Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is: Farm-to-Fork Picnic

It’s summertime: time to grill out, dine al fresco and enjoy the outdoors. It’s the perfect time of year to frolic in a massive field with friends, farmers and chefs and have a big picnic. And who doesn’t love a big picnic? I hope you will consider joining us on Sunday June 9 at the annual Farm to Fork fundraiser just north of Hillsborough. The picnic is a farm-chef collaboration that celebrates the farm-to-table movement with a roving feast, featuring locally grown food cooked by some of the best chefs in the area.

This event is important because not only does it support and train upcoming farmers and spotlight amazing, local food, but it also helps bring some recognition to the people who grow and prepare our food. We like the idea that food is made by people. Animals are raised by people, plants are harvested by people, food is cooked by people. By identifying those people and putting a face to the names of those making our food, we feel more connected to our food and to the land. Our meals become more meaningful. The more food production becomes industrialized, the more we lose our connection to the land and this event is an opportunity in a very agricultural area to reconnect with the people who are endeavoring to produce our food. It’s our fifth year as a participant and we’re proud to be involved in such an admirable cause.

Proceeds from the picnic benefit CEFS (Center for Environmental Farming Systems)—which supports beginner farmers through an apprentice program, and PLANT @ Breeze Farm—an incubator farm, research center and extension of North Carolina State University, which provides training for new farmers in the Piedmont Region. The current average age of farmers is 59 so supporting organizations like CEFS and PLANT @ Breeze Farm is critical to the future of farming. Both organizations help foster sustainable farming, providing training workshops and intern programs for young or transitional farmers. This affords them the opportunity to explore and practice small-scale, organic farming—letting them test the waters without sacrificing much economically by way of equipment or land.

This year, we’re excited to be teaming up with Massey Creek Farms again, as well as Rudd Farm and Homeland Creamery. We’ll arrive bright and early to begin roasting a whole hog, courtesy of Massey Creek Farms. We’ll serve up some sliders, with our famous Voodoo Sauce. For dessert, we’ll have a custard (with Homeland Creamery’s buttermilk and Massey Creek Farms’ eggs), accompanied with fresh strawberries from Rudd Farm.

From 4-7 PM, you can connect with local farmers and chefs—and sample dishes from 34 farms and restaurants. There’ll also be live music and fun activities for the kiddos. Get your tickets now, while you still can! The picnic will be held at Breeze Farm and the address is: 4909 Walnut Grove Church Road, Hurdle Mills, NC.

In case you aren’t able to make it to the picnic this year…

Pick up some of our Voodoo Sauce at Lucky 32 and check out our fresh veggie cart to support some local farmers while you’re there! Here’s our custard recipe for you to make at home, and you can also stop by Lucky 32 for brunch and try a variation of the custard on our cornmeal waffle with strawberries and strawberry coulis.

Recipe: Buttermilk Custard

•2 cups buttermilk
•½ cup granulated sugar
•2 medium eggs
•1 tbsp cornstarch
•½ tsp vanilla extract
•1 ½ tsp butter

 Add buttermilk to a sauce pot and heat to a low simmer. In a separate bowl, whisk together sugar, eggs and cornstarch. Slowly temper the egg mixture by beating in about 1-2 fluid ounces or the warm buttermilk.

Repeat the process until all buttermilk is combined with eggs. Return the mixture to the sauce pot and cook over very low heat for 3-5 minutes or just until mixture coats the back of a spoon. Remove from heat and add vanilla and butter, stirring until incorporated. Strain to remove any lumps. Cool and then store in refrigerator. Serve atop your favorite waffle or pancake and summer berries.

yields 2 ½ cups

Save the Date!
In years past, we’ve also been fortunate to participate in other wonderful food events, such as the TerraVITA Food & Wine event and the Pittsboro Pepper Festival. Mark your calendars for: Saturday, October 12th: TerraVITA’S The Grand Tasting on the Green and Sunday, October 20th: 6th Annual Pittsboro Pepper Festival.

Check out some of the fun from 2009’s Farm to Fork event

For more about our seasonal recipes, see our current menu at Lucky 32 Southern Kitchen and our Blog Recipe Index:http://lucky32southernkitchen.com/recipes/

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