormous benefits for one’s long-term health and the environment. So why aren’t more men ordering the tofu burger? According to a recent study by researcher Dr. Steven Heine of the University of British Columbia, people perceive vegetarians to be more virtuous than meat eaters. However, vegetarian men are viewed as less masculine than

those who eat meat — even by vegetarian women. Misconceptions of vegetarians permeate our culture, but the tides are turning as more people — including men — turn to the meatless lifestyle. Before you run to the kitchen to prep a chicken for Sunday’s meal, test your knowledge on the truth about vegetarianism. You might decide to pick up some fiber-packed, nutrient-rich veggies instead.

PHOTOGRAPH BY CAROLANN BELK 6/30/11 12:20 PM


What Do You Know? Men who don’t eat meat can get a bad rap. Here are common misconceptions and facts that might surprise you.

Vegetarians live longer. TruE. Studies are conclusive that vegetarian men and women tend to outlive meat eaters. Vegetarians naturally eat more fruits, vegetables and whole grains, which keep cholesterol low. Adding colorful foods from the farmers market like sweet bell peppers, decadent eggplant and seasonal berries to your plate also decreases the risk of cancer.

Vegetarians are protein deficient. FalSE. With care and conscious eating habits, vegetarians can easily consume adequate amounts of protein for optimal health. Incorporate protein-rich foods such as beans, whole grains, quinoa, nuts, milk and eggs to each meal to stay strong. (Speaking of strength, if you have any doubts that vegetarians can keep up, look no further than Carl Lewis, an Olympic athlete and vegan who set the world record for the 100-meter race in 1991.)

Carl Lewis

Joaquin Phoenix, Tobey Maguire, Russell Brand and Milo Ventimiglia are all proud vegetarian men. TruE. The only things sizzling on their grill are veggie burgers.

Russell Brand

Soybeans, found in soymilk and tofu, have 22 grams of protein per cup.

Consumption of soy, a versatile, high-protein bean found in foods like soymilk and tofu, can increase levels of estrogen in men. unProVEn.

Vegetarians are nicer. SoMEWHaT TruE. A study conducted by Boston University’s School of Medicine from 1987 to 1989 found that men with more fiber in their diets are less likely to be aggressive and domineering. Fiber prevents testosterone excess. While plant-based foods are rich in fiber, meat and other animal-based food contains none.

Soybeans contain plant forms of estrogen called phytoestrogens. While phytoestrogens have very weak estrogen-like activity, there is no scientific proof that soy has any feminizing effects. However, some studies show that daily consumption of soy has been proved to decrease sperm count and increase chances of male infertility. While soy has many health benefits as a low-calorie, highprotein source, limit eating soy to three or fewer times a week, and seek other sources of protein until definitive studies give a ruling on soy.

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summer ProDuCe GuiDe By MEGHan SHErrIll Staff Writer

From crisp peppers and cool cucumbers, to sweet corn and refreshing watermelon, produce is at its peak in the summertime. This seasonal fare can be enjoyed with little to no preparation, so be sure to pick the best available. Here is a guide to help you navigate the market and select, store and prepare the produce summer has to offer.

PHOTOGRAPH BY CATHERINE ORR

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watermelon

> Season Mid-June through August > Select Watermelons come in a variety of flesh colors including red, pink, yellow and orange, and in sizes ranging from oversized picnic melons to smaller icebox varieties. Seedless varieties have small, soft and edible white seeds. When selecting a melon, tap it and listen for a

corn

> Season Mid-June through mid-August

> Select Sweet corn can be yellow, white or bi-color, a combination of yellow and white. Look for ears fully encased in tight, fresh and bright-green husks. The silk should be moist, soft and pale gold. Pull open part of the husk to check that the kernels are bright, plump and milky.

cucumber

> Season June through mid-August; mid-September through mid-November > Select Look for firm cucumbers with rich green color. Make sure they are heavy for their size and rounded at the tips.

hollow thump. The rind should be green, smooth and round. > Store Store whole watermelons in a cool, dry place. Wrap cut pieces of melon in plastic and refrigerate for up to four days. > prepare Serve sliced into wedges or toss wedges into a salad for a cool crunch. Watermelon also works well in drinks such as margaritas and limeades. > Store Corn begins to lose its sweetness as soon as it is picked, so it is best eaten the day it is purchased. If you choose to refrigerate it for later use, leave the husk on to retain moisture, or place already husked ears in a perforated plastic bag. > prepare Shuck the corn by stripping off the husk, snapping off the stem and removing the silk. To remove the kernels, stand the cob upright on a cutting board and slide a knife down the length of it to free the kernels. > Store Refrigerate unwashed cucumbers in the crisper drawer in a plastic bag for up to a week. Wrap cut cucumbers tightly in plastic and use within a day or two. > Prepare Removing the seeds and unwaxed skins of cucumbers is a matter of personal preference.

bellpepper

> Season Mid-June through mid-August

> Select Look for firm peppers that are deeply colored and have taut, wrinkle-free skin. All bell peppers are green when young, changing to red and orange as they mature. The longer the pepper stays on the vine, the sweeter it is. > Store Store bell peppers in a paper bag in the crisper drawer of the refrigerator for up to five days. Raw bell peppers freeze well if cut and stored in a plastic bag. > prepare Remove the stem and core by cutting a circle around the stem and tearing it out. Cut pepper in half, shake out remaining seeds and remove the white ribs with a paring knife. Add peppers to pizzas, salads, pasta, stir-fries and sandwiches.

eggplant

> Season Mid-June through mid-August

> Select Eggplants come in an array of colors, including shades of purple, green and white. Some may be striped, and size and shape can vary quite a bit. An eggplant should be heavy for its size and glossy with taut skin. The skin should give slightly when pressed gently. Choose small- to medium-sized fruit for fewer seeds and firmer texture. The fruit should have a green cap and a portion of stem. > Store Store whole eggplant in a cool, dry place and consume within a few days of purchase. > Prepare To prepare eggplant, trim off the green cap. Peel larger eggplants and those with thicker skins, and cut them according to recipe specifications. Rinse sliced eggplant and sprinkle with salt. Allow the slices to drain in a colander for around 30 minutes to preserve texture and reduce oil absorption.

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Celery Peaches Strawberries Apples Blueberries Nectarines Bell Peppers Spinach Cherries Kale Potatoes Imported Grapes

a look at

the

dirty dozen

Studies show that these 12 foods are worth the extra penny to buy organic. BY EVAN BELL Staff Writer/Designer In conventionally grown food, chemical pesticides are used to prevent disease and pests from contaminating crops. Residue from these pesticides can actually remain on the skin of crops even while they sit on shelves in the grocery store. The Environmental Working Group, a non-profit located in Wash-

ington, D.C., has developed a guide based on data for pesticide residue on produce conducted by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The EWC lists 12 foods that are worth the higher price to buy organic because this “dirty dozen� have a higher rate of pesticide residue that remains on their skin.

The organic versions of these foods are grown without exposure to synthetic chemical pesticides. This difference in production lowers your risk of ingesting such chemicals. The absence of chemicals makes the organic versions of these foods much healthier, making the extra penny worth it.

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Cool down from the

summer heat with

3

refreshing smoothies

BY MEGAN GASSAWAY Staff Writer

S

moothies provide a refreshing way to enjoy the abundance of tart, sweet and juicy fruits that accompany summer’s rising temperatures. Smoothies are easy to make and require less than 5 minutes of preparation time. I’ve made smoothies for summer gatherings with friends and also as a quick breakfast on my way to work. If you make too much, simply store the smoothie in the refrigerator and save it for a later time. Smoothies provide an alternative way to enjoy the bounty of fresh summer fruits, while blending distinct flavors into one delicious snack. Whether you’re buying fruit from the local farmers market or stopping by the chain grocery store around the corner, you can’t go wrong with these recipes. If you’re feeling more adventurous, experiment with your own cravings or ask your local farmer what he suggests. Either way, you will find yourself refreshed and ready to take on all that summertime has to offer.

PHOTOGRAPHS BY MAGGIE BRIDGFORTH

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1

blueberry smoothie

PREP TIME 3 minutes SERVING SIZE 2 glasses 1 cup of fresh blueberries 7 ounces of vanilla yogurt 1 tablespoon lemon juice 2 tablespoons pulp-free orange juice 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract 1/2 cup ice

2

In a blender, put the blueberries, yogurt, lemon juice, orange juice, vanilla extract and ice. Blend on full power for 30 seconds. Serve fresh with an orange slice.

strawberryblackberry smoothie

PREP TIME 2 minutes SERVING SIZE 2 glasses 2 scoops of vanilla ice cream 1 1/2 cups of frozen blackberries (Freeze blackberries at least a day before you want to make these smoothies) 1/2 cup of strawberries 1 cup milk (low fat) 1/2 teaspoon lime juice In a blender, pour ice cream, blackberries, strawberries, milk and lime juice. Blend on full power for 25 seconds or until desired thickness. Serve with fresh strawberries on the side.

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3

tart limeraspberry smoothie

PREP TIME 5 minutes SERVING SIZE 2 glasses 1/2 cup of sliced limes (peel the skin off the limes before slicing) 3/4 cup of low-fat or skim milk 1 cup lime sherbet (can be light or low-fat) 1/2 cup raspberries 2 cups ice In a blender, pour sliced limes, milk, sherbet, raspberries and ice. Blend on full power for 30 seconds or until desired thickness. Serve with a slice of lime and enjoy.

Frozen Fruits: How to freeze your favorite berries Freeze raspberries and blackberries to preserve them for the winter when these fruits are hard to come by at the local market. Frozen fruits add texture to smoothies and are useful in cooking dishes like cobbler or muffins.

DIRECTIONS:

Clean the berries and dry them

Spread berries on a tray covered in wax paper (make only one layer of berries) Place the tray in the freezer and wait overnight

The next day, put the berries in a Ziploc freezer bag Remove as much air from the bag as possible and seal Store in the freezer until you want to use the berries

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Fiveto Buy at Weaver Street Market

Each month, we pick out must-haves to try, buy and share from sustainable businesses across the Carolinas. This month, we checked out a community-run grocery near Chapel Hill.

By STEPHanIE kElly Staff Writer Weaver Street Market, a co-op grocery store with three locations in the Chapel Hill area, functions on freshness. The Carrboro store, located at 101 East Weaver St., buzzes 18 Carolina Fresh Summer 2011

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with energy, especially around mealtimes when patrons flock in droves to enjoy freshly and locally prepared food from the hot food bar, salad bar, coffee bar and bakery. The expansive front lawn — on a nice day, crowded with performing musicians, students,

families and professionals on their lunch breaks — conveys the focus of the store behind it: Its mission is to provide a vibrant, sustainable commercial center for the community. Here are five items we couldn’t leave the store without. PHOTOGRAPH BY SHARON PRUIT

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1 2 3 4 5

Counter Culture Coffee

The market’s selection of locally roasted beans in 24 aromatic varieties from around the world is a coffee lover’s dream. Counter Culture Coffee is committed to sustainability and acquiring its beans directly from farmers in Asia, the Pacific, Africa and the Americas. Pick up a 12-ounce bag for about $12, or fill your own for around $13 per pound.

organic, well-priced produce

Impossible to ignore, locally grown fruits and vegetables seem to overflow from every corner of the produce section. We couldn’t pass up a container of strawberries or the chance to support local farmers in the name of a juicy and delicious afternoon snack. At about $4.50 per carton, why not?

Busy Bee apiaries Honey

This apiary stocks Weaver Street Market’s shelves with glass jars of sweet, fresh honey in 22-ounce ($7.29) and 44-ounce ($12.49) varieties.

Maple View Farm Milk

Compared with run-of-the-mill plastic jugs, the glass bottles from this local farm seem so much more appealing. As an added bonus, this milk is delivered to the store daily from right down the road in Hillsborough. Prices tend to run about 10 cents higher than those of typical grocery store brands, but a small reimbursement is offered for returning the glass bottles.

WR Chocolatier Truffles

Affordable truffles from this Raleigh chocolate shop make a delicious gift or a decadent treat.The truffles come in a variety of flavors, such as mocha, salted caramel, raspberry and peanut butter. You can buy a box of six for $11. Carolina Fresh Summer 2011 19

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We provide the space, tools and instruction.

You gather, taste and learn.

Browse our different cooking classes and reserve your seat online today! www.mavericksouthernkitchens.com/charlestoncooks Upcoming Spring and Summer Classes: Taste of the Lowcountry • Sunshine and Seafood • Greek Picnic Food and Wine Pairing • Pasta Workshop • and more online! 194 East Bay St., Charleston, SC 29401 843.722.1212

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Sustainable

Southern Fare By EMIly nyCuM Staff Writer

Charleston-based chef Aaron Lemieux of 39 Rue de Jean shares one of his favorite summer dishes and why he chooses to stick with local farmers and fishers.

PHOTOGRAPHS BY EMILY NYCUM

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Don’t have triggerfish? Chef Lemieux says almost any fish works well with the recipe.

Aaron Lemieux

W

hen asked about the importance of using local ingredients, Aaron Lemieux’s answer is simple, especially when it comes to seafood. “If you aren’t aware of your surroundings, you can cause damage to our ecosystem by simply overusing a particular type of species,” he says. As the executive chef of 39 Rue de Jean in Charleston, S.C., Lemieux makes sure the French restaurant has a positive impact on the environment by using quality, local ingredients. This commitment has led to a gold-level partnership with the Sustainable Seafood Initiative, a program that promotes the use of local and sustainable seafood in South Carolina restaurants. “I use as many local fisherman and farm-raised fish as possible,” says Lemieux. “They actually bring us the fish as you can get,” he says, “still swimming.” Lemieux also gets the freshest produce from local farmers who keep him up-to-date on the seasons’ bounty. By utilizing these local ingredients, Lemieux says his restaurant also has very little waste. Lemieux’s triggerfish recipe, one of his personal favorites from the Charleston area, is a great summer dish, highlighting the season’s fresh heirloom tomatoes and sweet Vidalia onions.

pan-seared local triggerfish PREP TIME SERVING SIZE

30 minutes 4 people

2 large Vidalia onions (one diced, the other sliced into strips) 2 heirloom tomatoes, chopped into 1/4-inch chunks 1/4 cup minced shallots 1/4 cup minced garlic 1 cup Carolina Gold Rice 3 ounces blended oil (preferably 10 percent olive oil, 90 percent soy bean oil) 4 pieces of cleaned triggerfish (4-6 ounces each) 3 1/2 cups water salt and pepper to taste PHOTOGRAPHS BY EMILY NYCUM

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how to prepare Dice one of the onions. Then, heat 1 ounce of the oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and cook lightly until it becomes translucent. Add the rice. Using a wooden spoon, coat rice with the onions. Add the water, reserving 1/2 cup for later use, and increase the heat to medium-high. Once the water is boiling, reduce the heat to very low and cover the pan for 20 minutes.

In a small saucepan, cook garlic and shallots until the garlic is golden in color and add the tomatoes. Season with salt and pepper. Add 2 cups of water and cook down until only 1 cup remains. Blend the tomato reduction in a food processor or blender. Strain reduction using a fine mesh strainer, but save the liquid as the tomato reduction sauce.

Heat a saucepan with 1 ounce of oil on high heat. Season triggerfish on each side with salt and pepper. Once the oil is smoking, add the fish one piece at a time and reduce the heat to medium-high. Cook on each side for 2-3 minutes. Plate the dish by placing the fish on top of the tomato reduction sauce, rice and charred onions.

Slice the other onion into strips and coat with 1 ounce of the oil. Grill on low heat until the onions have a nice golden brown color. If you do not have a grill, cooking in a large skillet over medium-high heat will work as well.

To learn more about 39 Rue de Jean, visit their website at www.39ruedejean.com or call 843.722.8881.

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&

Fruit Veggie Wash BY LANEY TIPTON Staff Writer

U

nless you grow your own produce, odds are you don’t know where it came from or what chemicals were used to grow it. Whenever you buy produce, you should wash it carefully to remove any harmful pesticides or other chemicals used during the growing process. Using a fruit and vegetable wash helps rid your vegetables of these harmful chemicals so that you can get the most out of your produce. Store-bought washes can cost $6 a bottle. This do-it-yourself mixture is just as effective for cleaning and can save you money. Although some ingredients are costly, you can use them to make several batches of homemade veggie wash to get the most bang for your buck. You might have most of the ingredients lying around in your kitchen already! For this recipe, you’ll need to buy some grapefruit seed extract, which can be found at health food stores like GNC and Whole Foods for $6. This wash works well in a spray bottle, available for $2 at local drug stores. (Source: www.planetgreen.com)

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Photograph By Frank Hermers

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Keep Clean and Save Green In 3 Simple Steps What You’ll Need 1 16-ounce spray bottle 1 tablespoon lemon juice (organic recommended) 10 drops grapefruit seed extract 2 tablespoons baking soda 1 cup filtered or bottled water 3/4 cup white vinegar

1

MAKE THE BASE

2

In the spray bottle, mix together the lemon juice, grapefruit seed extract, baking soda and water.

The solution can be stored in the spray bottle in a cool, dry place for up to two weeks.

Mix the Basics

Once the solution is mixed well, add the vinegar slowly. Pouring it in too quickly can create a volcano effect, causing the mixture to spew all over the kitchen.

This mixture is not intended for use with mushrooms because they absorb liquid.

3

Spray and Rinse

When you’re ready to wash your produce, spray the mixture on your fruits and vegetables and let them sit for five to 10 minutes. Rinse well and you’re ready to go. PHOTOGRAPHS BY TERRI FLAGG

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This issue’s

Fresh PICKS

Farmers markets to visit for locally grown produce

PHOTOGRAPH BY DEBBIE SCHIEL

By CHrISTIE ray HarrISon Staff Writer/Designer

2

North Carolina Our selection of farmers markets to check out this season in the Tar Heel State 1

French Broad Food Co-op tailgate Market all-orGaniC 76 Biltmore Ave. Asheville, N.C. 28801 Saturday 8 a.m. - 2 p.m. Wednesday 2 - 6:30 p.m. (Opens May 5)

Cobblestone Farmers Market Corner of Third St. and Patterson Ave. Winston-Salem, N.C. 27101

3

raleigh Downtown Farmers Market City Plaza Fayetteville St. Raleigh, N.C. 27601 Wednesday 10 a.m. - 2 p.m. (Open April 27 - Oct. 26)

Tuesday 10 a.m. - 1 p.m. (Open April - Nov.) Carrboro Farmers Market 301 W Main St. Carrboro, N.C. 27510 Saturday 7 a.m. - noon Wednesday 3:30 - 6:30 p.m. (Open year round)

5

Downtown Waterfront Market Mariner’s Wharf Park Water St. Elizabeth City, N.C. 27909 Saturday 9 a.m. - 1 p.m. (Opens May 7)

5

2 3 1

4

4

See our summer produce guide (page 12) for more on this season’s fresh picks.

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South Carolina

Check out “Market Tips” on page 33 before you visit your local farmers market.

A few farmers markets worth visiting this season in the Palmetto State 1 1

2

Greenville State Farmers Market 1354 Rutherford Rd. Greenville, S.C. 29609

3

4

Monday - Saturday 8 a.m. - 6 p.m. (Open year round) 2

Hub City Farmers Market 298 Magnolia St. Spartanburg, S.C. 29306

5

Saturday 8 a.m. - noon (Open May 14 - Nov. 12) Wednesday noon - 2 p.m. (Open June 1 - Sept. 28) 3

Pee Dee State Farmers Market 2513 W. Lucas St. Florence, S.C. 29501 Monday - Saturday 8 a.m. - 6 p.m. (Open year round)

4

Organic Farmers Market ALL-ORGANIC Gallery on 8th 714 Eighth Ave. N. Myrtle Beach, S.C. 29577 Wednesday 3 - 7 p.m. (Open year round)

5

Charleston Farmers Market Marion Square Charleston, S.C. 29403 Saturday 8 a.m. - 2 p.m. (Open April 9 – Dec. 18)

More Farmers Markets in Your Area North Carolina Visit www.ncfarmfresh.com for a directory of North Carolina’s farmers markets, pick-your-own farms and roadside markets.

South Carolina Check out the South Carolina Department of Agriculture’s website at www.agriculture. sc.gov for a complete listing of regional and community-based farmers markets.

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grass-fed By Alyssa Bailey Staff Writer

From the farm to the grocery store, how organic foods earn their label.

W

hen Sasha Talley, a senior at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, shops at Weaver Street Market, she looks at labels. She doesn’t consider herself an avid organic shopper, but she knows the wording on the label is the difference between life and death for others. “My girlfriend is really pro-organic,” Talley explains. “She’s almost deathly allergic to pesticides.” Talley buys biodynamic strawberries for her girlfriend, a label she doesn’t hesitate to explain. “It’s a way of processing and trying to cut down on the amount of pesticides that are put into cultivating strawberries,” she says. “They actually don’t use any pesticides at all.” Shown a United States Department of Agriculture organic shield, however, Talley wavers. The student sees organic foods as a healthier way of

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living, but the program that regulates them, the National inspected and certified by an accredited agent of the Organic Program, is a mystery to her. She doesn’t know USDA. its history, but she does know the difference the program In contrast, the natural program is overseen by a and food have made on her life since she started buying different USDA agency, the Food Safety Inspection the products two years ago: “I see it as a positive change Service, and is based on affidavit documents provided by in going organic.” the producer, says Kim. To sell the products Talley shops for — those with a The National Organic Program itself began in October USDA organic label — farmers must meet the standards 2002, 12 years after it was created by the Organic Foods set by the National Organic Program. Each year, farmers Production Act of 1990. Its organic agricultural standards must submit an application to USDAapply specifically to crop production, livestock “Consumers accredited inspectors and have their farm production and product handling. confuse organic inspected by an agent. Every five years, the National List, a and natural The story behind USDA-organic labeled portion of regulations that specify what food — from its production to its certification substances can and can’t be used in organic products,” — is anything but simple. “Farmers need to production and handling, is amended. “When says Barbara know a lot about soils and a lot about what that comes around, it’s time for the public to Haumann. kinds of plants to grow and how to keep those submit comments to petition whether they plants healthy,” says Fred Broadwell of the Carolina Farm want ... the substances to stay on the list,” Kim says. Stewardship Association, an advocacy group for local and The list is then evaluated by the National Organic organic farmers in the Carolinas based in Pittsboro, N.C. Program and the National Organic Standards Board, a “You can’t just plant seeds and spray chemicals.” 15-member independent advisory board that includes people from across the organic industry: handlers, What is organic? farmers, scientists, environmentalists, vendors, certifiers Organic and natural products may be frequent sights and consumers. “We work with them in making sure they in stores, but the regulatory requirements for their labeling evaluate materials and help us to do the research behind are very different. “Consumers confuse organic and it,” Kim says. natural products,” says Barbara Haumann, a senior writer and editor at the Organic Trade Association, a national Inside the process organization that advocates for the organic industry. The The National Organic Program has separate standards two foods in reality are regulated by two different USDA for each segment in the organic food supply chain: crop agencies, with organic foods held to tighter standards. production, livestock production and product handling. “Organic is a regulatory program,” explains Soo Crop production is the growing of crops. Standards Kim, a public relations representative from the USDA’s focus on the field and weed and pest management. “For Agricultural Marketing Service. Producers have to meet instance,” Kim explains, “they would include things like USDA production and handling standards and must be making sure that there are physical barriers to avoid

PHOTOGRAPH BY JOHN MOORE

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“To assure consumers’ foods have met regulations, the USDA has authorized certifiers to review farm operations annually.” PHOTOGRAPH BY DAVID DI BIASE

contaminates from non-organic fields.” Broadwell emphasizes the importance of building up healthy soil. “Organic agriculture is about working natural systems to grow healthy food,” he says. The Carolina Farm Stewardship Association offers training to help farmers meet production regulations. Specific standards for organic livestock production were released in February 2010. “We issued access to pasture regulations, identifying for the first time the livestock handling and production practices for organic operations,” Kim says. “The living practices haven’t changed much, but it was really specifying how much of a diet should be forage versus coming from other sources like grains.” Product handling includes the picking, processing and packaging of food before it reaches the vendor. National Organic Program standards require facilities to avoid any presence of contaminants or “anything that can inhibit the organic process,” Kim explains. A food with an organic label must be produced following the

regulations for both the production and handling.

The role of a certifier To assure consumers’ foods have met regulations, the USDA has authorized certifiers to review farm operations annually. The USDA relies on certifiers “to go out in the fields and evaluate what we call organic system plans that make sure all the processes are in place,” Kim says. Certifiers must reapply for National Organic Program accreditation annually, says Kyle Stephens, program director of Clemson University’s organic certification program in its department of plant industry. “We’re inspected [by the USDA] on-site ... two times every five years, and it’s a very intense process for us.” This USDA accreditation allows Clemson to certify the processes used by its clients as meeting the requirements of the National Organic Program. The ultimate goal of the National Organic Program is to certify the organic practices and products of

clients from small farmers to bigger companies such as Stonyfield Farm, an organic yogurt company. There are 55 domestic certifiers. “It’s not bound by state lines,” Stephens says. Clemson’s clients, for instance, span from North and South Carolina to Georgia. Each year, the Clemson program receives about 100 renewal applications and 15 to 20 new applications, Stephens says. “All we really do is document the applicants’ ability to comply with the standards,” he says. “We just audit the records, review their application, determine compliance with the National Organic Program’s standards and then make a decision on whether they can be certified or not.”

The application There are two steps to the application process before a farmer can be certified: a written application and an on-site inspection. “The whole process starts when the grower or producer submits an application to my office,” Stephens explains. “We review the application for completeness and compliance

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with the standards and then once that has been done, we send it out to an inspector, and the inspector will schedule an inspection. “He’ll actually go to the producer’s location, and he will inspect their operation in regards to their application. So any claims they make, things they say they’re doing, he’s going to look at. He’s going to look at every part of their operation, so that no stone is left unturned.” The standards are the same regardless of the producer’s size. Bigger companies “have to open up their records, open up their operations, and we do the same inspection,” Stephens says. “It just may take longer. There are more things to look at in a big operation.” The Carolina Farm Stewardship Association’s training courses specifically target proper documentation. “Farms need to do adequate record keeping, and farms need to have a plan in place that really lays out how they will grow food on their farm organically,” Broadwell says. “How will they handle fertility issues and keep the soil rich and fertile?” On the application, no one factor is weighed more heavily than another. “We have very specific criteria or a set of regulations in place,” Kim says. “We just have to make sure they can adhere to that.” Farmers are evaluated against standards for all steps of production. For example, when evaluating a farmer for crop production, farmer logs must be provided for how they treat plants against pests. For farmers that fail to meet all the regulations, a certifier will send the report to the USDA to examine the noncompliance. “The USDA has determined that there are some offenses that are not correctable,” Stephens explains. If a farmer sprays a prohibited substance on his farm, for example, the farmer could be issued an immediate suspension. If the action is willful or done in deliberation, certification can be suspended or revoked immediately.

“There are things that producers will do, maybe they made a mistake or something happened,” Stephens says. “We review it according to the standards and also incorporate conversation with the National Organic Program in Washington to determine if that operation needs to be suspended or if there’s a way to correct that so we can move forward.” When a violation is referred, the USDA reviews the plans the producer

“He’s going to look at every part of their operation, so that no stone is left unturned,” says Kyle Stephens. has in place with the certifier. In the case of willful violations, the USDA might collaborate and investigate farm products, testing samples for prohibited ingredients from the National List. The USDA determines the severity of the case, whether “an operation should be issued civil penalties or something that’s a little bit more severe,” Kim says. International producers are also held to USDA standards for their products to be sold as organic in the U.S. The USDA has equivalency arrangements with countries such as Canada, where “having evaluated each other’s standards, we determined if a product is labeled as organic in Canada, it can also be sold as organic in the U.S.” Kim says. “We have separate agreements in place where we accredit a country so that they can certify operations that are occurring in their country to the USDA standards. If it’s USDA organic, no matter what country, it has to meet the same standards.”

Organic ahead As the organic program nears its 10-year anniversary, the industry remains on the verge of change. For the National Organic Program, the goal is to maintain consumer confidence. “We’re still continuing on a path of making sure we’re, first of all, narrowly interpreting

the standards that we have right now and just continuing to make sure we enforce the standards so consumers can trust us when they see something labeled as organic,” Kim says. This trust may lead to increased enforcement responsibilities for certifiers, Stephens says. “USDA has changed their role,” he explains. “Now they’re moving into the age of enforcement where they’re actually sending out inspectors to sample and analyze samples to determine compliance.” Certifiers would work with the USDA to dole out penalties after samples are analyzed. Outside of the National Organic Program, industry groups such as the Organic Trade Association and Carolina Farm Stewardship Association see advocacy playing a bigger role in their platforms. “We need to affect policy, advocate for government support and for regulation that is effective,” Broadwell says. The Carolina Farm Stewardship Association’s primary purpose is to defend the organic label. “There’s a constant problem with businesses and farms trying to dilute the standards so it’ll be easier to become organic,” Broadwell explains, “and we’re trying to keep the standards so that it is authentic and true.” The Organic Trade Association shares this mission and has seen some success with its work with Congress. The Healthy, HungerFree Kids Act passed last year is one example, Barbara Haumann says, where an Organic Trade Association pilot program to incorporate organic offerings in schools’ nutrition programs was funded. “This is a program we came up with. We went to different Congress folks who said ‘Sure, we’ll support that,’ and they actually got it in the legislation.” The Organic Trade Association’s greater mission is to inform the consumer of the benefits of organic food and the mechanisms behind it. “There are segments out there who believe that organic is for the elite,

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that it’s very pricey, that it’s lowyield, that it can’t save the world, that it’s going to take up too much land,” Haumann says. She says research shows otherwise. “Whenever you buy an organic product, doesn’t matter whether it’s food or nonfood, those organic ingredients have been raised using practices that are good for the earth.” Practices that are best seen in action, Broadwell believes.

Once a 1970s network for farmers, the Carolina Farm Stewardship Association seeks to get consumers in on the conversation through its arrangement of farm visits. “ ‘Organic farm’ does not mean it’s a teeny-tiny farm that is only as big as a postage stamp,” Broadwell says. “It doesn’t mean that the farmer is buying lots of expensive organic fertilizers to replace chemical fertilizers. You really need to go onto a farm and talk to farmers and

see what’s going on.” Back at Weaver Street Market, Talley heads for the cashier. She doesn’t know the specifics of the USDA program, but as she clutches her basket filled with USDA organic products, she knows the ends to the program’s means. To her, organic is more than a label. “It’s a way of life and ... a way to cook what you need for your body,” she says. “It’s changed my life for the better.”

Label Basics Understand how organic a product is by its label. Labels indicate the percentage of organic ingredients a food has. The higher the organic content, the more the National Organic Program limits the amount of nonagricultural substances — mineral or bacteria cultures or ingredients such as citric acid — that can be in the product. All nonagricultural substances must be on the USDA’s approved National List of products. Water and salt do not total into the percentage of organically produced ingredients in foods.

100% organic organic made with organic ingredients less than 70% organic ingredients

100% organic Use of USDA Organic Seal is optional

organic (95% or more Organic Ingredients) Use of USDA Organic Seal is optional

Made with organic Ingredients (At least 70% Organic Ingredidents)

less than 70% organic Ingredients (Organic Ingredients denoted in ingredient list, but the term “organic” cannot be used on overall packaging) Source: USDA.gov

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} market tips By Courtney Coats Staff Writer/Designer Diane Daniel, journalist, travel blogger and author of Farm Fresh North Carolina, gives us her tips for getting the most­—and best—out of your local farmers market.

1. For the most choice, go early. Specialty goods, such as in-season produce, sell out quickly. Daniel suggests that you be at the market five minutes before it opens. 2. If you want a bargain, go late. At the end of the day, farmers may offer multiples for less money.

3. Sign up for market newsletters. Typically sent out a couple of days before the market, these email newsletters will include information on what will be available that week as well as information about cooking demonstrations and food tastings.

4. Pack accordingly. Remember to bring enough canvas bags for shopping and small bills so farmers do not have to make a lot of change. 5. If you don’t know what something is, just ask. Farmers will be happy to give information on how to use their products as well as cooking tips.

6. If buying organic is important to you, ask the individual farmer or market manager. Most people seem to think that all products at farmers markets are certified organic or organically grown; this is not the case unless the farmer specifically says so.

}

Farm Fresh North Carolina provides information on the best Carolina farms, farmers markets, farm stands, apple orchards, chooseand-cut Christmas trees, vineyards and wineries, and more.

PHOTOGRAPH BY JOHN TORNOW

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Cloth vs. Disposable:

Giving your baby a

Sustainable diaper

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PHOTOGRAPH BY DEAN J. KOEPFLER

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Disposable diapers are costly and can be brutal on the environment. One mother decided to create a solution for this problem.

By Laney Tipton Staff Writer

L

eah Carter cares about what goes on her baby’s bottom. She cares so much, in fact, that she started a business that caters to other concerned moms. In 2002, Leah founded Better for Babies Inc., a family company that specializes in sustainable and organic baby products ­— primarily in cloth diaper alternatives. Since then, Better for Babies has continued to grow as more families make the transition to an environmentally friendly lifestyle.

What is Better for Babies INC.? Carter says she was living with her family in the United Kingdom, pursuing graduate studies in philosophy at the University of Wales, when she got the idea for a cloth diaper business. Although she and her husband, Zac, had already been using cloth diapers on their son, Gabriel, she says they had no idea how widely the diapers were used until spending time in Wales. “While living abroad we discovered the diversity of choices and widespread support for cloth diapers in the U.K.,” Leah says. “We had used cloth on our son since birth but only when we arrived in Wales did we discover that the industry had so much more

potential.” Because cloth diapers were such a hit overseas, Leah decided the diapers might do just as well in the U.S. when the family moved back to Georgia. When Zac was diagnosed with a degenerative neurological illness, he and Leah decided to make Better for Babies the family business. That way, Leah could stay at home with Zac and the children while running operations. The business was successful. Leah says that last year, Better for Babies was named as one of the University of Georgia’s fastest growing alum-owned businesses. “As awareness of cloth diapering and natural fibers grows, so does our industry,” Leah says. Leah says that Better for Babies considers it part of its quest to make the world more comfy, less wasteful and better for babies.

What are Little Beetles? One of Better for Babies’ main initiatives is the Little-to-Big Beetle, their line of organic cloth diapers. Soft, reusable and long-lasting, Better for Babies’ Little Beetles make cloth diapers a sensible alternative to disposable ones. Leah says the motivation behind Better for Babies started out more like a concerned parent than a big business venture. Because they are parents themselves, Zac and Leah

Little Beetle cloth diapers come in a variety of colors. PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF LEAH CARTER

always try to keep in mind what products will be the best for children, along with functionality and environmental awareness. “Zac and I pay a lot of attention to the health and environmental aspects of what we eat and what we wear,” Leah says in a press release. “When it came time to buy cloth diapers and other baby products, we couldn’t find exactly what we wanted, so we got out the sewing machine and drafting paper so we could make them ourselves.” The couple came up with a resizable organic cloth diaper they call their Little Beetle. The name and design for the diaper are based on the ladybug, one of the Carter family’s favorite creatures. “Zac and I designed the diaper with an inside soaker which was inspired by the ladybug,” Leah says. “Ladybugs have elytra, which clever-

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“We were skeptical at first because they are a little bit different from the norm, but they really are fantastic and much better for our boys and the environment,” says Kevin Huskins.

ly protects the body and under wings from moisture, just like our Little Beetle diapers.” Kevin Huskins, father of three, says that he and his wife started using cloth diapers with their second child but wishes they had started sooner. “Cloth diapers have been an amazing find in my family,” Kevin says. “My wife and I received some as a baby gift for our second little boy. We were skeptical at first because they are a little bit different from the norm, but they really are fantastic and much better for our boys and the environment.”

Is cloth really better? There are pros and cons to both cloth and disposable diapers, but

Leah says with the Little Beetle, the pros more than outweigh the cons. Cloth diapers are better for your baby, and they also feel better. “Using natural fibers in place of synthetics or chemicals is definitely healthy for a baby’s skin,” Leah says. “Fully breathable and amazingly soft, I can’t imagine that it is anything but luxuriously comfortable.” The materials used for the diapers are all natural fibers, helping to make the diapers absorbent. “Cotton absorbs moisture, pulling it away from your baby’s skin,” Leah says. “An organic wool cover takes in the moisture and prevents it from getting onto the clothes.” Cloth diapers need to be changed a little more frequently than disposable diapers. Leah says children who wear them typically experience fewer rashes throughout their diapering years and potty train more quickly. Using cloth diapers can also help parents save money. Though the cloth diapers themselves come at a pretty high price tag — Little Beetles run about $30 per diaper — the longterm benefits save parents hundreds of dollars. (See our cost analysis on the right.) “Buying organics and reusables can be pricey at first,” Leah says. “But it’s a long term investment that more than pays for itself in time.” Leah says that if you are planning to use cloth diapers full time, 18 to 24 diapers will limit doing laundry to two or three times a week for newborns. As a child gets older, less are needed. The idea of washing cloth diapers can be a little intimidating for some parents, but Leah says the cleaning process is really easy. “When the diaper comes off your child, shake any solids into the toilet — no need to rinse,” Leah says. “Then toss them in a diaper pail until time to wash. Empty the pail into the washing machine, run a cold rinse, then a hot Leah’s daughter, Ella, at age 1, in a Little Beetle cloth diaper.

PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF LEAH CARTER

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wash with a minimal amount of detergent. Too much soap causes a buildup. Toss them in a dryer or line dry, and that’s it.” The Little Beetle diapers are resizable, so they grow as your baby does. “Our Little-to-Big diapers are designed to fit from birth through potty learning,” Leah says. The diapers come with a snap arrangement for closing, making them easy to choose the snap size that best fits your baby. Donna Sink, who recently had her second child with husband, Jeremy, says her family has seen firsthand the financial benefits of using cloth diapers. “We made the decision to use cloth diapers before our first child, David, was born,” Donna says. “To help with the cost at first, I made sure to ask for some in my baby shower registry. We also figured out how much money we were saving on cloth diapers and set that money aside. We’ve used it for fun family things, like little trips and a play set for the kids.” Donna says the savings are continuing to build up. “We just had a little girl, Laura, and she’s already using the cloth diapers,” Donna says. “It’s just great because they are resizable, so they fit through the diapering stage, and the ones we got to use with David still look and function like new.” Leah and Better for Babies make a switch to cloth diapers really tempting. While it may be a little different than what people are used to, there are many benefits to switching to cloth. That late-night trip to the grocery store for more diapers could be a thing of the past. “I really don’t know of anyone who says they are sorry they tried cloth diapering. It’s a change for the better,” Leah says.

Baby’s First Diaper In the long run, cloth diapers end up saving families money. This displays the breakdown of disposable and cloth diaper costs over a period of two and a half years with one child.

Total Expense

Total Diaper Expense

Total Laundering Expense

Approximate Cost of One Cloth Diaper

Total Cost Per Laundry Cycle

Cost of Electricity Per Washer Cycle

Total Expense

Total Cost of Diapers Per Week

Number of Weeks over 2.5 Years

Diaper Cost Per Change

Diaper Changes Needed Per Week

Recommended Number of Diapers Needed

Number of Cycles over 2.5 years

Cost of Electricity Per Dryer Cycle

Cost of Water Per Washer Cycle

Cost of Detergent Per Washer Cycle

Source: www.verybaby.com/cms-display/dollars.html

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Healthier Planet. Healthier You. A healthy cookie that doesn’t taste like cardboard. Organic Bakies helps you enjoy being healthy.

www.organicbakies.com

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Located in Durham, NC For more information email us at info@organicbakies.com or call 919.724.6150

6/30/11 1:01 PM


endless

SuMMEr

You’re invited! Join a family, a foodie and us as we explore the flavors of the season with a party menu you won’t forget. By STEPHanIE kElly Staff Writer

PHOTOGRAPHS BY TERRI FLAGG

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S

ummer: The days get longer, the nights get warmer and staying inside feels criminal. With beautiful weather comes beautiful food, so take advantage of both by hosting an outdoor dinner for your family or friends. We asked Durham, N.C., native and selfproclaimed foodie Sarah Ross to help us create a menu that would let our readers share the freshest, most delicious ingredients of the season with their loved ones. “I write a food blog, My Chocolate Therapy, so it’s in my nature to make food and immediately want to share it with the people in my life,” Ross says. “This summer party menu is a great way to bring together friends, family and flavor.”

THE SAUCE Just about everyone seems to have an opinion on how to make barbecue right in the Carolinas. “My brother and I have really different taste in barbecue sauce,” Ross says. “He and I used to debate over it all the time. But then one day, my mom brought home Sweet Baby Ray’s, and we finally agreed.” Ross shared this barbecue sauce recipe with us, which showcases the same sweet, tangy flavors she and her brother love in Sweet Baby Ray’s but without the high-fructose corn syrup. “I figured that if my brother and I could agree on it, it was sure to be a hit at any summer party I hosted,“ Ross says. “And so far, I’ve been right. Plus, this version is better for you.”

“Because the barbecue sauce is pretty sweet, I like to add some kick to the main course at a party, just to cover all my bases in terms of the likes and dislikes of my guests,” Ross says.

organic barbecue sauce PREP TIME 15 minutes YIELD 30 ounces 1/4 cup honey 2 organic lemons’ juice 2 tablespoons raw apple cider vinegar 1 24-ounce bottle of organic ketchup 2 tablespoons mustard 1/2 teaspoon onion powder 3 tablespoons tamari (fermented soy sauce) 1/2 teaspoon paprika In a medium bowl, mix all ingredients together until smooth. Source: www.kellythekitchenkop.com

THE MEAT “Because the barbecue sauce is pretty sweet, I like to add some kick to the main course at a party, just to cover all my bases in terms of the likes and dislikes of my guests,” Ross says. She has discovered that pairing barbecued grilled chicken with organic spicy chicken sausages from Trader Joe’s is a fun and easy way to vary the flavor of what she serves. “The sausages are delicious and so much better for you than traditional kinds, which often have a lot of fat and sodium,” Ross says. “You can’t go wrong with this combo.”

“This recipe is so easy. Even the pickiest eaters seem to love barbecue, and the sausages are perfect for my more adventurous guests.” –Renee Kelly, 41, Charlotte, N.C. Renee served this meal to her family for an outdoor dinner party. She has been looking for a way to make meals that incorporate more healthy and organic ingredients. We suggested she take Ross’ menu for a test-run.

barbecue grilled chicken with spicy chicken sausage PREP TIME YIELD

40 minutes 4 servings

4 chicken thighs, on bone 8 cups barbecue sauce (see previous recipe) 8 spicy chicken sausages (We suggest Trader Joe’s) Fill a large pot with water and place on stove. Bring to a boil. With a pair of kitchen shears, trim excess fat from raw chicken while waiting for water to boil. Place trimmed chicken into the large pot and boil for 10 minutes. On a grill over low heat, cook the chicken and sausages for about 30 minutes, or until the juices from the chicken run clear and the sausages are crispy. Turn chicken breasts and sausages every 5 minutes, coating the chicken breasts with barbecue sauce generously each time.

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THE SALAD

THE SIDE

This classic combination of sweet cherry tomatoes with balsamic vinaigrette and creamy mozzarella tastes fresh with sprigs of basil from the farm stand or straight from the garden. “Using fresh ingredients in a tomato-mozzarella salad makes all the difference in the world,” Ross says. “With such a simple recipe, you can’t compromise on flavor.” Ross recommends this recipe for parties with guests of all ages. “For some reason, this salad is not only a huge hit with kids who love the color and the tiny balls of food, but also with adults who find it refined and sophisticated,” Ross says.

Ross, whose blog focuses on baked goods, spends most of her time in the kitchen making desserts. “I don’t love vegetables,” Ross confesses. “In fact, I’m a little picky about them. But when I find a vegetable recipe I like, I get obsessed.” Fresh, light and crunchy, this salad looks and tastes like summer. The sweet, Asian-inspired dressing helps this side dish win over even the most adamant broccoli-haters. Ross loves this slaw recipe in particular because she has found that even the pickiest of her friends and family have a hard time telling it’s made of broccoli. “I could live off of sweets, so it’s especially fun for me to trick people into eating healthy,” Ross says with a smile.

cherry tomato mozzarella salad PREP TIME 10 minutes YIELD 6 servings 2 quarts cherry tomatoes 1 quart small mozzarella balls 1/4 cup balsamic vinaigrette salad dressing 3 medium basil leaves, chopped Rinse and dry tomatoes. In a medium bowl, toss tomatoes, mozzarella, vinaigrette and chopped basil.

broccoli slaw PREP TIME 15 minutes YIELD 6 servings 2 cups balsamic vinaigrette salad dressing 1/2 tablespoon sugar 3 large stalks of broccoli 2 medium carrots 1/2 small head of red cabbage 1 cup almonds, sliced 1 cup oriental noodles

“I tend to avoid eating vegetables at all costs, but this slaw actually makes me look forward to eating my broccoli.” – Caroline Kelly, 15, Charlotte, N.C. Caroline, a high school freshman, sometimes finds it hard to eat healthy foods because she has a hectic schedule and is surrounded by friends who don’t seem to care about eating junk. After school, she goes straight to cheerleading practice and often gets talked into a quick meal at a fast-food restaurant after practice. She says she wants to be more health-conscious and thought Ross’ menu was a great place to start.

In a small plastic container with a lid, combine balsamic vinaigrette and sugar by shaking. Using a coarse grater, grate broccoli and carrots into 1 to 2 inch-long strips. With a knife, coarsely chop cabbage. In a medium bowl, toss vinaigrette and sugar mixture, grated broccoli, grated carrots, chopped cabbage, almonds and oriental noodles.

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THE DESSERT This dessert is a perfect way to showcase the classic summer flavor of blueberries. “It’s a little bit complicated,” Ross admits. “But I really think it’s worth it to have ice cream and blueberries involved in whatever dessert you serve at an outdoor summer party.” Ross loves this recipe because the graham crackers add the taste of piecrust to the ice cream and give it a texture that’s anything but traditional. “Just because you’re making something from scratch using fresh ingredients doesn’t mean you can’t put a fun spin on it,” Ross says. “I love trying new things and making recipes my own. So much of the cooking I do is about experimentation.”

blueberry pie ice cream PREP TIME CHILL TIME YIELD

1 1/2 1/2 1 2 1 3/4 3/4

30 minutes 7 hours 1 quart

ice cream: cup whole milk cup sugar, separated into 1/4 cups teaspoon lemon zest pinch salt large egg yolks cup whipping cream teaspoon vanilla cup graham crackers, chopped into small pieces

blueberry filling: 2 cups blueberries, cleaned 1/4 cup powdered sugar 1/4 cup water In a medium saucepan, combine milk, 1/4 cup sugar, lemon zest and salt. Over medium-high heat, scald the milk mixture, stirring often, for about 5 minutes.

In a medium mixing bowl, whisk egg yolks while milk is scalding. While continuing to whisk, add the remaining 1/4 cup sugar until mixture is light and fluffy. Continue to whisk while gradually adding the hot milk mixture. In the saucepan, cook the custard mixture over medium heat, stirring often. The custard needs to get thick enough to cover the back of a spoon (approximately 5 minutes). Remove pan from heat and place into a glass bowl of ice. Let the custard cool, stirring often for 5 minutes. In a separate bowl, combine cream and vanilla while the custard is cooling. Stir cream mixture into custard mixture. Cover with plastic wrap, pressing the wrap directly onto the surface of the custard.

In an ice cream maker, freeze the chilled custard according to the manufacturer’s directions. During the last minute of churning, add the graham cracker pieces and churn until just mixed. In an airtight container, layer the ice cream and the blueberry sauce. To do this, scoop a layer of ice cream into the bottom of the container. Using a spatula, spread evenly. Add a scoop of blueberry sauce. Using a spatula, spread evenly. Add a scoop of ice cream on top of the blueberry sauce. It will be difficult to spread the ice cream over the sauce; Ross has found that using clean fingers rather than a spatula works best. Freeze for at least three hours to firm it up before serving. Source: www.grinandbakeit.com

Refrigerate until completely chilled (minimum 4 hours; overnight works too). The custard can be stored in the refrigerator for up to three days. In a medium saucepan, combine blueberries, powdered sugar and water over medium heat. Stir and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, stirring occasionally. After 7-10 minutes, mixture should begin to thicken. Remove from heat and let cool. Use immediately or refrigerate.

“Some of my best memories from my childhood involve blueberries and ice cream. What a fun way to end the meal: Summer, in a bowl.” –Brian Kelly, 51, Charlotte, N.C. Brian recently took up road biking in an effort to take better care of his body. Working a corporate job and sitting at a desk all day took a toll on Brian’s body, and he felt it was time to counteract those negative effects. Brian says the meal was a wonderful way to spend time with his family and refuel after a long bike ride.

You can visit Ross’ blog at www.mychocolatetherapy.blogspot.com.

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PHOTOGRAPH BY EMILY NYCUM

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STRAIGHT from the vine,

FRESH

from the farm Spend a day at Sanders Ridge Vineyard and Winery and discover a family that’s dedicated to growing the best organic vegetables, blending the most sustainable wines and serving up the tastiest meals and memories.

BY EMILY NYCUM Staff Writer

O

n a balmy Southern summer day what could be better than a chilled glass of wine, a back porch view of rolling vineyards and a basket of fresh-picked produce ready to be cooked into a medley of deliciousness? This may sound like a dream attainable only in Napa Valley or the Tuscan hillside, but take a trip to Boonville, N.C., and you’ll be pleasantly surprised to find that Sanders Ridge Vineyard and Winery has wine country sophistication with family-infused Southern hospitality. A 40-minute drive west of WinstonSalem, Sanders Ridge has a little something to please every personality and taste. For the wine enthusiast, this family-run vineyard and winery will educate you on their sustainable winemaking and, of course, wet your palate with a variety of wines made from locally grown grapes. For the adventurous, fly high in the trees on the Big Woods Zip Line and Canopy Tour, an exhilarating maze of 14 platforms with 12 cables that take

you 65 feet above the ground and across a swinging bridge. And for the hungry, a variety of organic vegetables stretch for acres waiting to be cooked either in your kitchen or a top-notch restaurant.

The Winery “Our farm has been in our family for more than 160 years, so it is a passion of ours,” says Jennifer Hiatt, daughter of the winery’s owner, Neil Shore. With a variety of wines, Sanders Ridge is sure to please almost any taste bud. Their 13 varieties have medaled in every competition entered to date — the North Carolina State Fair, the Atlantic Seaboard Wine Competition, the Mid-Atlantic Southeastern Wine Competition and others — even though they’ve been making wine for less than two years. Among these award-winning wines are Cabernet franc, Chardonnay, Viognier and several original blends mixed by their winemaker, Sara Wooten Cooper. Through her sustainable winemaking, Cooper has

Sanders Ridge Vineyard and Winery www.sandersridge.com 336.677.1700 Winery Hours: Noon to 6 p.m. every day Big Woods Restaurant 336.677.1701 Thursday through Sunday: 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Friday and Saturday: 5:30 p.m. to 9 p.m.

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The tasting and dining room at Sanders Ridge is a place to sip their wine, indulge in chef Starr Johnson’s creations and mingle with fellow visitors. PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF SANDERS RIDGE

“We love that we have a story to tell our visitors,” says Hiatt, “and we love telling it.”

created some of the freshest summer wines in the Yadkin Valley. On a warm summer day, the resounding winner is the Muscat Canelli, which has vintages in 2008 and 2009 so far. Despite being selfproclaimed diehard dry red lovers, Hiatt and her stepmother, Cindy Shore, general manager of the winery and owner of the farm, think this Riesling variety’s light sweetness and fruitiness is great for beating the heat. “A lot of folks who are the same as me will find that to be a nice alternative,” says Shore. “This vintage is a standout because it is citrusy with grapefruit and pineapple,” she says. The wine’s sweetness is also entirely natural. “We did not add sugar to it which keeps it lighter and more true

to the natural flavor of the grape,” says Hiatt. Starr Johnson, head chef of Sanders Ridge’s restaurant, Big Woods Restaurant, also agrees. She says, “It’s something you can pour a glass and sit on the front porch and rock.” The 2009 Muscat Canelli has also taken home a variety of awards, including a Double Gold Best White Wine at the 2010 North Carolina State Fair and a silver medal at the 2010 Mid-Atlantic Southeastern Wine Competition. Served cold, Hiatt says it is “perfect for hot summer days.” Sanders Ridge offers more than crisp, fresh white wines. The 2007 Big Woods is a Bordeaux blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet franc, Merlot and a little Syrah.

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The combination exudes a flavor of “rich black cherry with licorice and pepper and a smooth, velvety finish,” according to the wine’s description on the winery’s website. And with the burgeoning North Carolina wine market, Hiatt says that Sanders Ridge has really tried to set their business apart from other wineries. “That is why we have the restaurant and zip lines,” she says. However, their awarding-winning wines seem to do that pretty well on their own.

the garden Grapes are not the only goods growing at Sanders Ridge. “It’s our organic garden where we really practice sustainable farming,” says Hiatt. The farm began in 2005 as a partnership between Cindy and Neil, who are now married. The farmland had been in Neil Shore’s family for five generations, but conventional farming was rapidly declining at the time. “I’ve had a passion for growing organically for the last 30 years,” says Cindy Shore, who helped turn the farm into a successful Community Supported Agriculture business where buyers pay at the beginning of the season for a weekly share of the farm’s food. With several acres of farmland, Sanders Ridge was soon supplying food for 40 CSA members and The Kitchen, a restaurant at Elkin Creek Vineyard, located about an hour northwest of Winston-Salem in Elkin. In 2007, the farm at Sanders Ridge became the only USDA certified organic garden in Yadkin County. Instead of using synthetic fertilizers and pest control, the farm utilizes soil building and integrated cropping techniques to keep their plants healthy and thriving. “We work hard to plant veggies beside each other that will complement each other and act as natural pesticides,” Hiatt says. The farm also introduces bugs that will help their plants flourish and not attack them. Take a stroll through the garden, and everything from eight types of tomatoes and nine kinds of squash to

herbs, okra and arugula can be found. Crisp broccoli, leafy spinach, deep purple eggplant, vibrantly colored sweet peppers and several other delectable vegetables are ripe for picking in June. Look out for melons, asparagus and snap beans later this summer. “We invite our customers to come out, learn about organic farming and pick their own veggies,” says Hiatt. Produce from Sanders Ridge can be found outside the farm too. As proponents for using local goods, Sanders Ridge sells their fresh, seasonal fruits and vegetables at the Reynolda Village Farmers Market and Cobblestone Farmers Market, both in Winston-Salem. “They are small farmers markets, but we love telling visitors about our veggies and wines and invite them to come see our winery,” says Hiatt. Shore says she loves meeting the people who buy their food and wine. “It seems to thrill people to know where their food is coming from, and it thrills me to know where it’s going,” she says.

THE RESTAURANT The best combination of the farm and the winery is the Big Woods Restaurant, where chef Johnson uses nothing but local products. “We’re trying to stay as local as possible,” she says. The freshness of Sanders Ridge’s organic farm is highlighted with dishes like fried green tomatoes, roasted beet salad and a variety of sandwiches and salads. “We don’t buy things,” she says, “we make them.” The rule even applies to mayonnaise. “It just really adds a whole other dimension of flavor,” says Johnson, who is also known for her tasty pimento cheese, found in several dishes. Everything served is fresh and straight from the garden. “Our menu is built around what is in season,” says Hiatt. With a style that Johnson describes as New Southern, she says she whips up “traditional Southern style cuisine, but with a 21st century twist.” Browse the menu and you’ll find a portobello and spinach sandwich and creamy tomato soup with goat cheese and

Fried Green Tomatoes Fried green tomatoes are an undeniable Southern tradition. Chef Starr Johnson says these are a favorite on her menu this summer. Johnson makes her fried green tomatoes from memory, but here is a way for you to make your own version when you can’t make it to the Big Woods Restaurant. PREP TIME 30 minutes SERVING SIZE 3-4 people 3 medium, firm green tomatoes 1/4 teaspoon pepper 1/2 teaspoon salt 1/2 cup all-purpose flour 1/4 cup milk 2 beaten eggs 2/3 fine dry bread crumbs or cornmeal 1/4 cup olive oil Cut unpeeled tomatoes into half-inch slices and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Let them sit for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, in separate, shallow dishes, place flour, milk, eggs and bread crumbs in. In a skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of the oil on medium heat. Dip the tomato slices in the milk, then in the flour, then in the eggs and finally in the bread crumbs. In the skillet, fry the coated tomato slices for 4-6 minutes on each side or until brown. As you cook the rest of the tomatoes, add the olive oil as needed.

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Sanders Ridge only ages their wine in French oak barrels, a flavorful alternative to the often harsh tannins produced by American oak. PHOTOGRAPH BY EMILY NYCUM 48 Carolina Fresh Summer 2011

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Sustainable shopping and dining in the area

77 Pleasant Hill

2 Elkin

1

74

5

Boonville

34

421

Winston-Salem

40

basil, in addition to specials derived from the garden. “We take what people appreciate and understand and then give it a sort of local flair,” Johnson says. With dark wood and a warm, homey atmosphere, the Big Woods Restaurant is the best way to appreciate the bounty of Sanders Ridge’s garden and the quality of their wine. Be sure to stop by for either lunch or dinner. Regardless of why you’re drawn to Sanders Ridge — the wine, the organic produce, the tasty meals or the peaceful escape — it is sure to leave a lasting impression. “Everyone remarks how quiet and beautiful our surroundings are,” says Hiatt. Overlooking a serene pond, the winery and gazebo were built with wood and stone from the farm. “It is about making a community healthier and more aware of our environment through composting, recycling

and supporting local,” says Hiatt.   “We hope visitors will spend a day with us,” says Hiatt, “Ride the zip line in the forest behind us, have lunch with us enjoying New Southern cuisine and then enjoy a glass of wine on the front porch or in the gazebo.”��Sanders Ridge is a place to feel like you’re a part of the family. “We love that we have a story to tell our visitors,” says Hiatt, “and we love telling it.

1. Sanders Ridge Vineyard and Winery 2. The Kitchen at Elkin Creek Vineyard 3. Reynolda Village Farmers Market 4. Cobblestone Famers Market 5. Big Woods Zip Line

Events at Sanders Ridge Vineyard and Winery Yadkin River Wine Trail Mini Festival: first Sunday of every month noon to 4 p.m. beginning in June Cobblestone Farmers Market in Winston-Salem: every Tuesday 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., April 19 to Nov. 29 Family Style Supper and Music: every Thursday 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Reynolda Village Farmers Market in Winston-Salem: every Friday 9 a.m. to noon April-October Chef Starr’s Cooking Class First Saturday of every month at 8:30 a.m. Call Big Woods Restaurant to reserve a spot

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Take your time. artisan chocolates and handmade desserts

We offer a wide variety of hand-crafted artisan chocolates and pastries: cakes, chilled desserts, brownies, cookies, tarts, truffles and drinking chocolates. Order our truffles, vegan chocolate and brownies online. Lounge on the leather couch, admire local art and sip a glass of Pinot Noir paired with our Quintessential Chocolate Cake. We buy fruits, berries and free-range eggs from WNC farms, and we pick herbs out of our own backyard.

Phone: 828.252.4181 www.frenchbroadchocolates.com Hours: Sunday - Thursday: 11am - 11pm Friday & Saturday: 11am - 12am

chocolate lounge

10 South Lexington Ave. Asheville, NC 28801 Find us on Facebook & Twitter

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Backyard Stories of the Carolinas

BY HANNAH TAYLOR Staff Writer

Welcome to a new series by Carolina Fresh! Each month we follow two people who are finding creative ways to live sustainably or to promote a healthful, earth-conscious lifestyle. This month we tell the stories of Steve, a rural chicken farmer, and Mitra, an activist dedicated to raising the next generation of farmers in the Carolinas.

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Yard #1: A Crop of Young Farmers Mitra Sticklen, the teacher

M

itra Sticklen is a forwardthinking food activist. She has worked on farms across California, Oregon, Colorado and Michigan. This year, she accepted a position to run the pilot year of the Young Farmer Training Program in Raleigh, N.C., which will teach 15- to 18-year-olds the hands-on skills and classroom knowledge needed to farm. Sticklen is focused, she is passionate about the food system, and she is only 25 years old. Sticklen describes working on farms as “incredibly therapeutic.” A few years ago, she worked on a farm through the winter for the first time. “It was an awakening,” Sticklen says. “It’s being around living things when the rest of the world is covered in snow. You know, other people get the winter blues, but the combination of fresh oxygen and caring for living plants — it was just a huge motivator

to continue farming.” Since attending college at Michigan State University, Sticklen says her passion for environmental education has grown. She moved across the country to take her current “dream job” training young farmers. The Young Farmer Training Program is the newest program from the Inter-Faith Food Shuttle, based in Raleigh, N.C. IFFS runs a variety of programs aimed at the issue of food insecurity, or the inability of families and individuals to provide food for themselves. One program recovers food from wholesale stores and redistributes it to churches and food pantries that feed the needy. The Young Farmer Training Program is for young adults. Students have a range of experiences and education, and Sticklen says she hopes to get applicants with diverse backgrounds. “It’s the pilot year,” Sticklen

says. “We’re hoping to have about 10 people in the program this year.” The program is open for spring, summer, fall and year-long sessions, but applications for this year are closed. The goal is to have students come back for multiple years. The first year, students receive a stipend for working on the farm 12 hours a week during the school year and 20 hours a week during the summer. The second year, the stipend is larger, and the third year, students can apply for a scholarship to be used for higher education or applied for a land grant through the Triangle Land Conservancy to essentially start their own small farming enterprise. The TLC’s mission is to preserve farmland and other natural areas, and Young Farmer Training Program would ideally be creating more small farms across the nation that would benefit from the TLC’s conservation work. In the United States, where

“It’s really given my life a driving force and a meaning,” Sticklen says (right). “It’s given me a real solid ground for moving through the world and sharing things with other people.” PHOTOGRAPHS BY CATHERINE ORR

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the average age of a farmer is older than the average age of retirement, Sticklen says that it’s crucial to get youth excited about farming. “North Carolina in particular has a history of agriculture,” Sticklen says. “But there are fewer and fewer farmers every year. That’s a really scary thought because our food system is relying more and more on food that comes from some place far away, and the only reason that’s possible is because gas has been cheap enough. In the future, creating local food systems makes a lot of sense economically and in terms of food security and human health.” The program takes place on a 6-acre farm in south Raleigh called the Inter-Faith Food Shuttle Farm. Here, the young farmers will plant, harvest, cook, eat and talk about food. Once a month, they will travel to other farms on field trips, and every Saturday in April, they will sell food at a youth farmers market. Sticklen is excited about this program, which she says is fulfilling many of her creative and social passions. “For me — oh this is going to sound cheesy — but it’s really given my life a driving force and a meaning,” Sticklen says. “It’s given me a real solid ground for moving through the world and sharing things with other people.”

Afternoon sunlight at the Inter-Faith Food Shuttle Farm.

Packets of vegetable seeds for planting.

“In the future, creating local food systems makes a lot of sense economically and in terms of food security and human health,” says Sticklen. A row of garden hoes ready to be used by youth in the Young Farmer Training Program.

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Yard #2: A Feathered Family Steve Coombs, the father hen

A

fter a long day’s work, when Steve Coombs turns his red Harley Davidson into the driveway of his 4-acre property in Efland, N.C., his routine is the same. He doesn’t start dinner or flop on the couch. Instead, he grabs an empty egg carton from the house and eagerly heads to his backyard where nearly 80 chickens squawk in anticipation, waiting for Coombs like excited children. Coombs’ wife says the chickens know when it’s time for her husband to arrive. “About two or three minutes before she knows I’m supposed to be home, she says they going crazy,” Coombs says of the chickens. “They start cacklin’. They start hollerin’. They start crowin’. Then she hears me start to come up the driveway, and she says they start to get louder and louder. And when I cut bike off, they get quiet.” Coombs has been raising chickens for about 10 years on a rectangular

plot of land that used to belong to his step-grandfather. A long dirt road leads up to the property, hugged by a backyard of thick woods and hundreds of acres of farmland on either side. It’s an ideal spot for chickens, Coombs says. “You can tell the difference in them cacklin’ and being happy,” Coombs says of his evening arrivals. “I get the enjoyment of making someone’s day.” By day, 37-year-old Coombs works as an electronics technician at UNC Cogeneration Facility, a power plant that serves the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. In the evenings, he cares for two Great Danes, one Chihuahua, one Labrador Retriever mix, one cat and one rabbit, in addition to his chickens and three turkeys. Coombs says that some summer days, he gets home in the early evening and watches the chickens eat after dark. What started out as a pastime has come to mean much more.

Coombs’ tips for new chicken owners: Don’t buy chicks from people you don’t know. Order from a professional hatchery or raise them yourself. Ventilate the chicken coop with a fan. Chickens die easily from heat and need air circulation. Avoid building coops with wooden floors. Dirt holds less moisture, and the manure is good for the soil. When you buy a new chick, put it downwind of other chickens in a coop. Give it vitamins, and keep it isolated before introducing it to others.

PHOTOGRAPH BY RETHA SCHOLTZ

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“It started out as a hobby, and it kind of still is,” Coombs says. “But you watch a chicken grow. You watch it start to lay eggs, and then you watch a hen become a mother.”

PHOTOGRAPH BY ROBERT MICHIE

In 2000, a friend was giving away about 30 chickens and, interested in something to do with his free time, Coombs adopted them. He built a rickety coop but the chickens got loose, and animals attacked and killed the flock. In 2001, Coombs decided to try again and purchased about 15 chicks. “I had them about two years and my ex-wife decided she didn’t like them anymore, and I had to get rid of them,” Coombs says. “About 2005, I got rid of her,” he says with a chuckle. “I decided I was going to get back into chickens. I bought about 18 chicks and put them in a little coop. My Great Danes busted the coop and left me with three. So I went and bought 35 more.” This may sound neglectful, but according to multiple online forums such as www.backyardchickens.com, there are a multitude of things that can threaten a chicken’s survival including improper coop design, predators, disease, disorders and extreme weather. Coombs says he has learned a great deal about chicken care over time and simultaneously has learned about himself. “It started out as a hobby, and it

kind of still is,” Coombs says. “But you watch a chicken grow. You watch it start to lay eggs, and then you watch a hen become a mother.” Last year, Coombs owned 250 chickens – the most he ever had. But, he says, it became expensive to feed them. About two years ago, a 50-pouns bag of chicken feed was $10, but increased to about $14 in 2010 when the corn crop was much lower, putting pressure on prices. Coombs can attest that raising chickens comes with its costs but is well worth the benefits that extend beyond fresh eggs. “You know how they say fish tanks are good for the heart?” Coombs asks. “Well, I could come out here and just sit and watch these chickens do what they want to do.” Most days, he does. Coombs says he finds it peaceful passing the time watching the chickens from his house or sitting on the ground outside their coop, observing their peculiar interactions and personalities. And he says that while he doesn’t name his chickens, he considers them to be his children. “To me, it’s almost like therapy,” Coombs says. “They give you all sorts of gifts.”

FOR MORE INFORMATION ON CHICKENS: “Chickens in Your Backyard: A Beginner’s Guide” by Rick and Gail Luttmann www.backyardchickens.com - FAQs, community discussion forum and basic how-to information including which breeds to buy and how to design a coop www.ces.ncsu.edu -The North Carolina Cooperative Extension is a state-funded resource that provides advice and educational programs www.albc-usa.org - The American Livestock Breeds Conservancy, located in Pittsboro, N.C., is dedicated to preserving rare and heritage breeds

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A different kind of coffee company.

At

Counter Culture Coffee,

ideal of coffee perfection, a dedication to real

commitment to cutting-edge 919.361.5282 www.counterculturecoffee.com 4911 South Alston Ave., Durham, NC 27713 carolinafresh.indb 56

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COUNTER CU LTUR E 6/30/11 1:13 PM


Deeply Rooted

sunset Farms’ third generation farmer is reconnecting with his family’s past while making a name for himself.

By MEGan GaSSaWay Staff Writer

S

ix-year-old Eston Murray likes playing with toy cars, racing his dog Harley and eating raw onions. Unlike other boys his age, Eston, who is homeschooled, lives and learns on a farm. Part of a long lineage of farmers, Eston’s father, Chris, and grandfather, Gary, both grew up on the 56 acres of land known as Sunset Farms, the same land that Eston now calls home. On a typical Saturday, Eston plays on a playground near the stalls of the Durham Farmers Market while customers peruse the Sunset Farms table, which overflows with plump organic strawberries, cartons of eggs and packages of grass-fed beef. Eston’s parents, Chris and Jamie Brie, have sold produce at the Durham Farmers Market since 2009, but Sunset Farms has been a part of the family for three generations. At the market, a sign marking the Sunset Farms stall bears the farm’s motto: “cultivating faith, family & food.” For the Murray family, the motto is more than a pretty alliteration; for Eston and his parents, faith, family and food is a way of life. PHOTOGRAPHS BY MEGAN GASSAWAY

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duce instead of commodity crops. At that time, Gary sold the produce he grew to large-scale poultry operations in the area. In 1982, at the suggestion of a friend, Gary and his wife, Wanda, began direct marketing their produce at the Carrboro Farmers Market. At first, Gary sold only sweet corn but he gradually expanded his produce selection as he continued to make a name for himself and his farm at the market.

RETURNING TO THE FARM

For the Murray family, selling at the Durham and Carrboro farmers markets is a family affair. From left to right, Chris, Jamie Brie, who holds Harlon Jude, Adela and Eston stand in front of the family’s truck after setting up their stall at the Carrboro Farmers Market.

IN THE FAMILY

“In grad school, I realized that the hardest thing I could do was go back to the farm and try to make it work,” Chris says.

“It’s always been a farm in some way, shape or fashion,” says Chris, Sunset Farms’ third generation farmer. Chris grew up on the land and recently moved back to the farm with his wife, Jamie Brie, and their three children. For Chris and his family, the farm is their livelihood and sole source of income, unlike the two generations before him, who saw farming as a hobby. Chris’ grandfather worked in the textile industry but raised cows and pigs as an extra source of income. He is no longer alive, but his white house still stands on the land. Beside it is the brick home of Gary, Chris’ father. Working in the poultry industry for 15 years and as a soil and water conservation agent until his retirement in 2007, Gary did not consider farming his primary profession. Like his father, he took an interest in the land and cultivated it as a source of supplemental income. In the 1970s and 1980s, Gary began “green farming,” growing pro-

Growing up as an only child and the son of two farmers, Chris spent a lot of time on the farm, but the labor of farm work was not his passion. Instead, he set his sights on agricultural research and hoped to receive a doctorate in the field. In 2002, Chris received his bachelor’s of science degree in agronomy, or crop science, from North Carolina State University and began to work toward his master’s degree in soil chemistry. It was during this time that he came to a life-changing realization. “In grad school, I realized that the hardest thing I could do was go back to the farm and try to make it work,” Chris says. While he set his future hopes on one day returning to farm labor, he continued to work toward his master’s degree, seeing it as something useful “to have in my back pocket,” Chris says. After graduating from the master’s program, Chris took a job as an environmental consultant. He worked at Soil and Environmental Consultants, PA in Raleigh for five years before returning to his family’s land. In 2008, with his family in tow, Chris relocated from Raleigh to the Burlington-Snow Camp border and the farm on which he was raised. Jamie Brie, who Chris met as an undergraduate at N.C. State, was now his wife and the couple had two young children. “We just got more family-focused with the kids,” says Chris, who saw a lot of values he wanted to instill in his children in life on the farm.

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FOOD FOR THOUGHT With 200 hens, six beef cattle and about 100 broilers, or meat chickens, there are a lot of lessons to be learned on the farm. In April, the farm will welcome its first piglets, Chris says. The farm also produces an array of seasonal vegetables and fruits, beef and pastured poultry, according to Sunset Farms’ website. The Murrays own one dairy cow for private use, but she has not had a calf yet and therefore does not produce milk, Chris says. In the summer, the farm offers a range of colorful produce. “Heirloom tomatoes, squash, zucchini, cucumbers, egg plants, peppers, okra,” Jamie Brie says, as well as herbs, watermelon and cantaloupe. Strawberries are also a big summer crop, but eggs are the farm’s most consistent product and are sold yearround at local farmers markets, Jamie Brie says. In addition, the farm offers pastured poultry and grass-fed beef, but not enough to be sold consistently throughout the year. At markets, “meat is more popu-

lar than produce,” Jamie Brie says. “People are more concerned with meat.” The Murrays are also concerned with meat, ensuring that their animals are treated in a humane manner. “We are Christians and we believe it’s our job to steward the land and treat the animals rightly,” Jamie Brie says. Chris matches her philosophy, saying he approaches farming from a Christian standpoint. “Our belief is just that we were given nature, specifically these 56 acres,” Chris says. Following the philosophy of “creation stewardship,” the Murray family is especially conscious of the environment and chooses to cultivate the land, not just farm it. But it’s not just the food that matters. Ultimately, the Murrays serve people. “We believe food has power to heal people – to make them well, keep them well,” Chris says. And this necessitates organic production. The farm is in the process of being certified as organic, but in the meantime, they continue to employ a vari-

“We are Christians and we believe it’s our job to steward the land and treat the animals rightly,” Jamie Brie says. ety of sustainable practices. Rather than spraying their produce with pesticides, the family weeds the farm themselves. By not using chemical products, the Murrays hope to have fewer weeds, Jamie Brie says. “Because of the way we grow things, things grow stronger and stronger,” Jamie Brie says, whereas at non-organic farms, weeds adapt to chemical sprays, making them more damaging to crops. Chris chooses to use organic amendments like compost to fertilize the soil, and the family rotates their crops to replenish the land and prevent depletion of nutrients, Jamie Brie says. Furthermore, the animals on the farm play a crucial role in fertilizing the soil. As the animals are moved throughout the farm during the year, the Murrays use a “closed loop” system where the animals’ wastes fertilize the soil.

WHERE TO BUY SUNSET FARMS PRODUCE Whether you’re from the Triangle, from Greensboro or are just passing through North Carolina, here are ways you can buy Sunset Farms produce, poultry and beef. Sunset Farms 6211 S. NC 49 Burlington, N.C.

Greensboro Boxes delivered weekly on Tuesdays to: The McCarthy House 2913 Shady Lawn Dr. Greensboro, N.C.

Carrboro Farmers Market 301 W. Main St. Carrboro, N.C. Saturdays 9 a.m. – 12 p.m. Wednesdays 3:30 p.m. – 6:30 p.m. www.carrborofarmers market.com

Durham Farmers Market 501 Foster St. Durham, N.C. Saturdays 8 a.m. - 12 p.m. Wednesdays 3:30 p.m. - 6:30 p.m. www.durhamfarmers market.com

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The cattle, which are sold for beef, are stationed in one area of the farm for an allotted amount of time, during which they leave cow dung on the land. After that time, the cows are moved to a different area of the farm and are replaced by chickens. The chickens break apart the cow patties and spread seeds and nutrients throughout the land, explains Jamie Brie’s sister, Kellay, who lives with Chris and Jamie Brie. The farm also has an “egg mobile,” a portable hen house that carries 300 hens at a time, Chris says. While the Murrays usually keep 300 hens in the egg mobile, they never have fewer than 200 hens in the mobile at one time. The ecological contraption contributes to the rotation system where animals fertilize the soil, Chris says. By feeding cows and chickens, the animals build the soil fertility without the farmers having to buy fertilizers, Chris says.

SPREADING NEW ROOTS With a barn built in 1905, two generations of farm labor poured into the land and an abundance of crops and animals, Sunset Farms still provides a challenge for Chris, as well as an opportunity to create a name for himself. The 56 acres of land include the old barn (now used for equipment storage), a greenhouse and an enclosed packing shed that serves as Sunset Farms’ headquarters. But the farm lacks of a lot of infrastructure, Chris says. Building the infrastructure of the farm and maintaining the current buildings keeps Chris busy. Somehow though, he has made time to create new ventures. In 2009, Chris decided to branch out from the Carrboro Farmers Market and he and Jamie Brie made their debut at the Durham Farmers Market. Selling in Durham provides another source of income for the farm, and also gives the new generation of farmers an opportunity to start fresh. “At Carrboro, it’s hard to make

On any given Saturday, you can find the Sunset Farms stall displaying rows of eggs laid by the Murray family’s pastured hens. Sunset Farms sells eggs at the Durham and Carrboro farmers markets throughout the year and are the farm’s most consistent product, Jamie Brie says.

your own name,” Chris says. With more than 25 years of selling produce in Carrboro, Gary had established a reputation for Sunset Farms and had developed a loyal base of customers there. At the Durham Farmers Market, there are “no pre-conceived notions” among shoppers, Chris says. “We get to make our own name.” In 2009, Chris and Jamie Brie also began the farm’s Community Supported Agriculture, or CSA, program. With this program, individuals and families pay $20 a week to receive a box of produce each week for 20 weeks. Besides supplying customers with a constant supply of fresh produce, the CSA program fosters a sense of community. “We like to have everyone over for dinner,” Chris says of individuals supporting the farm through CSA. “We want to have an intimate connection with everyone.” Most participants in the CSA program live in Greensboro, which is about a 45-minute drive from Sunset Farms and is host to a large network of friends and churches through which the Murrays have advertised. Other customers have invested in the farm after buying produce from the Durham or Carrboro farmers markets,

Jamie Brie says. Regardless of where CSA-supporters live, “they become really loyal patrons and friends,” Chris says.

COMMUNITY FROM WITHIN The sense of community surrounding Sunset Farms mirrors that of the farm itself. Besides the infrastructure needed to maintain the farm, the land includes the brick home of Gary and Wanda. Beside that, the white house where Gary’s father used to live houses Kyle and Katelyn Stenersen. The Stenersens joined the Sunset Farms family after Jamie Brie’s sister Kellay, who roomed with Katelyn in college, introduced Kyle to the Murrays. Kyle now works on the farm as Chris’ right-hand-man. Kellay has also made a home for herself, living with Chris, Jamie Brie and their three children, Eston, 6, Adela, 4, and Harlon Jude, 10 months, in a red house across the road from the farm. In deciding to return to the farm, Chris and Jamie Brie chose to raise their children in close proximity to their family. Eston, the oldest of Chris and Jamie Brie’s family, is homeschooled.

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In 2009, Chris and Jamie Brie also began the farm’s Community Supported Agriculture, or CSA, program. With this program, individuals and families pay $20 a week to receive a box of produce each week for 20 weeks.

The family plans to continue homeschooling Eston and, when the time comes, their other children as well. “If Chris’ job is on the farm, then it doesn’t make sense to send the kids elsewhere,” Jamie Brie says. “We want them to learn from us, to work with us.” Referencing a quote by his favorite author, Wendell Berry, Chris says, “I live where we work and work where we live.” As their three children grow older, there are lessons to be learned from the farm. “Eston is getting to the age where he can be a big help,” Chris says. “He’s got to learn to work.” But Chris does not underestimate the importance of childhood, ensuring that Eston “be a kid” first and foremost. Still, life on the farm provides Eston, Adela and Harlon Jude with an education unlike that of their peers in traditional schools. The Murray children will grow up with a living classroom all around them, Chris says. Their daily chores will teach them the physiology of animals and they will

come to understand the seasons in a unique way.

LIVING HOLISTICALLY Looking toward the future, Chris and Jamie Brie hope to continue cultivating the 56 acres they have been given. “Renting more land, growing more crops and stuff – that’s not what we want,” Chris says. Instead, they hope to “maximize the nutrients and value out of our crovps.” “The way they run their farm is a part of the holistic way they run their lives,” says Laura Hartley, who volunteers at the farm. “They love their family and love their land and want to do right by the people they’re feeding and the community.” With faith as their guide, family surrounding them and plenty of food to go around, farming is in the genes of the Murray family and cross-generational collaboration is what makes this farm run.

COMMUNITY SUPPORTED AGRICULTURE ExPLAINED

I

n the original model of Community Supported Agriculture, individuals joined together to purchase farmland and hire a farmer, according to the website for Local Harvest, a website that connects consumers with farmers markets, family farms and other sources of sustainably grown food that are close to them. When the harvest came, the individuals divided the farm’s yield among owners, establishing a sense of “shared risk.” Whatever the outcome of the season, the group either mutually benefited or suffered, but either way, they experienced the season’s yield together. Today, there are different models for CSA, but the basic idea is that farmers offer “shares” of their farm to the public, who then receive boxes of the farm’s produce throughout the year. While the sense of shared risk still exists, CSA provides mutual benefits to farms and consumers.

Advantages for consumers:

Advantages for farmers:

Consumers receive farm-fresh food throughout the year.

CSA provides a way to market food year-round.

Consumers are exposed to new produce and new ways of cooking.

Farmers have a more consistent source of income.

Consumers develop a relationship with farmers.

Farmers have the chance to get to know their customers.

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A Whey With Cheese Hillsborough Cheese Co. puts a local twist on European-style cheeses. BY MEGHAN SHERRILL Staff Writer

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he soft jalapeño-flecked chèvre spreads out slowly on the cutting board. The creamy Camembert oozes out of its slightly sagging rind. The hard Gouda speckled with caraway seeds forms beads of sweat, but cheese is always better warm, anyway. Cindy West stood behind the cheese-covered table at the Eno River Farmers Market proudly displaying what her hard work had wrought. That warm spring morning, the market was crowded, and the cheese was selling. West owns and runs Hillsborough Cheese Co. with her husband, Dorian. She went to culinary school at Le Cordon Bleu in Paris and worked at several restaurants in the Durham-Chapel Hill area, including the James Beard award-winning Magnolia Grill, before settling down and starting a family. She and her husband created the company in 2004 because it was more conducive to maintaining her family lifestyle than working in a restaurant. Starting Hillsborough Cheese Co. also allowed her to continue her passion for the culinary arts while getting involved in the community. “It’s all local, being connected to the dairy people who sell us the milk, customers and other vendors,” says Dorian, the business half of the operation. “It’s the connection to community that’s important.” The Wests’ home, with its separate olive-green cheese kitchen, is nestled on a former tobacco farm on the narrow tract of land between Interstates 40 and 85 in Hillsborough, where Cindy grew up. It is a fairly small operation, using only around 100 gallons of milk

PHOTOGRAPH BY BOB PEPPING

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Making cheese may sound complicated, but the process is relatively simple.

homemade ricotta PREP TIME 5 minutes COOK TIME 30 minutes SERVING SIZE 2 cups 2 1 2 1

quarts whole milk cup plain whole-milk yogurt teaspoons white vinegar teaspoon salt

Bring the milk, yogurt, vinegar and salt to a boil in a large pot. Gently boil for 1 to 2 minutes, until the milk is curdled.

Pour the milk mixture into a hanging cheesecloth or strainer lined with cheesecloth and set over a deep bowl. Let drain for 15 minutes.

PHOTOGRAPH BY BOB CHAMBERLIN

per week, so the Wests source goat and cow milk from several local dairy farms. They are committed to using only milk that is produced sustainably, and try to ensure the cows and goats are freerange and raised without growth hormones. Purchasing their milk locally also helps support area farmers and strengthen their commitment to the local food economy. The Wests do, however, maintain a small herd of Nigerian dwarf goats on their property as family pets and a whey disposal system. Cindy focuses on traditional European-style cheese, but also experiments with cheeses inspired by local tastes. Some of the cheeses are named for local landmarks, such as

the Chapel Dill, a dill-flecked Gouda, and Chicken Bridge Manchego. The company typically produces cheese that can be divided into three categories: soft cheeses, bloomy-rind cheeses and aged raw-milk cheeses. Employee Laurel Schulman thinks her boss’s cheese is special because it puts a European twist on cheese while adding local flavor. “So we use local milk and we have names that reflect the area that we live in,” Schulman says, “but they’re very traditionally crafted.” Making cheese may sound complicated, but the process is relatively simple. For each type of cheese, the milk is heated to a certain temperature, and then a combination of cultures and vegetable rennet

Gather the cheesecloth around the curds and squeeze gently to extract any excess liquid. The ricotta is best eaten fresh but can be refrigerated for up to three days.

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LOOKING FOR HILLSBOROUGH CHEESE CO. Farmers Markets Eno River Farmers Market (Hillsborough) www.enoriverfarmersmarket.com Chapel Hill Farmers Market (Chapel Hill) www.thechapelhillfarmersmarket.com Western Wake Farmers Market (Cary) www.westernwakefarmersmarket.org Saxapahaw Farmers Market (Saxapahaw, summer only) www.rivermillvillage.com/farmers.html

Matt Lardie, a Hillsborough Cheese Co. employee, sells the various types of cheese at the Chapel Hill Farmers Market at 201 S. Estes Drive. PHOTOGRAPH BY MEGHAN SHERRILL

At the markets each week chèvre, feta cheese, a bloomy rind cheese and a hard cheese are on hand. are added. The rennet, a complex of plant-based enzymes, causes the milk to curdle and solidify. The curd is then hung in cheesecloth so that liquid whey drips out. The constant sound of whey dribbling into buckets fills the small kitchen. For soft cheeses such as chèvre, the curd is taken out of the cloth, shaped and other ingredients are added. Hillsborough Cheese Co. offers four kinds of chèvre at the markets every week: plain, sun-dried tomato, herbed and jalapeño. Cindy sometimes experiments with different varieties such as curried cherry or fig if the fruit on her trees is ripe. It takes 3.5 gallons of milk to make 3.75 pounds of chèvre, which is the highest-yield cheese made in the kitchen. Bloomy-rind cheeses are molded and aged for at least 21 days, forming a thin skin of white fuzz. The result is a creamy, gooey layer surrounding a spreadable center. The company’s

bloomy-rind cheeses are all made by virtually the same recipe, but the different sizes, milks used and other additions produce unique cheeses. Hard cheeses take longer to make than the soft, fresh cheeses. The curds are put into molds and weighted down to squeeze out any remaining liquid. The solid cheese wheel is then soaked in brine to add flavor. It is aged for at least 60 days so that the cheese can further develop. Hard cheeses are expensive to make because they require a large quantity of milk to produce; 14 gallons of milk only yields around 4 pounds of cheese. The yield is so low because the cheese is hard and dry, so it requires more milk solids. “I think the best thing that I’ve learned while working with Cindy is that she experiments all the time,” says Schulman. “So, if we don’t know how to make something, we just constantly keep trying slightly different systems in order to finally get the cheese to be where we want it to.” Hillsborough Cheese Co. offers several kinds of cheese every week, with different varieties offered as

Retail Weaver Street Market (Carrboro, Chapel Hill and Hillsborough) www.weaverstreetmarket.coop A Southern Season (Chapel Hill) www.southernseason.com Wine Authorities (Durham) www.wineauthorities.com Bella Bean Organics (home delivery) www.bellabeanorganics.com Carolina Grown (home delivery) www.carolinagrown.org

Restaurants Crossroads at the Carolina Inn (Chapel Hill) www.carolinainn.com/ crossroads-restaurant.php The Weathervane at A Southern Season (Chapel Hill) www.southernseason.com Zely & Ritz (Raleigh) www.zelyandritz.com Urban Sip Wine & Scotch Bar at the Ritz-Carlton (Charlotte) www.ritzcarlton.com

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“It’s all local, being connected to the dairy people who sell us the milk, customers and other vendors,” says Dorian, the business half of the operation. “It’s the connection to community that’s important.” they ripen. At the markets each week, chèvre, feta cheese, a bloomy rind cheese and a hard cheese are on hand. Some cheeses that come into rotation are a mild farmer’s cheese, moist mozzarella, creamy Camembert-style cheese, sweet ash and fresh ricotta. The Wests, along with several employees, disperse across the Triangle on Saturday mornings to sell at various farmers markets. Hillsborough Cheese Co. sells at several farmers markets including Eno River in Hillsborough, Saxapahaw, Western Wake in Cary and Chapel Hill. The cheese is also sold in specialty food stores such as A Southern Season in Chapel Hill and Weaver Street Market in Carrboro, Hillsborough and Chapel Hill. Selling at the market is one of Cindy’s favorite parts of her job. She spends all week working in the isolated cheese kitchen and looks forward to interacting with customers and connecting with the community at the markets. “The interactions with people, that’s the fun part,” says Cindy. She loves to get out of the cheese kitchen, see fellow vendors and customers and be outside when the weather is nice. At the market, regulars stop by to pick up their favorite cheeses and to catch up with Cindy. The dry-erase board listing the day’s offerings has thick black lines through the sold-out sun-dried tomato chèvre and goat’s milk pimento cheese, even though it is still early in the day. Market goers eagerly sample the cheese while their children try on the Green Bay Packers cheese hat Cindy keeps at her stand. She digs deep into the cooler for a ball of mozzarella, and sends her finished product home with a happy family planning for a pizza.

Above: Hillsborough Cheese Co. sells its cheeses at Eno River Market in Hillsborough, N.C. PHOTOGRAPH BY MOMINCHAPELHILL BLOG Left: Cindy and Dorian West make a variety of hard and soft cheeses. PHOTOGRAPHY BY HILLSBOROUGH CHEESE CO. BLOG

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While the cheeses are easily enjoyed on their own, here are some recipes for incorporating cheese into your summer menus.

Hillsborough Cheese! grilled pizza margherita PREP TIME 45 minutes SERVING SIZE 2 9-inch pizzas 1 pound plum tomatoes 1/4 teaspoon salt 3 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, plus additional for brushing 6 ounces mozzarella, coarsely grated (1 1/2 cups) 1 pound freshly made or thawed frozen pizza dough, divided and formed into 2 balls 6 -8 medium, fresh basil leaves, torn flour for dusting

PHOTOGRAPH BY PETE CARPENTER

immerse in boiling water for 10 seconds. Transfer to cold water with a slotted spoon, then peel.

Pre-heat grill to medium heat.

Seed and chop tomatoes.

Lightly flour the countertop and flatten one of the dough balls. Use a rolling pin to roll the dough into a 9-inch round, rotating and stretching the dough as you go.

In a 10-inch heavy skillet over moderate heat, simmer tomatoes, salt and 2 tablespoons oil, stirring occasionally until very thick and reduced to about 1 cup, 10 to 15 minutes. Transfer to a bowl to cool.

Transfer to a large floured tray and make another round in the same manner. Place it next to the other round. Lightly rub a long sheet of plastic wrap with flour, then invert loosely over the pizza rounds and let them stand to puff slightly, 10 to 20 minutes. Using a paring knife, cut an X into the end of the tomato opposite the stem and

Toss together mozzarella and remaining tablespoon oil. Remove plastic wrap from both rounds of dough and lightly brush dough with oil. Using your hands, carefully flip dough rounds, oiled sides down, onto middle of lightly oiled grill rack and brush top of each with oil.

Grill crusts, uncovered, until undersides are golden brown (rotate them if one side of grill is hotter than the other), 2 to 3 minutes on gas grill or 4 to 6 minutes on charcoal grill. Flip crusts over with tongs and a spatula and top each crust with half of tomato sauce, spreading evenly over dough and leaving a 1/2-inch border around edge. Sprinkle mozzarella evenly over sauce and grill pizzas, covered with grill lid, until undersides are golden brown and cheese is melted, about 3 minutes on gas grill or 5 minutes on charcoal grill. Scatter basil over pizzas. (Adapted from Gourmet, 2003: Grilled Pizza Margherita)

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watermelon, feta & olive salad PREP TIME 20 minutes TOTAL TIME 50 minutes SERVING SIZE 4 servings 3 cups loosely packed arugula 1 cup loosely packed flatleaf parsley leaves 1 cup loosely packed torn mint leaves 1 2-pound piece seedless watermelon, rind removed, cut into 1-inch cubes 20 kalamata olives, smashed, pitted and halved 1 jalapeño, stemmed, seeded and julienned 1/4 small red onion, thinly sliced and soaked in ice water for 30 minutes 4 ounces feta cheese, crumbled (about 1⁄4 cup) 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil 2 limes, halved Coarse sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste In a large bowl, toss together the arugula, parsley and mint. Divide greens among four serving bowls or plates. In a medium bowl, toss together watermelon, olives, jalapeño and onion. Spoon the watermelon mixture, with its juice, evenly over the greens. Sprinkle each salad with some of the feta and drizzle with olive oil. Squeeze one lime half over the top of each salad, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. (Source: Saveur, Watermelon, Feta and Olive Salad)

PHOTOGRAPH BY ELISSE PIERCE

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taste of the south

By Meghan Sherrill Staff Writer

Sweet potatoes, figs, corn grits, basil, rhubarb, paw paws, persimmons and scuppernong grapes. These Southern staples are abundant at Carolina farmers markets, but now they are showing up somewhere else: in beer.

S

e a n L i l y Wi l s o n u s e s locally grown ingredients at Fullsteam Brewery in Durham, N.C., where he works closely with Chris Davis, Fullsteam’s brewmaster, to identify and craft Southern beer. “We are exploring that concept, and every batch of beer that we make gets us further in the process to what it means,” Wilson says. Using local agricultural traditions, Wilson wants to create something distinct from other emerging regional beer flavors because there’s not a strong Southern beer identity. “I want to make sure we aren’t inching toward Cracker Barrel if we went over the top with the flavor of it,” says Wilson. “We want to stay authentic and not be too kitschy or corny.” Wilson’s ideas for experimenting with different ingredients are often influenced by the seasons. “My wife and I have a love of gardening and cooking and knowing what’s about to

be harvested,” Wilson says. “Knowing the season and knowing good food, you get into a rhythm of it all.” Wilson developed a love for using local ingredients after working under Ben and Karen Barker at Magnolia Grill, a James Beard Awardwinning restaurant in Durham. “The possibilities are really endless,” Wilson says. “There is a great agricultural tradition and ingredients to choose from: persimmons, mulberries, paw paws, grains and hops. It is endless.” Despite the wide variety of ingredients, some have proved more difficult to use in brews. “You don’t have success without failure,” says Wilson of the company’s brewing projects. He says there is trial and error with every recipe; it took the company a long time to get the Carver sweet potato brew perfected. The company is working on a radical agricultural experiment — beer made with kudzu. “There is something there because of the grape soda-

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“Those moments where people are having a good time, glasses are being refilled, memories are being made, I sit back and am amazed by it all,” says Wilson.

THE TAVERN Stop by the brewery’s family-friendly tavern in downtown Durham to sample the unique beers and hang out. Visit the company’s website for upcoming concerts, movie showings, food truck schedules and other events.

DIRECTIONS Fullsteam Brewery and Tavern is located at 726 Rigsbee Ave. in Durham, N.C.

Sean Lily Wilson, left, owner of Fullsteam Brewery, and brewmaster Chris Davis are turning traditional Southern ingredients into tasty beers. PHOTOGRAPH BY SEAN LIVING-WATER

scented flower and root that could be fermented,” Wilson says. Right now the brew is still in trial stages because of time constraints and the availability of kudzu. That’s right — availability. Even though it seems like kudzu has choked the Carolinas, it typically grows by the side of the road near exhaust and other debris, and Wilson is concerned with the quality of his ingredients. After exploring the Triangle, Wilson decided to open his brewery and tavern in Durham. “I don’t know where else we could have launched this brewery,” Wilson says. “Durham is such a great center for eating local, going out and entertaining. It’s in this really amazing revival.” Wilson worked to create his tavern, but he says the community defines it. The tavern has a laid-back vibe with mismatched picnic tables, scrap metal artwork and arcade games. A small stage for local music shows and other events runs against the back wall, where floor-to-ceiling

For more information on the brewery as well as the tavern, visit the website at: www.fullsteam.ag

Fullsteam Brewery uses fresh, local ingredients — like rhubarb, scuppernong grapes, and even kudzu — to make distinct beers with a strong Southern identity.

TAVERN HOURS Monday - Thursday 4 p.m. - 10 p.m. Friday noon - midnight Saturday noon - 2 a.m. Sunday noon - 10 p.m.

windows offer a glimpse into the beer production center. The partially walled-off bar area has Fullsteam’s core offerings on tap as well as local guest taps and snacks from area eateries. “There are times where I stop being so busy, stop running around trying to do 20 things at once, and I just sit down off to the side on a chair or something and I watch the crowd and just soak it in,” says Wilson. “These moments where people are having a good time, glasses are being refilled, memories are being made, I sit back and am amazed by it all.”

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Proximity Hotel is a Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED) Platinum green hotel, meaning it takes a whole-building approach to sustainability. Proximity operates through 70+ sustainable practices made possible by a hotel designed to focus on sustainable site development, water savings, energy efficiency, materials selection, indoor environmental quality and innovation in design.

PROXIMITY HOTEL 704 Green Valley Rd. Greensboro, NC 27408 New World Moxie - Old World Hospitality 336.379.8200 proxinfo@proximityhotel.com www.proximityhotel.com

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HOW

SQUEAKY GREEN IS YOUR KITCHEN? By alySSa BaIlEy Staff Writer

I

t’s the hottest room in the house — literally. With stovetop burners flaring to cook dinner, dishwashers jolting to clean dishes and refrigerators rumbling to keep food cool, the kitchen is a hotbed of action, especially in the summer months. But is that energy being spent wisely? “Really maximizing efficiency in your kitchen would mean everything from using appliances in a way that minimizes their energy consumption to minimizing their water consumption,” says Jennifer Thorne Amann, author of “Consumer Guide to Home Energy Savings,” a New Society Publishers book. Amann says more than any other area in the house, the kitchen is ideal for saving energy. “You have a lot of opportunities to save energy and reduce your energy consumption, not just by purchasing more efficient appliances, but by taking care in how you use the appliances,” she says. How do you and your kitchen rank? Answer these questions and then turn to page 72 to see how energy efficient your kitchen is and to learn some tips to make the room even greener. There’s so much you can do, Amann says. “Small changes in behavior and habits can make a big difference in the kitchen.”

1.

When you wash your hands, you use ... A. Hot water B. Cold water C. Hot most of the time, but cold if the water takes too long to heat

2.

When cooking dinner on most evenings, you use ... A. The oven or stove B. The outdoor grill C. The microwave

3.

Your kitchen lighting uses ... A. LED recessed cans B. Incandescent recessed cans C. Compact fluorescent bulbs

4.

Your refrigerator has ... A. A bottom-mount freezer B. A top-mount freezer C. Side-by-side refrigerator and freezer

PHOTOGRAPHS BY (CLOCKWISE FROM ABOVE): PABLO ALCALA, SHAINA MACISAAC, JORDAN PROVOST

5.

When you wash your dishes, you use ... A. Your dishwasher at night B. Your dishwasher twice a day, after lunch and dinner C. Soap and water; you hand wash your dishes

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OTHER TIPS:

1.

A. 3 points B. 1 point C. 2 points

4.

A. 2 points B. 1 point C. 3 points

Cold water is the way to go, Amann says, because heating water expends a lot of energy. And switching from hot to cold water doesn’t mean saving energy but wasting it. “Every time you do that, any hot water left in the pipes cools, and you just wasted the energy that was used to heat that water.” And the idea only hot water kills germs? The New York Times reported a 2005 study found water temperature had no impact on bacteria reduction.

Side-by-side refrigerators use significantly more energy than other models. “You can get the same amount of space in a top-mount, and you would be using at least 20 percent less energy in most cases for those products,” Amann says. “So size and configuration matter.” Amann suggests buying a refrigerator with a top-mount freezer or a bottom-mount freezer as an alternative. “The least preferred option should be a side-byside.”

2.

5.

A. 3 points B. 1 point C. 2 points

Grilling in the summer is a great way to cut back on energy. “It can be very efficient,” Amann says. “And it also doesn’t introduce heat into the space that has to be air conditioned.” Using the microwave or a slow cooker when possible instead of the stove or oven helps as well because both appliances use less energy than a stove — the microwave for its brevity, the slow cooker for its low energy output. But the biggest energy-saver can be in planning meals that don’t require heat, such as a chef’s salad, Amann says.

3.

A. 1 point B. 3 points C. 2 points

Incandescent or halogen lights add a lot of heat to the kitchen, “which is the last room that you want to be adding heat to, given everything else going on there,” Amann says. Compact fluorescent or LED bulbs for recessed cans will cut energy use by over 75 percent. Both types last over 20 years.

A. 1 point B. 2 points C. 3 points

When washing dishes, running the dishwasher during the coolest part of the day saves energy and keeps your home comfortable. “Your dishwasher will add heat and ... a lot of moisture to the air,” Amann says — just what your air conditioner is working against. “It’s dehumidifying as much as it is cooling.” Washing dishes by hand is also a big no, Amann says, because more water is used washing dishes individually.

HOW DID YOU SCORE? 5-7: Green Kudos to you! Your kitchen uses energy efficiently, and you make daily choices to minimize energy use.

8-11: liGht Green Your kitchen is off to a great start, but there are plenty of areas you can make additional energy cuts.

12-15: YelloW Your kitchen may not be green now, but the road to improvement is wide open. Start by making little cuts now.

unplug appliances. Coffee makers, microwaves and small appliances with clocks or soft touch panels still use energy even when they aren’t being used. Unplugging these appliances if the time feature isn’t being used will save a few watts. “And all these watts here and there can really add up,” Amann says. use the stovetop wisely. Use the right size pan or pot for the job and don’t use a larger burner for a small pot, Amann suggests. Keep freezers full and then use energy-saving settings if available. Using the energy-saving setting on refrigerator panels ensures a much better performance by the appliance, Amann says. By also keeping the freezer filled to full storage capacity, less energy will be used because of less open space. “You can put things in your freezer like jugs of water that can help have it full.” Don’t make more ice than you can use. Ice makers are big energy users, and use of them should be minimized, Amann advises.

Be sure to check out Amann’s book, Consumer Guide to Home Energy Savings, to learn how to save energy throughout your home.

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9

ways to green your vacation By lEnnon dodSon Staff Writer/Designer

Going on vacation requires a lot of energy to be consumed, no matter how you travel. Hotels guzzle energy, and planes and cars release pollutants that greatly affect the air we breathe. Check out these tips to green your next vacation.

1.

Take a “staycation� close to home

2.

Travel by bus or by train when possible

3.

Become a native tourist and visit local attractions, such as parks, and museums.

When traveling within a region, take a bus train or bus instead of a commuter plane when possible to reduce your carbon footprint.

Conserve energy at home while gone Unplug appliances, turn off unnecessary lights, and lower the temperature on the furnace and hot water heater to save energy.

4.

Stay at an ecofriendly hotel

5.

Choose a cruiseline that is eco-friendly

6.

Fly on airlines with sustainable policies

Research hotels in the area that range from green-leaning to those aiming for LEED certification.

7.

Rent a car that is eco-friendly

8.

Hire an eco-friendly car or limo service

Consider taking a break from your SUV and rent a hybrid or flexfuel vehicle for your vacation needs.

Cruiselines such as Carnival Cruise Lines go beyond the basic environmental standards by recycling waste when possible.

Visit the websites of various airlines and read up on their environmental practices and policies to find one that best suits your values, such as Continental Airlines and Virgin Atlantic.

Hire a green limo or car service as an easy, ecofriendly way to travel in style while minding carbon emissions.

9.

Frequent busineses that are local Research local restaurants, markets, tours and events in the area to get the best sense of your surroundings.

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Treat Your Dog

The right Way Roy, a goldendoodle puppy, nibbles on a homemade peanut butter doggie biscuit. PHOTOGRAPH BY CAROLANN BELK

By lanEy TIPTon Staff Writer

D

og is man’s best friend. It loves you unconditionally and is excited to see you, even if you’ve only been gone for five minutes. You want a love like that to last. Help your dog get the most out of its life by feeding it well. Eating organic food is good for everyone, including your pets. The treats you buy in the store can be expensive and contain many ingredients that make them anything but natural. These healthy, delicious and organic dog treats can help put a little more wag in your furry friend’s tail. To make this inexpensive and easy recipe, you’ll need blackstrap molasses and organic peanut butter, which can be found at your local grocery store.

What You'll Need

Whole Wheat Flour

Water

Vegetable OIl

Organic Peanut Butter

Rolled Oats

Blackstrap Molasses

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organic Peanut Butter Doggie Biscuits PREP TIME SERVING SIZE

10 minutes 20 treats

1/2 cup organic peanut butter 4 tablespoons blackstrap molasses 1 cup water 6 tablespoons vegetable oil 1 1/2 cups rolled oats, any variety 2 cups whole wheat flour Source: www.squidoo.com

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. In a bowl, combine peanut butter, molasses, water and vegetable oil. In a separate bowl, combine oats and flour. Slowly add dry ingredients to the wet mixture, blending well with your hand or a spoon. Drop teaspoon-sized portions on a baking sheet and flatten with the bottom of a glass or anything you have handy. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until firm.

additional tips If you’re feeling creative, you can sprinkle some flour onto wax paper or the counter and roll out the mixture before the biscuits are baked. Use cookie cutters to cut out shapes and bake as directed above to give your homemade organic dog treats a little more pizzazz. The treats will keep in an airtight container for about two weeks. Remember, these treats are not meant to be a meal replacement for your dog, nor should you fill it up by giving it too many. Limit treats to two or three a day.

Before baking, use cookie cutters in shapes like dog bones to spruce up your treats. Once they are cooked, they will look just like the real thing. PHOTOGRAPH BY CAROLANN BELK

“I make these at least once a week for my dogs Izzy and JJ. I usually make them while I’m cooking dinner. They are quick and easy, and the dogs love them.” — Julia Tipton, 45, from Asheville, N.C. “My dog, Eddie, is really particular about the types of treats he eats — he’s really picky. He usually won’t eat anything I get from the store. These are by far the fastest and easiest treats I’ve made for him, and he loves them.” — Evan Shapiro, 21, from Chapel Hill, N.C.

Evan with his dog, Eddie. PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF EVAN SHAPIRO

“I tried this recipe one day while I was bored, but Rex has been hooked ever since. Every time I get the jar of peanut butter out now, he goes nuts because he knows he’s going to get something special.” — Andrea Stocks, 21, from Raleigh, N.C.

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spend green to live

Twig | Chapel Hill, N.C. By STEPHanIE kElly Staff Writer hawn Slome opened Twig, an environmentally friendly lifestyle boutique, in 2007. He chose a bustling shopping center in Chapel Hill, N.C., as Twig’s location, where the store remains nestled among other small boutiques and a Whole Foods grocery store. Slome, who was born in South Africa and immigrated to Chapel Hill with his family when he was 10 years old, says that the educated, wealthy and progress-oriented population of the town made it the right place for a store like Twig. “I have always been concerned about the waste of our natural resources and lack of concern for the environment,” Slome says. Slome’s parents fostered his interest in the environment and sus-

S

Twig’s owner Shawn Slome promotes eco-consciousness at his store in Chapel Hill. PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF WWW.TWIGLIVING.COM

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our Favorites from twig STAPLE-FREE STAPLER Available in a variety of colors, this tiny office tool packs a big punch. With just one click, you can attach documents without metal staples or any paper waste.

staple-Free stapler $8.95 each

Twig’s convenient location near Whole Foods makes earth-friendly shopping easy. PHOTOGRAPH BY CHRISTIE RAY HARRISON

tainability by living simply. Slome says they always drove small cars, and they were never conspicuous consumers. In the 1970s, Slome attended the first Earth Day celebration and became a vegetarian out of concern for animal welfare. Though he has since reintegrated meat into his diet, Slome continues to be environmentally conscious in both his professional and personal lives. “My wife and I built an energy-efficient solar home, deciding to invest in the new technology without knowing if it would make economic sense,” Slome says. Slome stocks Twig with products that help customers make sustainability and eco-consciousness bigger parts of their daily lives. Slome’s favorite product in the store is the home soda maker, which carbonates drinking water and saves you money, energy and hassle. By making your own beverages, you eliminate single-use bottles and have nothing to lug from the store or to the recycling bin. Twig also provides environmental outreach opportunities for the Chapel Hill community. “We would like to be a community

resource, not just for eco-products but for information, referral networks and empowerment,” Slome says. “We do a big fundraiser each December where we donate 10 percent of our proceeds to area nonprofits.” Twig may be a small store, but the goals and ideas on which it was founded are large. “I don’t like to preach about what people should or should not do,” Slome says. “I hope that people seek truth and beauty, live mindfully and do good.”

Twig is located at 99 S. Elliott Rd. Chapel Hill, N.C., and can be reached at 919.929.8944.

STAINLESS STRAWS Reusability and resilience are two attractive qualities of these straws. Stick them in the dishwasher after use to sanitize them – they won’t melt or get distorted.

stainless straws $10.95 for 4 straws

BAG-E-DRYER Rather than throwing away plastic bags after using them, hang them up to dry on the Bag-E Dryer. Simply slide a baggy upsidedown over one of the eight wooden prongs to let it air dry, then reuse.

Bag-e-Dryer $21.95 each

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By Megan Gassaway Staff Writer It’s mid-June and there is not a strawberry to be found among the rows of strawberry plants that line two acres of Waller Family Farm. Since the end of April, strawberry lovers from near and far have flocked to Durham’s first “u-pick” strawberry farm to scour the fields for the plumpest, most succulent berries. “We stay open as long as there are berries,” says farmer Mark Waller. “We usually close around the middle of June.” Waller has lived on the farm for “50 and a half years – since July 28, 1960,” his birthday, Waller proudly says. His father, who also grew up on the land, originally farmed toThe field, emptied of bacco, but today the farm grows both pickers and strawbereverything from “maters to taters,” with the u-pick ries, marks the end of a sucstrawberry operation cessful harvest for Waller, running from the end but there is no time to Growing strawberries at celebrate. Instead, it’s of April until the Waller Family Farm. time to prepare very last strawfor the 2012 berry has been harvest. picked.

From

to

Summer 1 Preparing the land Waller treats his strawberries as annual crops, so before he can set to work on the 2012 strawberries, he has to pull up last year’s plants. While the fields are being stripped of last year’s crops, Waller collects a soil sample, which he sends to a soil testing facility that is part of the Agronomic Division of North Carolina’s Department of Agriculture. The agency, located near Waller’s alma mater, North Carolina State University, analyzes the soil content, giving Waller a breakdown of the nutrients in his land.

2

Ordering tips Now is also the time for Waller to order “tips” from Ron Cottle of Cottle Strawberry Nursery Inc. in Faison, N.C. When strawberry plants stop producing berries, they grow what is called a runner, which then produces a tip, Waller explains. When planted, the tip takes root and grows into a strawberry plant. This is where Ron Cottle comes into play. Cottle imports tips from Canada and houses them in his farm’s nursery. Cottle tends to the young plants before selling them in trays to Waller and other local farmers. Until the tips arrive, the most important thing Waller does is prepare the ground for planting. With the results from the soil sample, Waller and his farmhands make adjustments to the land by adding lime and fertilizer to the soil.

3 Laying down black plastic and drip tubes Once the land has been infused with nutrients and divided into rows, Waller and his farmhands lay down black plastic and put an irrigation system of drip tubes in the soil. “The tractor with the plastic layer comes and beds the rows, puts the plastic down, puts irrigation tape down and fumigates all at the same time,” Waller says. The black plastic builds up a bed in the soil so that the strawberries are easier to pick and also protects the berries from dirt and heats the plants to make them grow faster, Waller says. Plant

Soil

Black Plastic

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Fall 4

Watching the crops As the seasons change and winter brings colder weather, the strawberry plants lie dormant, but Waller continues to monitor them for critters like spider mites and for weeds. In March, the plants begin to grow again, so Waller pushes fertilizer and water through the drip lines. Waller continues to water the plants as they produce blooms.

Frost-monitoring When the crops reach about four to six blooms per plant (or about 10 percent bloom), Waller begins to monitor for frost. The blooms will survive so long as the temperature remains above 28 degrees, but Waller must ensure that the temperature does not drop below this threshold.

“Throwing Water” Waller chooses to freeze water using an overhead irrigation system to protect his plants from frost. “When I throw water and it freezes, that creates heat,” Waller explains. “As long as my water is running and freezing, my berries will not get below 32 degrees.” But his method does not come without sacrifice. When temperatures dip dangerously low, Waller begins his frost vigil, staying up to monitor the temperature and crank the pump of the irrigation system. Throughout the night, Waller cranks the pump to push water through the 3-inch aluminum pipes that hang above the plants. “The water lands on the plant and will either wash the frost crystals off, or, if it is cold enough, start to freeze,” Waller says. With water freezing at 32 degrees, “the heat generated during this process creates enough heat to keep the bloom at around 30,” he says. “No matter how cold the outside temperature gets, if I keep the water going, the freezing process will protect my blooms from reaching the 28 degree mark,” Waller says.

8 Opening the doors With the fungicides sprayed and the frost kept at bay, the berries continue to ripen and are ready for harvest around the last week of April. At this point, Waller Family Farm opens its doors for strawberry lovers to pick their own basket of fresh strawberries. As customers empty the fields of berries and the harvest season comes to a close, farmer Mark Waller counts his blessings, considers the successful harvest and starts the process all over again.

6

Winter

Planting After the land has been prepared for next year’s plants, Waller waits until the last week of September to plant the strawberry tips. Planting involves two large pieces of machinery and three sets of hands. The tractor pulls a planter with two seats on the back of it. As the tractor navigates the rows of black plastic, the planter knocks holes into the plastic and waters the freshly made holes. Two farmhands, seated at the back of the planter, complete the process by placing the young tips into the ground. The plants are then watered until they take root and the rest is up to Mother Nature, Waller says.

5

7

Spraying the plants Freezing water shields his plants from frost, but frost is not Waller’s only concern, especially as the temperatures grow warmer and the blooms turn into strawberries. Wary of fungus that can crop up during this time, Waller sprays his plants with a variety of fungicides. “We keep it mixed so we don’t develop a fungicide-resistant strain of fungus,” Waller says. The farm is not organic, but Waller describes his approach as minimal use. “We only use the safest products and only when we have to use them,” Waller says. “We spray to prevent rather than cure because if you can see fungus, it’s too late. You have lost that berry.”

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This Summer’s Splendor Blackberry Jam BY HANNAH TAYLOR Staff Writer

O

n the eastern shore of Lake Keowee in Pickens County, the northeastern corner of South Carolina, there is a pick-your-own berry farm ripe and overflowing with blueberries, blackberries, figs and elderberries. A long driveway leads up to the farm, which is anchored by a sagging one-story tenant house built around 1937. It is from the back porch of this structure that Walker Miller and his “berry bunch-

ers” sell plump berries by the bucket from June through early September. “We can’t hardly go anywhere without someone saying, ‘I’ve seen you at the Happy Berry farm,’” Miller says. That’s probably because in 2010 alone, about 4,900 carfuls of visitors came to visit the farm that Miller and his wife, Ann, established in 1979. Miller says that on a busy day about 100 cars are parked on the farm. Visitors flock to the

Happy Berry farm for buckets of pre-picked fruit or for the experience of picking their own berries. “We like to encourage people to graze,” Miller says of visitors who sample berries off the bushes as they pick them. “There’s no better way to learn what a ripe fruit is. When people eat that garbage they sell in the grocery store, they have no sense of what a sweet berry is.” Visitors are encouraged to bring their own containers and pick at their leisure. When they return to the tenant house to pay with buckets full and fingers stained a rosy hue from berry juice, they can contribute to a “sin bucket” to atone for grazing. All of the money goes to a local charity, usually Hospice Foundation of America. The first planting on the berry farm was in 1981, but for Miller, owning his own farm has been a dream since youth. Miller grew up in rural Pennsylvania, where he worked as an extra hand on cattle farms as well as fruit farms, tending to apples, peaches and cherries. Enamored with horticulture class in high school, he decided to study plant science in college, acquiring a doctorate in plant pathology and plant physiology from the University of Delaware. When he got his first paying job as an extension specialist for Clemson University, Miller began saving $25 from every paycheck, and he and Ann began searching for land to put down roots – berry bush roots, that is. Eventually the Millers had enough capital to start their farm on land that is still scattered with arrowheads from the 18th century when Cherokees lived on the land. Miller is now 70 years old, but he still works year-round on the farm. He and Ann, along with their two daughters, Zoe and Bet-

PHOTOGRAPH BY SUSY MORRIS

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ty-Ann, team up to run the family business. His daughters help maintain the website and finances. “You know, I don’t really work for money,” Miller says. “If you have a roof over your head and significant relationships and a sense of doing something that’s good for the world, I’m contributing to the betterment of mankind.”

Visitors flock to the Happy Berry farm for buckets of pre-picked fruit or to pick their own berries.

THE HAPPY BERRY, INC. CONTACT: Website: www.thehappyberry.com Farm Address: 510 Gap Hill Road Six Mile, S.C. 29682 HOURS OF OPERATION (Beginning in June): Monday-Friday: 8 a.m. to dusk Saturday: 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday: Noon to dusk

For most of the year, blackberries are one of the most expensive items at the market. But for one glorious window of time during the summer, they are readily available and inexpensive. To prolong the melt-in-yourmouth taste of summer, make your own blackberry jam the Happy Berry farm way and savor the flavor into fall. Stir in blackberries. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap, folding back one edge to allow steam to escape. Microwave on high for 3 minutes, or until sugar dissolves, stirring twice.

blackberry jam PREP TIME 5 minutes COOK TIME 23 minutes

Microwave covered on high for 10 minutes.

(plus 8 hours refrigeration)

SERVING SIZE 1 2/3 cups

Uncover and microwave 8 minutes or until thickened.

1 cup sugar 1 teaspoon lemon juice 4 cups fresh blackberries

Stir and set mixture aside to cool for 15 minutes. Store the mixture in the refrigerator overnight. The jam will stay fresh for spreading on toast and crackers for one month.

In a 2-quart microwavesafe bowl, microwave sugar and lemon juice on high for 2 minutes, or until sugar is warm.

How Your Fruits Stack Up In the South, blackberries typically peak in June, so now is the time to put on your wide-brimmed hat and go picking! Blackberries are ripe when their skin transitions from a glossy sheen to a dark, dull purple or black.

Prematurely picked blackberries are sour and have less than half the immunity-boosting anthocyanins as ripe berries. Anthocyanins are antioxidant compounds shown to prevent cancer, gastric ulcers, coronary heart disease and more.

Anthocyanins

Calories

(mg per 100 g)

(cal per 100 g)

Blackberries

89-211

43.8

Blueberries

67-183

99.3

Red Grapes

25-92

166.2

Red Raspberries

10-84

256.1

Strawberries

15-75

244.9

Red Wine

1-35

126.8

Fruit

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peachy keen indulge in this homespun peach cobbler to really get a taste of the season’s sweetest fruit. By EMIly nyCuM Staff Writer

P

eaches are a staple in the Southern kitchen, and, during the summer, their juicy sweetness is essential for anyone with a sweet tooth. At McLeod Farms, peaches are the signature fruit, with 30 varieties grown among an assortment of other fruits and vegetables. Yellow, white and Cary Mac peaches stretch for 700 acres. The family-run business in McBee, S.C., just over an hour northeast of Columbia, has been in the peach business since 1916, selling their Mac’s Pride brand peaches. While the farm has grown tremendously over the years and now ships to locations near and far, McLeod Farms still has their roadside market, located only a few minutes away. Stop by their market for fresh produce, baked goods like apple crumb pie and jarred products ranging from strawberry jam to peach salsa. When you have had your pick of their selection, sit on their wrap-around porch with a scoop of locally made ice cream. With peach harvesting beginning in late May, this time of year is the best season to find them fresh and ripe and to cook them up into delicious pies, cakes and cobblers.

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This peach cobbler recipe stands among many award-winning recipes provided by McLeod Farms and is a classic to keep in the recipe book. “The best part of the recipe is the peaches!� says owner Gaie McLeod. The folks at McLeod Farms like to put a scoop of vanilla ice cream on their cobbler, she says. With a doughy crust and sweet, gooey peaches, every bite will remind you of the warmth and sweetness of summertime.

Photographs by Emily Nycum

peach cobbler PREP TIME 45 minutes SERVING SIZE 8-10

Filling 1/2 1/2 1/2 1/8 8 12

cup white sugar cup brown sugar teaspoon cinnamon teaspoon nutmeg teaspoons cornstarch fresh peaches, peeled, pitted and sliced

2 3/4 1/2 2

cups flour cup white sugar cup brown sugar teaspoons baking powder teaspoon salt sticks (12 tablespoons) chilled butter, cut into small pieces cup boiling water

Crust

1 1 1/2

1/2

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. In a large pot, mix the white sugar, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and cornstarch for the filling.

Add the peaches, stir gently. Cook over medium heat until thickened and bubbly, being sure to stir often. Reduce heat to very low and continue to keep warm as the crust is being made. In a different large mixing bowl, combine the flour, 1/2 cup of the white sugar, brown sugar, baking powder and salt for the crust. Add the butter and mix until it looks like coarse meal. Add hot water and stir until the mixture is smooth. Ladle the peach mixture into a large baking dish (approximately 13 x 9 inches). Drop spoonfuls of the crust over the peaches. Sprinkle the top with the remaining 1/4 cup of white sugar. Bake 30 minutes or until the crust is golden. Enjoy with vanilla ice cream!

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Carolina Fresh