I eat a lot. I’ve traveled a lot. I’ve been to numerous Taste of X events around this great world. The Farm to Fork 2010 picnic was without a doubt, the best food festival I have ever attended. It might have been too good. I don’t remember the last time I ate until my stomach hurt.
Let me set the scene for you, I wish I had a better understanding of how the whole operation worked before I arrived. Basically, you pay your advance ticket price, $50 for Slow Food members and $60 for non-members. That price covers ALL of the unlimited samples at the event from dozens of farmer/chef pairs that have been matched up, as well as the unlimited samples from craftspeople–the chocolatiers, salumi makers, etc. Full glasses of wine and beer were available for purchase at $5. About 30 vendor booths formed a horseshoe. You arrive, you walk from booth to booth, taking samples of fine tapas style treats. Heaven.
This food festival kicked butt for so many reasons, but what I adore the most is the incredible spirit of community at the heart of it all. Some of best chefs in the state (and the country, for that matter) came out to a field in Hurdle Mills, NC to serve a sampling of their locally sourced goodies for a fundraising event to benefit the Center for Environmental Farming Systems. This NC State-based organization exists to basically make the world a better place. It seeks to grow local economies through food. Yum.
So many food geniuses created so many memorable food experiences. Chocolate and Local Beet Pavé from Dolly Mama; Cane Creek Beef Shortrib Sliders on scratch biscuits from Saxapahaw General Store; Broccoli and Radish filled dumplings from Panciuto…the list goes on. I think I might have been able to eat my way through 2/3 of the vendors-that’s it. Note: Pace yourself next year.
Never in a million years did I expect to see Karen & Ben Barker (Magnolia Grill) serving up smoked trout with lettuce puree and local pickled veggies or Scott Crawford (Herons) pouring freshly made strawberry gazpacho into a biodegradable cup for me. The lovely dudes from soon to open FULLSTEAM brewery in Durham shared their to die for take on my favorite summer brew, Berliner Weisse, in the form of their Caroliner Weisse. They call it Liborius Gollhardt, a sour rhubarb beer sweetened with a mulberry syrup that was the perfect digestif for this little piggy. Click here for a list of other Plow to Pint beers that didn’t make it to what has been, so far, my favorite food day of 2010.
Here are some shots. Enjoy.