September 17, 2014

About Ray Linville

Ray Linville writes and lectures on regional culture, including foodways and folklife. He has taught in the N.C. Community College System as a professor of English and humanities and served on the board of the N.C. Folklore Society. Read more about Ray’s ramblings at his blog: Sights, Sounds and Tastes of the American South.

Learning About Cheese Making (and Feeding a Baby Goat)

Newborn kids are part of the family for owner Linda Seligman who sleeps nearby. It takes about four hours to bottle-feed all the newborn babies.

by Ray Linville To watch cheese being made, taste some artisan cheese samples, and take home a package or two, I headed to the Blue Ridge area of our state to travel part of the Western North Carolina Cheese Trail. Little did I expect to be bottle-feeding a day-old baby goat. Within minutes after arriving at Round Mountain Creamery near Black Mountain, NC, I was holding a full bottle of warm milk for an eager kid … [Read more...]

Mountain Trout Is N.C. Good

Trout from Sunburst is enjoyed at home after the visit.

by Ray Linville Imagine fishing in a fast-flowing, rocky mountain stream and reeling in trout for dinner. Such experiences have always been part of the food culture in the Blue Ridge region, whether for the Cherokee with prehistoric ties to its hills and streams or the families who settled there after the Trail of Tears campaign evicted most Cherokee from their tribal territory. Visitors today can easily … [Read more...]

Foods Made in N.C. Often Continue Family Traditions

The slogan of “Got to Be NC” is prevalent throughout the food exposition.

by Ray Linville Have you ever wandered through a festival that showcases the best flavors and tastes of North Carolina? Imagine attending an event that highlights the best of N.C. agriculture and celebrates specialty foods made in our state. The three-day, family-friendly Got to Be NC Festival  held each May at the State Fairgrounds in Raleigh draws attention to food creations of long-standing as well newly … [Read more...]

Simmering Stew Brings a Community Together

A tasty pot of Brunswick stew draws a crowd in Mount Gilead.

by Ray Linville The center of small town is not always a town hall, courthouse, or church. Sometimes it’s a pot of bubbling stew as it is each fall in Mount Gilead, a community of slightly more than 1,000 residents in Montgomery County. Although the community is small, just about everyone knows about the Brunswick stew served when Brown’s Hardware has its open house. Incorporated in 1899, Mount Gilead … [Read more...]

Sweet Potatoes: Providing Fresh Food for the Needy

Sweet potatoes number in the hundreds of varieties that range from white and mild to dark red and very sweet. Omar Quintamilla, driver of the truck, cuts open a sweet potato to show that it is a white variety.

by Ray Linville North Carolina produces about half of all the sweet potatoes grown in the United States, and it has consistently ranked as the top producing state for more than 30 years. More than half of the state’s sweet potatoes are grown in only three counties – Sampson, Nash, and Johnston. These counties in eastern N.C. are prime growing locations with their rich, fertile soil and their hot, moist … [Read more...]

Lumbee Fish Market: As Fresh as Being on the Coast

A quick fry prepares the croaker for supper.

by Ray Linville Drive to the beach along U.S. Highway 74 and tune in a local radio station. If you do, you might hear an ad for Lumbee Fish Market in Pembroke  that is so intriguing that you want to visit. It’s a market with fish that you might not expect in a location about two hours inland from coastal waters. Native Americans have lived in this region for centuries because streams and artesian wells … [Read more...]

Time for Persimmon Pudding

Persimmons recently picked and on display at the Colfax Persimmon Festival.

by Ray Linville Cool temperatures mean fall fruits and vegetables. When the summer temperatures drop, one tree becomes more noticeable as its round fruit ripens and takes on an orange-brown hue. Is it time to pick persimmons and make pudding? Many of us remember days from childhood when we asked if the persimmons could be picked. Impatiently we had to wait until the fruit was ready. Picked too early, persimmons … [Read more...]

Food, Service, and Prices from Yesterday at the Chicken Coop

Charlotte-Meckenberg police make lunch at Price’s easy – both sides of the street are limited to 30-minute parking and no other on-street business is permitted.

by Ray Linville A few places serving food in our state are caught in a time warp and remain unchanged since the days that they opened. Price’s Chicken Coop, established in 1962, in the South End of Charlotte is definitely one. Seeing the name of Chicken Coop, you know exactly what to order. The classic southern dish is fried chicken. Although just about every home in the South has a favorite family recipe, in … [Read more...]

New Farmers in North Carolina: Karen Refugees

Before being placed in the ground, plants are nurtured in the greenhouse by Karen farmers

by Ray Linville More than 14,000 refugees have been resettled in North Carolina in the past decade, according to the U.S. Office of Refugee Resettlement. As these refugee communities grow, they are beginning to transform food traditions of our state and expand the agricultural offerings at farmers’ markets and farm-to-home deliveries provided through community-supported agriculture. Just last year more than 2,000 … [Read more...]

Festival of the Peach: Candor Is the Scene

Fresh peaches in quantities from a quart to half bushel are ready to take home.

by Ray Linville Communities that spread over a multi-county area often unite each year for a common celebration. For the N.C. peach community, that event occurs on the third Saturday in July in Candor, a small town in Montgomery County that brings everyone in the peach-growing Sandhills region together. Although Candor is the home of fewer than 900 residents, it hosts the N.C. Peach Festival because the peach is … [Read more...]