Locavore cuisine with an international flavor

June 26, 2009 at 8:50 am 2 comments

Being a locavore in a place like Pittsboro NC doesn’t mean that you only get to eat Southern home cooking.  Far from it.  Here on the rural edge of the Research Triangle area with its major universities and global companies, we have an amazingly diverse population (one of my UNC colleagues told me he was the only one in his Chapel  Hill cul de sac who speaks English as a first language).  So  we have our share of ethnic eateries, and the best of them source their ingredients from local farmers. We’re lucky:  we can eat local and savor global at the same time.

Consider Kerala Curry, the growing Indian condiment and packaged-entree company based here. One taste of their mango or tomato chutneys, or one of their chicken curry dishes, and you know it’s the real Indian deal.  Owners Ann and Rollo Varkey, from Kerala in Southern India, live in Pittsboro, shop most of their ingredients from the State Farmers Market in Raleigh, manufacture their products in Burlington, and produce their labels in Clayton. They use no preservatives or artifical coloring.

Kerala has plenty of customers throughout the Triangle, through Southern Seasons, Whole Foods, Weaver Street and Chatham Marketplace, and you’ll find them at the local Shakori Music festivals.  They also  ship to retail supermarkets and gourmet shops in 25 states.

Last year their tomato chutney won first place in the condiment competition at the Fancy Food Show in New York. Slather some on a cracker with cream cheese and you’ll understand why.

I first discovered Kerala when I was attempting to duplicate former Chatham  Marketplace Chef Jeff Barney’s “pork loin roast with mango chutney reduction.” I didn’t have the patience to try to create my own mango chutney and I tried several store-bought varieties until I found Kerala Curry’s version right under my nose at Chatham Marketplace.  I mixed some into the pan drippings from a pork roast, threw in some white wine and cooked it until it bubbled down. Voila, mango  chutney reduction, not as good as Chef Jeff’s of course, but not bad for an amateur. One of my friends makes a tangy cheese ball by mixing Kerala mango  chutney with cream cheese.

You can read all about Kerala Curry in Andrea Weigl’s feature in the News and Observer.

Entry filed under: Sustainable Food.

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2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. David Huppert  |  July 2, 2009 at 3:30 pm

    Hi — I really enjoy your blog. Keep up the great work. I work for UNC TV and thought you may be interested in this:

    UNC-TV’s piece on the astounding Farm to Fork picnic will air this evening, at 7:30 on UNC-TVs program, North Carolina Now.

    PS — The story will be posted on our website, http://www.unctv.org/ncnow sometime next week. Let me know if you would like a head’s up when it’s finally online.

    Have a great Fourth of July!

    David Huppert
    Assignment Editor
    UNC-TV | North Carolina Now

  • 2. sustainablegrub  |  July 3, 2009 at 2:49 pm


    Thanks for your kind note and the heads up. Your blog is making me hungry!



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