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

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Great Harvest Cinnamon French Toast with Bixbys Lavender Honey {Sunday Brunch}

It’s one of those days. Outside the air has turned crisp and cool. And inside, we’re in need of a little warm indulgence in our lives.

So we headed into our kitchen to rummage around for inspiration and found just the right local ingredients on hand.


I had visited my parents’ Great Harvest Bakery in Chapel Hill for their daily free sample…

make that two…or three…I just..can’t…stop…

And eventually back to Winston-Salem I came with their ooey gooey delicious cinnamon roll bread.


Meanwhile, Harrison had cruised by the Reynolda Village Farmers Market and scored some divine lavender honey from Bixby Honey Farm out of Advance, NC…


We threw in some bananas, pecans, sprinkles of cinnamon, a couple of farm fresh eggs and freshly brewed Krankies Coffee


This my friends, is a collaboration done right.

 

Until we revel in local indulgences again,

a + h

Farmers Market Huevos with Shishito Peppers and Tomatoes

For me, part of the fun of checking out a new city is exploring around, asking questions and uncovering its local gems. So in that spirit, we decided that when we moved back to Winston-Salem we would keep an open-mind and explore it as if it was new to us. Discover. Uncover. Be pleasantly surprised.

And with this little shift in perception, we have already stumbled across a whole other world that we maybe once overlooked. It’s also impressive to see what a difference a year or so has made. New local gems have seemingly sprouted up overnight – thanks no doubt to the dedicated work of some passionate people that we would like to salute.

For instance, last Saturday we took a break from unpacking the dreaded moving boxes and headed over to the Cobblestone Farmers Market in Old Salem. The idyllic setting includes restored historic homes that now function as a living museum.

The Saturday market, which takes place from 9am – 12p, is adjacent to the historic Single Brothers Garden and restores a tradition that began over 200 years ago in historic Salem. (If you really want to ‘nerd out’ with us, check out this scoop on restoring traditional Salem food systems) It’s no wonder US News already named this new market one of the best in the country!

Fun fact – this is also where we said ‘I do’…


The Cobblestone Market is operated by Cultivate Piedmont, a program of the Carolina Farm Stewardship Association and also holds a Tuesday market downtown across the street from Krankies Coffee.


Vendors at this all-local, producers-only market are carefully selected based on their healthy, sustainable, and humane practices. We had the pleasure of meeting quite a few of these fine folks including Jeff from Sugarcreek Farms and Issac and Wendy from Harmony Ridge Farms.

From Jeff we scored these bright shishito peppers …


…and from Issac, these gorgeous sun-gold, black and red cherry tomatoes


After we begrudgingly returned home to get back to unpacking, we decided to take one more quick detour to use our fresh goodies (along with a nice chocolate pepper we had on hand from Sanders Ridge Farm) to whip up a little Littell comfort food.

A plate of bold huevos always makes unpacking a little brighter….

Farm Fresh Huevos with Peppers, Tomatoes and Onion

Ingredients

  • (5) eggs
  • (16) – (18) Shishito Peppers (cut in ½ and de-seeded)
  • (1) and (1/2) cups of assorted cherry tomatoes (cut in 1/2)
  • (1) medium onion (medium diced)
  • (1) chocolate pepper (de-seeded, small julienne, thinly sliced)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • (1/4) to (1/2) cup of fresh salsa verde – depending on how spicy you want things
  • optional toppings – queso fresco and chopped cilantro

Directions
1.    Saute your onions and peppers until they begin to caramelize.
2.    Add in your tomatoes, salt and pepper and salsa verde. Sauté lightly.
3.    Then add your eggs. We recommend you actually crack your eggs directly into the pan. Stir to break up and cook your eggs thoroughly.
4.    Add your optional toppings after plate up and enjoy!

Chili Sweet Potatoes

Ingredients:

  • (2) sweet potatoes (medium dice)
  • (1) medium onion (medium dice)
  • (2) garlic cloves
  • (1) Tablespoon of Mexican Hot Chili Powder
  • (1) Tablespoon of chopped cilantro

Directions:
1. Saute your sweet potatoes, onions and garlic until tender and caramelization takes place.
2. Then add in your remaining ingredients, combine, lightly sauté and plate.

Until we find fresh inspiration again,

a + h