Farmers’ Market Delights!

Each month I am honored and excited to have a brief spot on the My Carolina Today show. Usually it is to discuss details about upcoming food events, but this month we decided to feature and sample some of our local artisan food and craft producers. This segment covered mostly Chapel Hill, Durham and the RTP area, but look for Raleigh and Cary next month.

Waterdog Farms – Teas and Fresh Flowers

Waterdog Farms Logo

Grown in Hurdle Mills, NC using only sustainable practices, no synthetic chemicals or fertilizers.

The farm is named after the Neuse River waterdog, a rare salamander that lives in the Flat River adjacent to the farm.

Waterdog Farms specializes in teas grown and processed as whole leaf teas right on the farm.

Also sell lots of flowers and specialty produce at the farmers markets.

The flowers from Waterdog are beautiful and perfect for a special event or wedding.

You can also buy the tulsi and wild bergamot teas at A Southern Season and Weaver Street Market stores.

You can find owners Rickie and Christopher at Chapel Hill Farmer’s Market (at University Mall) on Saturday and Durham Farmers Market on Wednesday ‘s

The Pig 

The Pig

Brings regional flavors and local ingredients to the party in your tummy, featuring whole-hog barbecue, cola-braised pork belly sandwiches and Mee-Ma’s low-country, house-smoked, chicken-fried tofu

They buy only whole hogs from local farmers who raise their pigs on open pasture without the use of added hormones or antibiotics.

In addition to the hot dogs they also make pulled pork and bacon, which is available at any of the Weaver Street Markets.

They will soon be adding heat-and-serve BBQ ribs, Hawaiian style breakfast links and smoked pork chops to the lineup of products.

The restaurant is open Mon-Sat 11:00-9:00 and has several vegetarian options including locally made tempeh, chicken fried tofu and fried shiitake po’boys

They cater!!!

You can find Sam Suchoff (Owner/Chef) at the Carrboro Farmers’ Market both Wednesdays and Saturdays 

Prodigal Farm 


Creates handcrafted farmstead cheeses, breads, produce and farm-crafted specialty items on a 97-acre farm in rural Rougemont, North Carolina. The family farm, owned by Dave Krabbe and Kathryn Spann is centered on a pastured raised Animal Welfare Approved goat herd.

The “Marinated Feta” is a best seller and often referred to as “crack cheese.”

You can purchase their products form the South Durham Farmes Market and Raleigh State Farmers Market.

You can also find Prodigal Farm goat cheese at various restaurants across the Triangle including Mandolin, 18 Seaboard, Harvest 18 and G2B Gastropub.

Prodigal Farm recently ran a kickstarter campaign to raise 45,000 to build a new cheese making facility, which will allow them to age cheeses and therefore make new types of cheeses. They rose over $48, 000. That is how much people love their products.


Evelyn Ward Pottery

goat mug

Potter Evelyn Ward lives in nearby Hurdle Mills, North Carolina. She makes functional salt-fired pottery for the home. Evelyn earned a BFA from Cal State Fullerton and studied at Penland School of Crafts.  Her work can be found in galleries around the Triangle including North Carolina Crafts Gallery and Cedar Creek Gallery.

Each of her whimsical goat mugs is hand-made on a potter’s wheel and salt fired, and has a beautiful feel in the hand. Each goat is drawn by hand so no two are exactly alike.

The mugs are made from durable stoneware pottery and are safe for both dishwasher and microwave. They hold approximately 12 ounces.

There are always several local crafters at every market that are definitely worth checking out.

Big Spoon Roasters


Founded in January 2011, Durham, NC-based Big Spoon Roasters was the first truly handcrafted, small-batch nut butter business since the mass industrialization of the peanut butter industry in the early 20th Century. Big Spoon continues to innovate, working with NC peanut growers to encourage sustainable agriculture and sustainable pricing for their crops.

Big Spoon Roasters makes every batch to order – as opposed to pulling from an existing inventory – so customers get the freshest possible nut butters.

Founder Mark Overbay’s first recipe was Peanut Pecan Butter, which he calls the “quintessential Southern nut butter.” It is handmade with only 4 ingredients – NC peanuts, NC pecans, NC raw wildflower honey, and sea salt.

One of Big Spoon’s bestselling recipes, the Chai Spice peanut & almond butter blend, was created as a favor for Mark and Megan’s wedding. Megan drinks masala chai tea almost every day, and Mark obviously makes nut butter, so he wanted to create a wedding favor that represented them both. Their guests flipped out over the flavor combination, and it became an immediate hit!

On Big Spoon’s website, you can read the story behind every recipe, get updates on special events and farmers’ markets, and see a list of retailers where Big Spoon nut butters are sold.


Loaf Logo

Rustic brick oven breads and pastries, once found only at the Durham Farmers’ Market, are also available daily in the heart of the Bull City.

Loaf carries wonderful (and local!) items such as Chapel Hill Creamery Cheese, Elodie Farms Goat Cheese, Blakemere Company Clotted Cream, Farmer’s Daughter Kimchi and Sauerkraut, Maple View Farms Milk, Firsthand Foods Sausages, Big Spoon Roasters Nut Butters, home-made jellies and marmalades, and more.

My stepson Adrien and I agree whole-heartedly, that the ham and cheese croissant is the best we’ve ever eaten.

Cilantro Mediterranean Grill


Cilantro Mediterranean Grill is a family run restaurant near RTP (Hwy 54 and Miami) serving Mediterranean kabobs, salads and vegetarian dishes made from scratch using the best locally sourced ingredients. Every meal comes with freshly baked bread
 from their clay oven!

Prepared salads like beet salad, edemame hummus and potato salads are available weekly at the South Durham Farmers Market and Western Wake Farmers Market. Perfect for picking up for lunches during the workweek.

They also regularly have at the market: potato salad, tabouli, tatziki, traditional hummus, cilantro hummus, jalapeno hummus, baba ganoush, dolmeh, baklava, lentil rice, and a cold vegetable soup (varies).

They have also started taking single size servings of some of our Persian Stews available as specials at our restaurant through out the week (a take home and warm up prepared meal)

Happy Eating


Pepsi Bottling Ventures is a legacy sponsor of Got To Be NC Competition Dining Series “Fire in the Triangle,” June 23 to August 4


The goal of the Competition Dining Series, the only cooking competition of its kind in the US, is to highlight the best of North Carolina’s food, agriculture, and culinary talent. The competition requires that chefs must use North Carolina-produced ingredients. Each year, the competition calls for chefs to use a secret or featured ingredient and in 2012, 2013 and 2014 Pepsi was featured as such. North Carolina-based Pepsi Bottling Ventures has been a sponsor since the inception of the Competition Dining Series in 2012.

 “We’re very proud to be a part of the Got to Be NC Competition Dining Series again as we see who ends up winning this challenging competition that showcases the culinary ingenuity and talent across our state,” said Randy Quirk, vice president of Food Service for Pepsi Bottling Ventures. “We embrace this fun competition because Pepsi was born in North Carolina more than 100 years ago and has been a home-grown N.C. ingredient.”

 The 2014 Competition Dining Series started in March with the Fire on the Rock competition in Asheville and includes a year-long series of competition dinners in Wilmington, Greensboro, Raleigh and Charlotte. The Final Fire in Raleigh will kick off in November in which all the winning regional chefs will compete for final bragging rights.

Fire in the Triangle will take place June 23 to Aug. 4, pitting 16 Triangle chefs who will face off against each other. Two participating chefs each prepare three courses centered on the secret or featured ingredient revealed to the chefs only an hour before they start cooking that day. The ingredient must be used in each course. Attending guests serve as judges for the six-course meal.

For more information go to: and

Get Your “Eat” on with Dishcrawl Raleigh

Dishcrawl comes to Raleigh on Wednesday, June 18 at 7pm.


On Wednesday, June 18th at 7pm, join neighbors and friends to eat your way through the heart of the city on a 3-restaurant jaunt in downtown Raleigh. Come see what the city has to offer as chefs of three restaurants invite you to explore their culinary delights in the heart of downtown.

This adventurous dinner is only $45. Drinks may be purchased separately. Reservations are limited so reserve a ticket now at,

Foodies have the chance to win free tickets online by tweeting which Raleigh restaurant they love. (Twitter: Must hashtag #dishcrawl to be entered.)

Ticket-holders will visit three restaurants in one night, sampling each restaurant’s specialties and meeting the chefs or owners. It’s kind of the same idea as a pubcrawl, except instead of just drinks we are rallying and gathering the community around downtown Raleigh’s terrific food

Which restaurants? The names of the restaurants are a secret for now but here and there some hints will be dropped through tweets at, @DishcrawlRDU.

 Where to Meet? All ticket holders will be notified of meeting location via email 48 hours prior to the event.

If you have any questions, email your local Dishcrawl Ambassador, Isabella Vigilante at,

Happy Eating and Dishcrawling!



Yes, We Can! All Day Canning Jubilee at Whisk, May 17th

Contests, Free Demos, Class with Pickles and Preserves author, Andrea Weigl, and more…

Whisk is hosting a daylong canning jubilee on Saturday, May 17th in the Cary kitchen store, located in Waverly Place shopping center. The event is a celebration of how and why we continue to can our food in the 21st century!

Whisk logo

Interest in home canning is resurging and Whisk is dedicating an entire day to this social, healthy, and tasty pursuit. While technically there is no longer a need to “stock up for winter”, we still persist in canning. Why? Says Whisk employee and local canner, Karen Bosse: “With canning you are able to capture your garden and the goodness of the local farmers’ markets – there’s tremendous flavor, ingredient control, and zero waste.”

The day-long event is headlined by News & Observer food writer and Pickles and Preserves author Andrea Weigl who is teaching an ‘Introduction to Canning’ class. Participants will prepare three recipes from Weigl’s book and learn how to can safely at home. This participation-style class runs from 2pm-4 pm, costs $49, with online registration at

pickles and preserves


Sadly this class is sold out  but be sure to pick up a copy of Andrea’s book. I just made her Habanero Pepper Jelly this weekend and it was a huge hit at Mother’s Day brunch. I served it along side grilled chicken but it also pairs very well with pork, fish and grilled vegetables. All the recipes in the book are worth a try.

Habanero Jelly use

There will also be a local Canning Contest that day, with free entry and terrific prizes from Whisk. The two contest categories are Jellies, Jams and Preserves, and Pickled Vegetables. Submissions must have been canned within the past 12 months and must be made using North Carolina produce. Whisk customers will be able to taste and vote for their favorites, and canning contest winners will be announced on Facebook.

Andrea's Pickles

Photo courtesy of Andrea Weigl

Free tastings and canning demonstrations will be offered throughout the day. In addition, all canning supplies will be 20 percent off on May 17th. Visit the store Monday through Saturday, 10am-6pm; and on Sunday, 12pm-5pm. For more information about Whisk and to see a complete listing of its cooking classes, visit

Other upcoming classes with Andrea include :

• 11 a.m.-2 p.m. June 7, Durham Spirits Co., 311 E. Trinity Ave., Durham. hands-on cooking class, $59. Details.

• 6 p.m. June 25, Southern Season, 201 S. Estes St., Chapel Hill. demonstration cooking class, $40, Details.

• 10 a.m. June 28, Sur la Table, The Streets at Southpoint, Durham, hands-on class, $69. Details.

Happy Canning


Southern Biscuit® Bake-Off – Ready to roll in the dough?

Dust off your counter and roll up your sleeves for the 4th Annual Biscuit Bake-Off by Southern Biscuit® Flour. Submit an original recipe by May 23, 2014 for a chance to win $250 and other prizes!

Bisquits 2

Southern Biscuit® is looking for your original biscuit recipe for the 4th Annual Southern Biscuit® Day Bake-Off. Your recipe will need to use at least two cups of Southern Biscuit Self-Rising or All-Purpose Flour or Southern Biscuit Formula L Biscuit Mix and can be submitted between now and May 23. Three finalists will be judged based on flavor, appearance and creativity. Each finalist will be invited to bring their biscuits to the town square in Newton NC on June 5 for judging. All three finalists will receive $50 and gifts from Southern Biscuit plus have the opportunity to enjoy a free biscuit along with everyone in the town that day. One lucky winner will take home $250 and his or her recipe will be published on the Southern Biscuit social media sites.

Bisquits 3

Submit your recipe by email to, Make sure that you include your name and please note that you must be 18 or older to participate. Southern Biscuit® Flour can be purchased at Walmart, Food Lion and King’s IGA

Happy Baking


Straw Valley Cafe and The Black House – A Unique Dining Experience for All

Staw Valley

Straw Valley Café and Wine Bar, which opened last December, now also includes a fine dining restaurant, The Black House. The restaurant opened its doors just over a month ago and from the reviews I’ve read and my own personal experience, it is easy to see why people are raving about it.

The property is home to a unique labyrinth of buildings and outside areas providing multiple dining options. The overall space includes the café, which is open for breakfast and lunch, a wine and raw bar at night, outside patio bar, and The Black House, offering modern American cuisine.

Fred Dexhiemer and Chaf Adam Rose (photo from website)

Fred Dexhiemer and Chaf Adam Rose (photo from website)

The concept was a collaboration between owners Executive Chef Adam Rose, previously of Il Palio in the Sienna Hotel in Chapel Hill and partner Fred Dexhiemer, North Carolina’s only Master Sommelier. They wanted to create an opportunity for people to have multiple dining experiences in one location. The Café offers an assortment of pastries, small bites, fresh juices and coffee from Carrboro Coffee Roasters for breakfast and soups, salads and sandwiches for lunch. At night, swing by after work for a glass of wine and nibbles from the raw bar, or treat your special someone to a romantic meal at The Black House.

The Black House, set in a mid-century modern house features a series of elegantly decorated small rooms, creating an atmosphere that is comfortable and cozy. The artwork that adorns the walls is mostly pieces by the previous owners, Robert Black and Ormond Sanderson. They started Straw Valley in 1959, selling pottery and sculptures from the farmhouse and surrounding buildings once owned by Sanderson’s uncle. They lived on the property until 1998 after which the buildings sat unused for almost a decade until purchased by a new owner who opened Straw Valley Café. Rose and Dexhiemer later purchased the buildings and continue to update and preserve them and the property. Look for a large outdoor beer garden, surrounded by towering bamboo and oak trees to open later this year.

Chef Rose designed the menu at The Black House with an emphasis on fresh, local and sustainable ingredients. The menu consists of modern American fare with an international twist. I was recently invited to enjoy dinner in the new space and I couldn’t have been more excited.

My husband and I arrived early and took advantage of the time look around. We walked around some, got lost once or twice, scoped out what will eventually be the beer garden before grabbing a seat at the patio bar to enjoy a pre-dinner glass of wine.

When seated for dinner, we were directed to a small room at the back of the restaurant with a large window overlooking the grounds. There were only two tables for four in this room and would be a great location for a small dinner party.

view from table

Our view from the table

Our server was attentive and knowledgeable about the menu and very helpful with any questions we had. Dexhiemer offered wine pairings with each course that both complimented and enhanced the dishes. Not only that, he gave us a brief history of each wine, it’s grape, the region it came from and made our meal that much more interesting.

Appetizer Course

Baby Kale Salad: Calvander, Crispy Chickpeas, Lemon

Baby Kale Salad: Calvander, Crispy Chickpeas, Lemon

Oysters: Carolina Barbecue Sauce

Oysters: Carolina Barbecue Sauce

Chef’s Surprise Course

Scallop Ceviche

Scallop Ceviche

House Cured Smoked Salmon

House Cured Smoked Salmon

Paccheri Alla Bolognese: Tomato, Painted Hills Beef, Parmesan, Basil

Paccheri Alla Bolognese: Tomato, Painted Hills Beef, Parmesan, Basil

Main Course

Whole Fried Fish (Black Bass was the fresh fish that evening): Fermented Black Bean Sauce, Haricot Verts, Thai Chili

Whole Fried Fish (Black Bass was the fresh fish that evening): Fermented Black Bean Sauce, Haricot Verts, Thai Chili


Ham & Eggs: Grilled Iberico Pork Shoulder, Twice Cooked Farm Egg (egg is sous-vide to 140 degrees then battered and fried)

Ham & Eggs: Grilled Iberico Pork Shoulder, Twice Cooked Farm Egg (egg is sous-vide to 140 degrees then battered and fried)

Dessert Course

At this point my husband and I were beyond full and could not possibly eat another bite. Chef and Fred sent us home with the LEMON RASPBERRY CHEESECAKE: Passion Fruit Gelee, Raspberry Coulis Passion Fruit Gelee, Raspberry Coulis. It was all they said it would be and more when we devoured it for breakfast the next morning.

Having had the experience at The Black House, and a tour of the cafe and raw bar, my husband and I can’t wait to go back to enjoy the raw bar offerings along with a glass of wine or cold beer.

While many reviewers call Straw Valley Cafe and Wine Bar and The Black House a hidden gem, to me it is a hidden oasis just waiting to be discovered.

Happy Eating


“Fridays on the Front Porch” at the Carolina Inn

carolina inn

Join in the toe-tapping fun as The Carolina Inn kicks off its 12th season of Fridays on the Front Porch with the all-female “sweetgrass” band, Sweet Potato Pie on Friday, April 25, 2014, 5pm-8pm

Live music creates the perfect atmosphere for kicking back, relaxing and getting a jump on the weekend. The historical Inn offers a beautiful surrounding to enjoy the music and seasonal picnic offerings ($14 grill menu and $9 kids menu with gluten free options), various beverage selections and fun times under the shady oaks and magnolia trees. There is no cover charge or reservations for the event.

Fridays on the Front Porch features the music of some of North Carolina’s best bands for 24 consecutive Fridays through early October. Sweet Potato Pie starts things off on Friday, April 25. The lineup for the rest of the series includes Mel Melton & The Wicked Mojo, The Gravy Boys, Big Fat Gap, Tea Cup Gin, Franklin Street Band with Mick Mixon and The Morning After.

See the schedule below to plan for a Friday night out or plan for a weekend getaway and relax in one of their charming guest rooms and enjoy a meal at the award winning Carolina Crossroads, located in the Inn.

For more information, visit: or follow on Twitter, @CarolinaInn and Facebook, CarolinaInn.

2014 Schedule

April 25 – Sweet Potato Pie

May 2 – Mel Melton & The Wicked Mojo

May 9 – The Gravy Boys

May 16 – Big Fat Gap

May 23 – Tea Cup Gin

May 30 – Franklin Street Band with Mick Mixon
June 6 – The Gravy Boys

June 13 – Mel Melton & The Wicked Mojo

June 20 – Big Fat Gap

June 27 – TBD

July 4 – Tea Cup Gin

July 11 – Franklin Street Band with Mick Mixon

July 18 – Big Fat Gap

July 25 – The Morning After

August 1 – Mel Melton & The Wicked Mojo

August 8 – Big Fat Gap

August 15 – Tea Cup Gin

August 22 – The Morning After

August 29 – The Gravy Boys

September 5 – Big Fat Gap

September 12 – The Morning After

September 19 – The Gravy Boys

September 26 – Big Fat Gap

October 3 – Mel Melton & The Wicked Mojo