Locals loved local Valentine’s fare

February 17, 2010 at 5:28 pm 3 comments

By Carol Peppe Hewitt

Some might say locavores are unrealistic, and that in the winter we would starve. But Valentine’s Day in Pittsboro proved the skeptics wrong. There was snow on the ground, yet inside a bright, airy, festive room at Chatham Mills over a hundred people dined on a three-course, gourmet meal that was at least 80% local food and drink.

Ann's tarts in the works

Our Sunday I Love u Lunch was completely sold out. I had hoped for about 40-60 people, but by Friday we were at 101 (we could seat 96) and I was getting calls begging me to add more. I turned away a local official, several close friends, two of the farmers who had grown some of the food we were eating, and a walk-in, a gentlemen who had come all the way from Greensboro, was put to work as a volunteer.

This was meant to be a smallish pilot event, a first collaboration with Slow Foods Triangle, Chatham Mills, the Abundance Foundation, ECO, and several Chatham farmers and caterers – but we ended up feeding about 100 attendees, and a dozen volunteers. The food got good reviews, and the noisy sound of happy chatter drowned out the IPod singing love songs from the corner.

There were even local early camelias on the tables, cut at Sugar Lake Nursery. (They used to be only a wholesaler, but lately with an appointment they’ll let you come buy camelias right from their greenhouses. Good luck choosing : pink, white, red, spring bloomers, fall bloomers, winter bloomers…. I came home with a red and white variegated spring one, and a bucket of blossoms for the tables.)

Here’s the final menu:

  • Soups from Angelina’s Kitchen: Avglemono, Greek Chicken Soup, (Harlands Creek Farm chickens, Hoganvillaea’s eggs, Bennett Farm Lemons) or Butternut Squash, Carrot Green Chile Soup (Cottle Farm squash via ECO, Rocky River Farm carrots, Piedmont BioFarm chiles)
  • Baker+Farmer Duck Egg Dinner Rolls (Duck Run Farm duck eggs) and Mrs. Scurlock’s Sweet Potato Pecan Muffins (sweet potatoes via ECO).
  • Roasted Root Vegetable and Goat Cheese Tarts ( Rutabaga via ECO, Edible Earthscapes beets, local market eggs, Maple View Farm Buttermilk, rosemary, baked by Ann Silverman)
  • Mixed Salad Greens (Asian greens from ECO, Piedmont BioFarm Winter Salad Mix, Screech Owl Greenhouse mixed lettuces)
  • Scratch Baking’s Beet Chiffon Pies with local Whipped Cream

This was too much fun not to do again soon. I am already hatching new plans. Next time I will make sure the farmers can attend, and I will also invite them to bring whatever they can spare to create a mini-market of local meat and veggies. Much of the produce was donated this time, but next time, we’re paying for it. Local sustainable farmers deserve support, not only in helping them get their names out there, but also by putting cash in their hands, and that I will do happily and gratefully.

So keep an eye out for our March luncheon date, come hungry, and bring a shopping bag!

Entry filed under: Carol Peppe Hewitt, Sustainable Farming, Sustainable Food.

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3 Comments Add your own

  • 1. lyleestill  |  February 19, 2010 at 8:17 am

    Wow. I’m sorry I missed it. I heard your “celebrity wait staff” was top flight. I’m happy to help on the next one.

  • 2. Camille  |  February 20, 2010 at 10:28 am

    What a great idea – showcasing local food in the middle of winter to spread awareness of the wealth of farms in this area.

    After reading this, went right over to Edible Earthscapes and secured my spot in their (May – October) CSA!

    Camille Armantrout
    The Abundance Foundation

  • 3. Cooking for the Mob « sustainable grub  |  March 1, 2010 at 12:08 am

    […] twist) and joined the fun along with Susan and Ann (who baked those delicious tarts at the recent  I Love u Lunch). Yours truly (a.k.a. Sweet Potato-San) was there to follow their instructions and try not to do […]


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