May 5, 2016

First Local Berries of the Season

By Ray Linville Finding locally grown strawberries is a sure sign that spring has arrived. As I was driving in the Monkey Junction area of Wilmington on the last weekend in March, I noticed a berry stand that had been closed for months was open. North Carolina, the third largest producer of strawberries in the United States, has the country’s largest fresh market for strawberries. Finding fresh local … [Read more...]

Manny’s Universal Cafe

by Evan Hatch The Southside neighborhood in downtown Greensboro, North Carolina, stands as a prime example of successful urban revitalization.  Historic homes line the landscape, interspersed with historic businesses and combined commercial/residential properties. Urban planning experts often cite Southside as an example of renewal done right. A 2003 winner of the National Planning Award for Implementation from … [Read more...]

Smokey’s BBQ Shack

by Evan Hatch One Wednesday, after a North Carolina Folklife Institute Board of Directors meeting, a great hunger announced its presence. I wanted barbecue.  When asked of a good local spot, President André Nabors replied, “Smokey’s.” Mr. Nabors was only working under assumption - he’d not yet had Smokey’s BBQ. But when I asked its location, his answer convinced me to try it. “It’s on the right down Chapel … [Read more...]

Recalling Fishing Camps of the Past

by Ray Linville   Fishing camps in eastern North Carolina were once where farmers could seek short-term employment in the fishing industry when the season arrived and, as described by NCpedia, “make a pile of money” by catching fish. Some camps were built on the coast, and nets were set from the beach to capture seasonal runs of several fish species. Other camps were built by sounds and their … [Read more...]

Keeping the Business in the Family

by Ray Linville A nondescript building on a rural road is not the typical place where I stop for food. In Rennert, a town of fewer than 400 residents in Robeson County, I found “E.&H. Bar.B.Q. Hut” painted on a faded, decades-old Coca-Cola sign on a whitewashed structure that marked my destination. Although another sign in a window where walk-up customers once were served says, “No Trespassing,” a window … [Read more...]

Get Out Your Calendars!

  It may be hard to believe while it's still so cold outside, but fields, orchards, and arbors in North Carolina will soon be turning those amazing shades of young, bright green that last only a few precious days before the real warmth of spring sets in.  Here at NC Folk we're already thinking about the agricultural festivals that await in 2016, showcasing the wealth of products that grow in North Carolina. … [Read more...]

Diner Food and Motorcycles

  By Ray Linville   What about cold temperatures makes us hungry for hot, homemade soup? When you’re traveling on a chilly winter day, do you look for a diner and hope that it has freshly made, steaming hot soup ready to serve?   As I was traveling on U.S. Highway 64 near the eastern edge of Asheboro in Randolph County, I spotted an interesting-looking two-story building. On one side … [Read more...]

Livermush Monday at the Grocery Basket & Grill in Ferguson, NC

by Leanne E. Smith At the Grocery Basket & Grill in Ferguson, North Carolina, Labor Day Monday is Livermush Monday. On the day after the Happy Valley Fiddler’s Convention, Livermush Monday is a somewhat new music gathering celebrating an older foodways tradition and the longtime local eatery. Traveling from the festival towards Wilkesboro, the first left after the parking lot shared by the Ferguson Fire … [Read more...]

Starting the New Year with Food (and Politics)

  by Ray Linville   A community can come together on special occasions, such as New Year’s Day. When the “good luck” foods of the South are provided free by elected officials and political candidates, the crowd can swell and create a huge waiting line, just the perfect opportunity for politicians to meet and greet voters and constituents to chat with their … [Read more...]

Boiled Peanuts for Sale

by Ray Linville   What makes boiled peanuts so enjoyable in the Old North State? “Boiling peanuts brings out a kind of mellowness to the nut which is ... like tasting ripeness in a pear,” says food historian David Shields.   Peanuts, planted in May, are ready for harvest in September and October. Although raw in the shell and roasted varieties are popular, this state has a long-standing … [Read more...]