April 18, 2014

Pepper Preservation: Two Experiments


by Laura Fieselman Tomorrow is the new moon, and for those who plant by tradition the Farmers' Almanac indicates it's time to set out the very first plants of the season (which would be peas). But this year it seems like the frosts just keep on coming and coming and coming ... we're sharing a post by Laura Fieselman harkening back to that first frost of winter, reminding us that no matter the season, you've got to … [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...]

Coke Is It: A Love Story


by Sarah Bryan It’s a moment that a lot of Southerners have had: when folks from somewhere else single out a characteristic of our speech or behavior that is evidently outlandish to the rest of the world, but that, until that moment, we hadn’t realized was at all weird. “You carried your grandmother to the store? Like, in your arms? On your back?” “What do you mean the collards aren’t done? They’ve been boiling for … [Read more...]

Boiled Peanuts, A Southern Tradition


by Elena Rosemond-Hoerr The dog days of summer, as the hot and humid late summer days are often called, inspire in me a deep seated desire to swampify myself. For as long as I can remember my family migrated to the coastal town of Morehead City in the late summer to camp out in the family home affectionately referred to as the Swamp House. The Swamp House is an old fireman's cottage that sits on stilts in the low … [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...]

Heirloom Seeds and Plants: Preserving State Food Traditions


Do you wish that you could grow the same vegetables that Grandma grew? The flavors that she tasted and the nutrients that she enjoyed are legendary, and many of us reminisce about how we miss the flavors of yesteryear. Because this desire to appreciate traditional foods is growing, a cultural movement to preserve heirloom seeds and plants has slowly but increasingly developed in our state. Efforts in the western … [Read more...]

Finding the Source of Your Food

Farm tour sign directs visitors upon arrival to the farm property,
which includes the 150-year-old farmhouse in the background.

by Ray Linville When you eat in a restaurant, do you think about the farms that provide your meal? An excellent way to visit the source of your food is the annual farm tours conducted in our state. Earlier this year I explored several farms as part of the Piedmont Farm Tour, held on the final weekend every April by the Carolina Farm Stewardship Association. This tour is one of two in North Carolina – the other … [Read more...]

June is North Carolina Blueberry Month


By Frances Dowell The civilized blueberry moved to North Carolina in the early half of the 20th century. Wild blueberries have been growing in the piney woods of the eastern shores since the beginning of time (or thereabouts), but it wasn’t until one Harold Huntington of Montclair, NJ, cleared a thousand acres in Pender County in 1936 that blueberries were actually cultivated in the Old North State. Huntington, a … [Read more...]

Mama’s Tea


by Jefferson Currie My mama, Jerri, doesn’t really like ice tea much (I know that most spell it iced tea, but with that d and t next to each other, that’s not really what it sounds like), and I realize that to some southerners that is a kind of sacrilege, so it always struck me as a loving gesture that she would make a new batch for her family every time the pitcher in the refrigerator ran low. I like ice tea, but I … [Read more...]



Elizabeth Weigand is one of my favorite food writers. She's so good at what she does that I can darn near taste whatever she's writing about as well as exploring the culture and lore behind it. I was so excited when she agreed to let us use a blog post she wrote on Shrimp and Grits Outer Banks-style back in September 27, 2012. If this doesn't have you running out for a bowl, I don't know what will. Enjoy! Deborah … [Read more...]