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Farm to Fork showcase marks start of Carolina harvest season
Sept. 23 event highlights region's farmers, chefs
Published Wednesday, July 11, 2018 2:00 pm
by Ashley Mahoney | The Charlotte Post

The inaugural Farm to Fork in the Garden, a showcase of Charlotte area farms, chefs and artisans, is Sept. 23 at Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden

Kick off fall with food.

Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden serves as the backdrop for the inaugural Farm to Fork in the Garden event Sept. 23 from 4-7 p.m. A collaboration between the Piedmont Culinary Guild and Center for the Environmental Farming Systems extends CEFS’ annual Farm to Fork Picnic in the Triangle to the Charlotte area. Its design highlights local farmers, artisans and chefs by pairing them together to create a local culinary experience. It also serves as a fundraiser, benefiting beginning farmers, as well as culinary and agriculture students throughout the state. Tickets are $85, free for children 12 and under, and $50 for ages 13-20.

“I love farms,” said PCG member and featured Farm to Fork in the Garden Chef Michael Bowling. “It’s one of the things we kind of do on a regular basis. We visit the farms and talk to the farmers at the farmer’s market. When the opportunity came to take part in this event to be either partnered with a farm or an artisan, I jumped at the opportunity.”
PCG Executive Director Kris Reid explains the event offers “a sip and a nibble” of what the local scene has to offer.

“We’re trying to connect chefs, farmers and consumers to support the local food economy, and to strengthen it,” Reid said. “It’s going to be a really interesting opportunity for people to taste time and place of the Piedmont region of North Carolina.”

Not only does the showcase offer a unique experience, it also depicts the ramifications of a greater economic impact.

“If people aren’t supporting local growers, and the chefs who are supporting them through their purchases, that economy goes away—those unique flavor experiences go away,” Reid said. “We have to constantly invite people to participate in the growth of our local food community, otherwise we won’t have those unique flavors that do grow here because we grow an abundance of products that people don’t even know about in the state of North Carolina. We’re the No. 1 sweet potato producer. Agriculture is our No. 1 export for the state. There’s a lot of opportunity to experience time and place when we eat in this region. We’re really set up to be a sustainable food community in a lot of respects. We want to bring people to a place of understanding—if you love the region that you live in, you should know what grows here, what it tastes like, and what it looks like.”

Participating chefs include Jamie Barnes of Soul Food Sessions and What the Fries Food Truck, Bowling, as well as 20 others. Among the 20 participating farms are 100 Gardens, A Way of Life Farm, Wild Hope Farm and Urban Gourmet Farms. Beverage vendors include Catawba Brewing Company, Free Range Brewing and Lenny Boy Brewing Co. Artisans include Blue Goat Dairy, Duke’s Bread, Sun Raised Farms and Foggy Mountain Pasta.

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