Dave Fredericks from Freehold, NJ drove all the way to come to this year's Raleigh Farm Aid. He tried both Eastern NC and Western NC barbeque sauces on a sandwich from Durham's The Pit. Fredericks said he prefers the vinegar based Eastern style. "It's really kicking it," Fredericks said. "The vinegar is really great. I think I need more on my sandwich."
Dave Fredericks from Freehold, NJ drove all the way to come to this year's Raleigh Farm Aid. He tried both Eastern NC and Western NC barbeque sauces on a sandwich from Durham's The Pit. Fredericks said he prefers the vinegar based Eastern style. "It's really kicking it," Fredericks said. "The vinegar is really great. I think I need more on my sandwich."

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Eating at this year’s Farm Aid is lovely, local and delicious, providing a boon for local vendors, farmers and eaters.

All photos by Rose Hoban

Concertgoers at Saturday’s Farm Aid event found out that eating at a big venue doesn’t have to be greasy, heavily processed and artificial. That’s not to say that all of the treats on offer were low-fat and low-calorie, as evidenced by specialties from Durham’s Scratch bakery and The Pit BBQ. But thousands of servings of healthy, organic, sustainable and locally sourced food pleased concertgoers, vendors and officials from the Walnut Creek Amphitheater.

John Eisensmith from Durham’s Mattie B’s Public House serves Don Peters from Hubert a “Lamby Joe.”
John Eisensmith from Durham’s Mattie B’s Public House shows off his lamb and chorizo sloppy joe mix. Eisensmith said his company locally sources all its meat, with the lamb coming from Rainbow Meadow in Snow Hill. The “Lamby Joes” were served on a bun from Durham’s Guglhupf bakery.
Don Peters from Hubert eats a “Lamby Joe” from the Mattie B’s Public House tent at Farm Aid 2014. “Most of the time, a sloppy joe is mystery meat,” Peters said. “I’m a truck driver, and it can be hard to eat healthy.” Peters proclaimed the sandwich to be “real good.”
Tom Wirtz scoops out sorbet made from locally sourced blackberries, cherries, blueberries and elderberries at the Little Dipper’s tent at Farm Aid 2014.
Little Dipper’s Italian ices on offer included (clockwise from top left) orange elderberry swirl; a mix of blueberries, dark cherries, blackberries and elderberries; blueberry-lemonade; and pawpaw.
Farm Aid culinary director Sonya Dagovitz relishes a taste of pawpaw Italian ice from Pittsboro-based Little Dipper’s. Candida Sabol-Wirtz from Little Dipper’s said all their fruit is locally sourced. The pawpaw comes from Full of Life Farm in Pittsboro, which has 280 pawpaw trees under cultivation.

 

Caroline Basnight from Basnight’s Lone Cedar Cafe in Manteo serves up her institution’s signature shrimp and grits. “We pride ourselves that we only serve local [seafood]. If it’s not brought to us that day by the fishermen, we don’t serve it that night,” Basnight said. “It can be hard to keep prices competitive when the guys down the road are buying in bulk from a national distributor, but we’ve been doing it for 19 years…. That’s why it means so much for us to be asked to be here.”
Greenville’s Greg Gauss expressed on his shirt what many of the local vendors were feeling.
Chatham County-based Lilly Den Farm’s Mackenzie Withington serves chicken dishes with her 1-year-old Meadow in tow at Farm Aid 2014.
Milk on offer from Chatham County-based Lilly Den Farms.
Lilly Den Farm’s Tucker Withington and Brian Burns tend the quarter-chicken pieces on their grill at Farm Aid 2014. WIthington said he had about 1,200 quarter-chickens to serve throughout the day, along with sides of sweet potatoes and green beans.
Brook and Jeff Cummings enjoy the chicken plate from Lilly Den Farm. They both said they wished food like this was available at the N.C. State Fair. “People would totally buy this,” Brook Cummings said. “And it’s cheap! For 15 bucks, we were both able to eat.”
Scott Marlow from Rural Advancement Foundation International-USA talks about the obstacles faced by family farmers in North Carolina from the stage of Farm Aid 2014, while Dave Matthews and Neil Young listen in. “When we move to a local system, we allow farmers to get out from the corporate farming system,” Marlow said. “It allows farmers to stand up and connect to local markets.”
Micah Johnson and Matt Lardie from Durham’s Scratch Bakery had apple and dark chocolate  hand pies for sale, along with buttermilk donut muffins. All the ingredients were in-state sourced, such as apples from Western N.C. and Asheville’s Carolina Ground flour.
Executive chef Corey Palakovich from Sitti in Raleigh prepares chicken kebabs at Farm Aid 2014.
Workers at the tent run by Raleigh restaurant Sitti prepare tabouleh and chicken kebab pitas.
At the tent run by Durham’s Cafe Love, vegan salads in a cup made with vegetables from Eastern Carolina Organics were on offer and proving popular.

 

Alexis Lucky at the Cafe Love tent checks out salads in a cup made from vegetables from Eastern Carolina Organics.
Julie Henson from Ladyfingers Catering had boiled peanuts from the Raleigh Farmers Market on offer, along with roasted corn.
Boiled peanuts and roasted corn with condiments proved popular with concertgoers.
What would a North Carolina concert be without pork barbeque? The local tent was run by Raleigh-based The Pit, where the lines were long.
The Pit’s shirts were in the spirit of the event, with the legend “Save a farm, eat a hog.”
Dave Fredericks from Freehold, N.J. drove all the way down to this year’s Farm Aid. He tried both Eastern N.C. and Western N.C. barbeque sauces on a sandwich from The Pit, and  said he prefers the vinegar-based Eastern style. “It’s really kicking it,” Fredericks said. “The vinegar is really great. I think I need more on my sandwich.”

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North Carolina Health News is an independent, not-for-profit, statewide news organization dedicated to covering health care in North Carolina employing the highest journalistic standards of fairness, accuracy...