Saturday, June 19, 2010

In Search of Slow Food

I grew up in New York and we have our fair share of stores with unusual names--but the grocery store names down South are way more interesting. Piggly Wiggly, Ukrops, Smith's Red & White, Bi-Lo, Winn Dixie...and my new local fave...Harris Teeter. I just like to say it (to myself!)  They've got good veggies, but I want to get out and find some local produce and start to meet the 'slow food' community.
This is my second weekend in Charlotte and I'm finally out from under the big load of administrative stuff that I had to do to bridge my move from NYC. I met some friends last night who are up from Pawley's Island, SC and they introduced me to their friends. I've joined a few MeetUp groups, so I'm off and running! Well, not really running...

I struck out solo this morning and by that I mean without my GPS. I have to start learning where things are in relation to Uptown, which is Charlotte's downtown area. If you think that's confusing, all the roads change names at least once along their route. I have a bad sense of direction as it is, so this morning it took me a few tries to go 6 miles. It's not a straight shot, I'm not that lame! There's zero traffic on a Saturday morning, so I was able to pull some excellent, unobstructed u-turns.

My destination was the Atherton Market, a new farmer's market in an old trolley barn in the historic South End.

On the way into the parking lot, I saw my "newcomers" tour guide from March, who'd given me a 2 hour overview of the city and 'streetcar suburbs.'   We high fived when I said, "I moved here!!"  I don't feel alone and that's huge, since I moved here by myself.

Like any farmer's market, there was lots to see--food demos, artisanal soaps, fruit, flowers, honey, eggs, artsy jewelry, salsas, etc... What's different is that Charlotte is just waking up to the foodie scene. The city tends to lag behind Atlanta. But, with Johnson & Wales culinary college smack dab in the middle of Uptown, trendy new restaurants and Charlotte's first food cart called 'Harvest Moon" setting a trend, there is a ripple of excitement about a newly opened farmer's market. As a 'jaded New Yorker" it's neat to be in on the start of something.

I got a big bag of (very fuzzy!) peaches from Webb's Orchard for $7, blueberries, fresh ravioli from "The Pasta Wench" and some half sours from "Pickleville." What a yummy day. Here's my recipe for Grilled Peaches:

Halve peaches. Remove pit.
Add some white and brown sugars to a ziploc bag, and toss the peach halves.
Put foil down on the grill grate (over gray coals or med gas flame)
Place peaches cut side down and grill for 15 mins
Turn, grill the other side for 15 mins, or til gorgeous.
Serve over vanilla (or peach!) ice cream and drizzle with peach schnapps if you're feeling extra decadent.

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