July 25, 2016

A Gift from the Cake Lady

Text and images by Evan Hatch I just left Tommy and Adell Coley’s house in Baptist Grove, near Fuquay Varina, North Carolina. I interviewed Mrs. Coley for a folklife field study that NC Folk is conducting for the Harnett County Arts Council.  Adell is the first of almost 30 area artists and tradition bearers to be interviewed. Before I was invited into her home at 8 am that morning, all I knew about her was … [Read more...]

Finding Festival Food in Vanceboro

Photos and Images by Leanne E. Smith The Vanceboro Strawberry Festival & Rescue Day celebrates its namesake fruit, but it is also a fundraiser and outreach event for the Vanceboro Rescue Squad.  The town has a population of around 1,000 people, and it is centrally located between several other Eastern NC towns, being about 26 miles from Greenville in Pitt County and 19 from Washington in Beaufort County, both … [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...]

Collard-Stealing Night

by Sarah Bryan Here in North Carolina we’ve eaten up the winter collard greens, and are eagerly anticipating the early spring crop. Thinking about collards put us in mind of a tradition we learned about some years back, Collard-Stealing Night. Though it may have been practiced in various parts of North Carolina, it seems to have been most especially a Pender County “thing.” (The following text is excerpted from … [Read more...]

Feasting at the 10th Annual Oyster Roast and Shrimp Steam at the Ocracoke Seafood Company

by Leanne E. Smith     Seventy-degree weather on December 30? With some slight southerly breezes blowing off of Silver Lake, and a well-timed break in the day’s rain, it was a great day to gather around sheets of plywood propped on sawhorses in anticipation of oysters, shrimp, stews, and hushpuppies outside the Ocracoke Seafood Company for the 10th annual Ocracoke Oyster Roast and … [Read more...]

Benne for Good Luck

by Sarah Bryan   As Christmas of 2015 approached, I discovered yet another reason to be glad that I work for NC Folk. I already knew that my colleagues, Executive Director Joy Salyers and Director of Programs and Development Evan Hatch, are great folks to work with: they’re kind, smart, and deeply dedicated to NC Folk’s work of preserving and promoting the traditional cultures of North Carolina. What I … [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...]

Pickle Willie Cinnamon Cucumber Rings

  by Joy Salyers On October 27th, I headed to Sophia, NC just outside Asheboro for the Resourceful Communities annual convening. I took along Program and Development Director Evan Hatch, and as we drove through the absolutely stunning fall foliage of the Uwharries region of the state, I tried to explain to him what a treat he was in for. Resourceful Communities is a program of the Conservation Fund and … [Read more...]

Scuppernongs and Other Muscadines Are Ready

  by Ray Linville     It’s scuppernong time. The historic grape is ripe and ready across the state in grocery stores, at roadside stands, and from u-pick-it vineyards—along with other varieties of the muscadine. Autumn means it’s time to appreciate and enjoy these indigenous grapes. They sustained Native Americans, European explorers and colonists, enslaved and indentured workers, … [Read more...]

Big Oak Drive In & BBQ

by Deborah Miller A long weekend on Emerald Isle was in the works and as visions of sun, sand, and seafood swam in my imagination, a light bulb moment pushed through the haze of vacation anticipation. NC Food was about to publish a guest post by John E. Batchelor, author of Chefs of the Coast: Restaurants & Recipes from the North Carolina Coast.  Could we coordinate a dual post of one of the restaurants in … [Read more...]