Posts filed under ‘Events’

Pittsboro Pepper Power


Invite a dozen local farmers to harvest more than a thousand pounds of peppers, pork and produce. Urge two dozen creative chefs, brewers and distillers to concoct special nibbles and swigs. Blend with live music and games.  Add in sun and blue sky.

Those were the magic ingredients that drew more than a 1,000 hungry, thirsty revelers to the seventh annual Pepper Festival. It was a memorable Sunday afternoon at Briar Chapel’s new Great Meadow neighborhood, and another opportunity to celebrate the heat and light sown by one amazing  foodshed.

That’s what the Pepper Festival is all about.  And Abundance NC, WUNC, Briar Chapel and other community sponsors delivered once again.

Pepper Fest originated in tiny Pittsboro as a taste test for new localized pepper varieties adapted by Doug Jones, the genius cultivator behind Piedmont Biofarm. The celebration has grown into an annual harvest, cooking and brewing rite. This year’s Fall ritual featured Jones’ Tobago, described as a “seasoning pepper, huge on flavor (not unlike Habanero), but tiny on heat.” In other words, delicious and digestible.


Farmer Doug and his Tobago peppers

Tobago flavored the secret sauce pleasing palates all afternoon at food booths circling the meadow. We tasted peppers everywhere. We found them pureed, sauteed, chopped and blended. They seasoned pork and polenta, sausage sliders, beefy snacks, and spicy soups. Even the local brews, wines and spirits were pepper-infused, which turned out to be a pleasant surprise.

Emcees Eric Hodge of WUNC Morning Edition and Bryan Welch of the Utne Reader kept it real on stage. Phil Cook and Christy Smith provided a mellow mix of live original tunes. And we applauded the new Pepper King and Queen (Phil Cook and Kristy Yule), for selling so many festival tickets.

As always, the real stars were the farmers and chefs who served up fresh, inspired fare, and the festival-goers who ate it up.

Thanks to:

Piedmont Biofarm, Bennett Farming, Dutch Buffalo Farm, Fiddlead Farm, Gladstone Acres, Granite Springs, Okfuskee Farms, Penny Lane, Dog Day, and Screech Owl Greenhouse. And 518 West, Angelina’s Kitchen, Cackalacky, CCCC Natural Chefs, City Tap, Cottage Lane Kitchen, Fair Game Beverage, Fearrington Granary, Fiction Kitchen, Galloway Ridge, Glass Half Full, Green Planet Catering, La Residence, Lilly Den, Little Hen, Lucky 32, Mystic, Oakleaf, Provence, P.G Werth, Small Potatoes, Top of the Hill, Tribeca Tavern and Vimala’s Curryblosson Café.

October 7, 2014 at 12:45 pm Leave a comment

Eat, drink, fund the foodshed


UPDATE: Supper tickets to this are sold out, but you can still attend, drink some brew and make a $10 donation to support the cause.

Friends, this is a no brainer. I love eating seasonal food raised on local farms. Especially when it’s served in a local eatery. I’ve been  dying for a quench of that new Cackalacky Ginger Pale Ale at FullSteam in Durham. And who wouldn’t want to chip in to support new community-based funds for newbie local farms and food enterprises, through  great local orgs like Slow Money NC, the Abundance Foundation and Carolina Farm Stewardship Association?

Looks like I’ll get to do all of this and more by plunking down $15 at FullSteam Brewery, Jan. 27 at 7 pm.  A little extra for the brew. What a deal, all part of a new dinner series called Funds to Farms.  And you can join in the fun. Here’s how it works.

The first Funds to Farms event will be a buffet style, sit-down meal featuring soup (veggie & meat) donated by Vin Rouge Bistro. Attendees will have the first half hour to get their food and drinks and make it to a table.Bon appetit.

Then, five local beginning farmers and food entrepreneurs will each pitch a project for which they need our funding, i.e. the dough-re-mi we gave at the door, and some of the brew proceeds, too.  After all of the presentations, attendees (that’s us) will vote on which project we would like to fund. The winner gets the proceeds from the evening and promises to attend the next Funds to Farms event to give a progress report.

Tickets are available online and at FullSteam on the day of the event.

January 9, 2013 at 10:11 pm 2 comments

Pittsboro Pepper Festival Oct. 2

The Pittsboro Pepper Festival may sound like it belongs on the list of “Top 10 Strangest Small Town Events in America,” but it’s one you don’t want to miss. While the obsession with local heirloom peppers might be a little quirky, this growing celebration of local food, beer, and music is truly a community event.  The 4th Annual Pittsboro Pepper Festival is set for Sunday, October 2, from 4 to 7 p.m. at the newly constructed community park in Briar Chapel (north Chatham county off of US 15-501).

Local hotshot chefs will present appetizers and desserts featuring over 60 varieties of heirloom local peppers (everything from sweet to hot).

You’ll also enjoy peppery beer.  It could take you all evening to swallow the spicy samples from this dazzling list of participants from A to Z:  Andrea Williams, Angelina’s Kitchen, Bean and Barrel, Benjamin Wineries, Bobby’s Water Ice, Cackalacky Cantina 18,  Carolina Brewery  Carolina Crossroads Restaurant   Chatham Marketplace, Chicken Bridge Bakery, Crook’s Corner, Fullsteam Brewery,  Dos Perros Restaurant, 8 Seaboard, Hillsborough BBQ, The Granary at Fearrington, General Store Cafe, Green Man Brewery, Glass Half Full,  Lucky 32, Market Restaurant   On the Square,     Mez , The Natural Chef Program @ CCCC , Top of the Hill Restaurant & Brewery,  Triangle Brewery,  Saxapahaw General Store,  Starrlight Meadery, Stevie’s Booch, Vimala’s Curryblossom Cafe  and  Zely & Ritz.

The festival sprung from the work of Doug Jones, farmer extraordinaire of Piedmont Biofarm. He has been creating and growing special peppers designed to thrive in Pittsboro and the Piedmont. He grows about 100 varieties at his farm on the eastern side of Pittsboro, and he wants you to love peppers as much as he does.

“Ripe peppers are an underutilized and under appreciated super food,” Doug says. “They grow exceptionally well in the piedmont of NC, our climate.  We want to develop the consumer demand and increase the growers in our region.  Peppers are exceptionally high in Vitamin A and Vitamin C as well as flavor and phytonutrients.”

There will also be live music by Justin Robinson and the Mary Annettes, and Lonnie Walker. Stick around for the crowning of the King and Queen of the festival.  And bring the kids, face-painting and plenty of activities for the whole family.

Pittsboro Pepper Fest proceeds go to the Abundance Foundation and Piedmont Biofarm.

Admission is $20 in advance until Sep 13, $25 until Oct 1st, or $30 at the entrance and includes all-access to food and entertainment. Beverages are cash bar. As always, the Pittsboro Pepper Festival’s screen-printed Limited Edition 2011 t-shirts and posters will be on sale at the festival.

Sponsors include: Briar Chapel, Sanford Construction, WCHL, Sanford Contractors, Top of the Hill Restaurant and Brewery, openNMS, McKim & Creed,  Burt’s Bees Corporate Investors Mortgage Group, Piedmont Biofuels, Larry’s Beans, Chatham County Economic Development, Bradshaw & Robinson, LLP, JY Visuals, Shakori Hills Grassroots Festival of Music & Dance,  The Sustainable Agriculture Program, Central Carolina Community College , Carolina Farm Stewardship Association, Kinder Soles, Krombach Dunn & Co, PLLC, Garlick and Murray Family Medicine, Weaver Street Realty, Country Farm & Home, Chatham Mills Farmers’ Market, NC Agritourism Networking Association, Lowe’s Home Improvement, Chatham Portables, Eco Products.

September 20, 2011 at 7:47 pm Leave a comment

Shitake mushroom workshop

Here’s a great way to celebrate spring, contribute to a unique community garden, and learn how to grow shitake mushrooms.

The Carolina Campus Community Garden will have a shitake workshop on Sunday March 20 from 1 to 3 p.m.  You can learn how to grow shitakes by helping UNC staff and students prepare 12 logs with mushroom plugs for the garden. Leading the workshop will be Aaron Moody, a geography professor who grows mushrooms on the side.

You will also get to sample some delicious dishes made with shitakes. How about some mushrooms with fontina cheese over polenta?

The garden was developed last year by Claire Lorch and colleagues to give UNC employees and students access to fresh local food that they can raise themselves and share with others. It’s located on University property on Wilson Street, off of Cameron Avenue just a couple of blocks west of the Carolina Inn in Chapel Hill.

The workshop is free, but you are welcome to give a donation to the garden. For more information, contact Claire at

March 17, 2011 at 7:56 pm Leave a comment

Pittsboro PepperFest, Pretty Soon

People, please: Pittsboro’s Pepper Festival is uPon us. Sunday 10/3 from 4 to 7 PM, at The Plant, aka Piedmont Biofarm at Piedmont Biofuels’ permissible eco-paradise in PBO.

Sgt. Peppers (that’s Farmer Doug, peeps), presents perfect peppers for  Piedmont permaculture pastures.

Plentiful chefs promise palatable plates. Plus pretty peppy music.

Purchase passes now online ($15) or procrastinate and pay more at the door.

All you really need to know:

Farmer Doug Jones

September 27, 2010 at 8:28 pm Leave a comment

Sustainable cinema features sustainable ag 9/28

ChathamArts’ Sustainable Cinema series will feature an evening of local documentaries about sustainable agriculture, Tuesday September 28 at 7 pm in the Barn at Fearrington Village, eight miles south of Chapel Hill.

North Carolina filmmaker Matthew Barr presents Hungry for Green, one of the first films to link issues of agricultural sustainability and worldwide hunger. The 30-minute documentary, narrated by former U.S. Senator George McGovern, underscores what farmers and consumers can do to influence how food is produced in the U.S. and around the world.

Ken Burns called Hungry for Green “an important film that underscores the urgency of achieving agriculture sustainability to help alleviate hunger and protect our natural environment.”

The evening also features several short films on sustainable farming, building and energy, produced by students of the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University:

  • Backyard Bounty by Diana Monroe and Martha J. Moore. Bountiful Backyards is laying the groundwork for Two Ton Farm, an urban minifarm cooperative that will produce literally tons of fresh produce for the neighboring community.
  • Green McDonald’s Guy, by Brooke Shuman and Maura Tourian. One of only three “green” McDonald’s restaurants nationwide opened in Cary in 2009. Franchisee Ric Richards describes its surprisingly long list of eco-friendly design features.
  • Watch Me Grow, by April Simon and Sara Washington. The Watch Me Grow program introduces kids as young as three to gardening, to engage their senses and to encourage them to eat more fresh produce.

A panel discussion follows with filmmaker Matthew Barr and local sustainable farming advocates. Admission $5 at door.

September 21, 2010 at 7:55 pm Leave a comment

Learn how Slow Money supports local food

By Carol Peppe Hewitt

The Abundance Foundation in Pittsboro has launched a Slow Money Project that has already raised $29,500 from local folks and given low-interest loans to two local food enterprises. If you would like to get involved as an investor or borrower, or if you would just like to learn how this works, come to a meeting on Monday July 12 from 7 to 8:30 p.m. at Chatham Mills (420 Hillsboro Street) in Pittsboro.

The objective of the Slow Money Project is to match people who wish to invest in improving the resilience of our community by enhancing our local food shed with borrowers who have compelling projects that can accomplish that goal.

Light refreshments will be provided, and you are welcome to BYOB from Chatham Markeplace.

Learn more about the Slow Money Project and the local food enterprises that have already benefited from it:

Please feel free to pass this invitation along to friends, family and anyone else you care about who might benefit from this project; as in anyone who eats food.

Let’s start planting our local money in our local food shed.

July 6, 2010 at 10:52 am 1 comment

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