October Farm to Table Supper at Stauber Farm

“They bumped into one another and it was like a bolt of lightning struck.”

This, according to Mrs. Taft, is how the idea for our first farm to fork dinner in North Carolina came about.

The “they” were Harrison and Dr. Charles Taft. The two had always had the idea of a Stauber farm dinner in the back of their minds. And when their paths continued to cross when we arrived back to North Carolina we knew it was inevitable. A supper (as we say in the south) must be held.

For us, Stauber Farm is a dream. It’s a picturesque backdrop perfect for continuing the work we were doing in Vermont with our dear friends at Sandiwood.


So when Dr. Taft proposed our first farm dinner at Stauber, we let loose of our busy schedules and dove right in.

Charles and Lamar Taft are the owners and keepers of the historic rolling farmstead dating back to the 18th century and located just outside Winston-Salem. Since purchasing the Stauber Farm over 20 years ago, they have worked to maintain its historic integrity and keep with sustainable practices to preserve the land and home. They have also introduced heritage breed animals for breeding and market including St. Croix sheep which are among the American livestock breeds threatened by extinction. It is the hope that more breeders will recognize the excellent qualities of the St. Croix through their efforts and that they will produce them in greater numbers and the breed will have a chance at survival.

The Tafts were so warm in welcoming us into their world. Over bowls of lamb stew and candlelight we exchanged stories from Vermont, passion for sustainability and good wholesome food and a love for the community that only food can build.

As the hosts they pulled together a tremendous guest list of like-minded folks to share in this trial run. We watched the list grow from 10 to 20 to 30 and finally settle around 40 to be served. We were overwhelmed by the instant enthusiasm. We had a short window to plan and we were humbled by the generous support of friends and family who volunteered to “do anything” to help get this first dinner off the ground. We love you guys. Thank you.

In addition to supplying Harrison with freshly processed roosters and tender lamb, the Tafts shared sweet potatoes, kale, tomatoes and greens.

They also put Harrison in touch with other farmers including Issac at Harmony Ridge Farm and Cynthia at Billy Place Farm.

We used thick cut bacon given to us by Meadow Family Farms, earthy shiitake mushrooms from Myers Mushrooms, freshly baked bread from our good friend Jim Dumont of Bread Men, and roasted almond gelato from our girl Ciska over at Café Gelato. We also paid Lillian at West Bend Vineyards a visit for bottles of her perfectly paired wines.

A tremendous thank you to everyone for your contributions! We’re proud to say that everything on our menu, except for a few minor elements and a couple of Vermont cheese and butter favorites (we had to represent!) were sourced from within a 50 mile radius. And most of the ingredients were sourced straight from our supper’s guests.


The sense of community, a newly discovered community in North Carolina, energized us. And Lord knows we needed that energy on Monday as outlying winds from Hurricane Sandy foiled our cooking and setup plans. But it’s moments like those … you know when you are two hours out from your guests arriving and your dining tent is deemed unsafe ….or when the grill will not seem to hold heat to properly cook for 40 important guests…. that you really cherish that community that supports you. Everyone rose up and created the loveliest plan B – like it was always meant to be.

{Sweet Potato Galette with confit tomatoes, braised Stauber lamb, Goat Lady Dairy goat cheese & breakfast turnip}

{Kale Spanakopita with Goat Lady Dairy goat cheese, shiitake mushrooms, and ricotta}

{Sweet Potato Gnocchi with brown butter, sage, butternut squash, preserved lemon, crispy kale & Jasper Hill Bayley Hazen blue cheese}

{Butternut Squash & Apple Soup with nutmeg creme fraiche}

{5-Grain Oat from Bread Men}

{Smoked Whole Delaware Roosters with homemade green tomato & pear jam}

{Grilled & Roasted Stauber Farm Bone-in Leg of Lamb with a West Bend red wine reduction & mint gremolata}

{Pairing two classics: Braised Greens & Braised Cabbages with Meadow Family Farms bacon and sherry vinaigrette}

{Roasted Roots: sweet potato, beets, turnips, carrots, onion, radish & kolrabi from Harmony Ridge Farm, Billy Place Farm & Stauber Farm}

{Coffee Service featuring Krankies Coffee}

{Butternut Squash, Pumpkin & Salted Caramel Bread Pudding topped with whiskey creme anglaise & Cafe Gelato’s roasted almond gelato}

That evening, as the candlelight flickered and the platters were eagerly passed around five scattered tables snuggled indoors….

As friends hurried around the rooms with smiles and serving trays and worked back to back in the petite historic kitchen… we were reminded.


Warm camaraderie. Good Food. Big Laughs. Cherished Times.

This is what we’re here for. This is what we love to do.

Until we celebrate the community that food builds again,

a + h

14 responses

  1. ok, STOPPIT! seriously?!
    You two took all of, what…. 2 whole months to Pandora’s box your old home town to unearth (literally) all these like minded foodies (and food) that you never before knew were there? We should all wake up and smell the new coffee the way you guys do it. Well, Dorothy, guess there’s no place like home. So happy to see you both looking so happy and strutting your stuff that you do so well! Miss you-
    Allison

    • I can so hear your voice right now. Big Smile. We (literally) laughed out loud reading this. Yes. It’s been an entertaining ride for sure…but like you and Jen said “we gotta keep going” love ya

  2. What a wonderful story! I just got home from the hospital where my dearest friend is very ill and I picked up your wonderful dinner news. Thank you, thank you,
    thank you for sharing your great accomplishments–even with adversity looming, you all perservered and a glorious time was had by all–including someone like me, in California
    who enjoyed it to the max!!! Linda Knight

  3. Correction: NOT Pandora’s box! WRong analogy! I meant you opening up your old hood to all that’s good and happy and delicious. whoopsy.
    Awesome pics by the way.
    xo
    a

  4. Congratulations to you both, and to all the hands and hearts who are encouraging you in this exciting endeavor! The photographs are positively mouth-watering. Wayne and I will look forward to dining with you before too long.

  5. Congratulations! Great story, fantastic concept and the perfect photos to make it all come to life! Count the Renegars both in for the next one!

  6. What an evening at Stauber Farm. This historic place, good friends, gracious hosts Lamar and Charles …made perfect fall evening. Photographer did perfect job of capturing the moment. Food looks sumptious! This could be a book and I want first copy.
    Most cheerfully,
    Lynn Ziglar

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: