A Farmers View on Buying and Eating from your Local Community of Farmers

 

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One great thing about eating local is the freshness of the product. At Poverty Creek Farm we raise beef, pork and poultry along with a variety of vegetables and sale to the public and to restaurants. The freshness of the product is one of our keys to success. We pick vegetables before every farmers market, every restaurant order, so basically every day! What we don’t sell we feed to the hogs and chickens. We don’t sell anything we wouldn’t use to cook for our own children. Freshness is important, not only for taste, but for nutritional value. As vegetables age they deteriorate and lose a lot of their nutrients.

That freshness and that goodness is what keeps our customers coming back for more. Take our Bratwurst sausage for example, one of my biggest sellers… once you try it you’ll never want store bought cured bratwurst again! An all-natural casing provides for 4 links in a pound pack of a lean, high quality all pork products. A tried and true family recipe provides the perfect flavors to complement your backyard cookout, or your favorite vegetables cooked on a skillet.

At Poverty Creek, our animals are raised with no hormones, no steroids and no antibiotics. We use vinegar, diatomaceous earth (food grade) and a mindful eye that allows us to raise animals with traditional farming practices.  We don’t have to use conventional methods to keep our animals healthy, or get our vegetables to grow. We use natural practices, because we figure there is no need to manipulate something that works so well. Yes it may take a little longer for my peas to reach maturity than those big corporate farms, but sometimes things that are hurried along are not always the best. My vegetables and meat products may not contain fertilizers, steroids, genetic modifications, and artificial anything, but they do contain the love of a family who has dedicated their lives to the land, and the products they produce.

Website: www.povertycreekfarm.com 

Facebook: Poverty Creek Farm

Email: info@povertycreekfarm.com

Call: 828-289-8234

We all do it… Time to give yourself the night off and share a meal together!

We all do it.  We get on the phone with a friend, talk for about 15 minutes, then say, “We need to get together soon.”  Two weeks later, we have the same conversation, ending with the same, “We need to get together soon.”  The pace of life, especially for those with children at home, can be hectic and chaotic.  Time spent with friends has to be put on the back burner in order to keep everyone on schedule and keeping up with their commitments.  Sometimes, during this particularly busy time in our lives, our friendships can drift apart because so many other things take priority.

Why not call up your friends and share a meal together?  Dine Out Charlotte is a great way to enjoy a meal at a great restaurant while saving some money.  Give yourself a night off of cooking and have a great get-together at one of Charlotte’s many great restaurants participating in Dine Out Charlotte.  Spring time is the perfect time to reconnect with your friends and reestablish the bonds of friendship.  After all, everyone has to eat!  Why not use that time to try out a new restaurant while spending some overdue time with your friends?

Because the restaurants participating in Dine Out Charlotte have prix fixe menus, you know that you can enjoy a meal while keeping with even a tight budget.  You don’t have to worry that you will spend more than you’re willing to, or that your kids will order something outrageously expensive.  You can relax, enjoy your meal, and know that you are getting an amazing deal. 

Spring is the perfect time to get out of your Winter rut and try something new. Dine Out Charlotte provides an opportunity for you to eat some excellent food, catch up with friends, and have a night off of kitchen duty.

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Photo taken at Blackthorne Restaurant and Bar

Dining Local from a Native Charlottean’s Perspective – Guest Blog by Caitlin Sellers

Special thanks to Caitlin Sellers for featuring Dine Out Charlotte Spring Restaurant Week on her blog this week.

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FINALLY!!!! The weather is beautiful. One of my favorite things to do is look at all of the blooming flowers and especially the cherry blossom trees lining the streets.

Today I enjoyed my lunch outside in Dilworth off of East Blvd…. talk about vitamin D in 70 degree weather! Al fresco dining reminded me of how soon Dine Out Charlotte’s first ever Spring Restaurant Week is (April 12-21).

There are many great aspects I admire about this spring restaurant week:

  1. The 30+ participating restaurants are all LOCAL
  2. The type of restaurants participating are a wide variety and a price range for 3+ courses is $22-$32….affordable for anyone!
  3. The $2 proceeds go to Charlotte’s Second Harvest Food Bank of Metrolina’s Child Hunger Programs. One of the Child Hunger Programs to benefit includes the Johnson & Wales Kids Café Prepared Meals program.

Dineoutcharlotte.com allows you to:

  • Book in advance
  • See what pocket of Charlotte, NC (neighborhood) the restaurant you want to enjoy is in
  • The price tag
  • The type of cuisine
  • The menu itself
  • Al Fresco (outdoor) dining (They ALL do!)

I am so excited to see locals thriving in the community. I am so proud to see my hometown city growing rapidly. The Queen City is the best place to be in the spring! Get excited for the newest type of restaurant week Charlotte has to offer.

To all you foodies out there, appreciate the beauty of dining local!

Make your reservations TODAY before they fill up at Dine Out Charlotte

 *Photo Credit*

Spring Break “Foodcation”

If you could travel anywhere for a week, where would you go?  What if money were no object?  Where would your perfect Spring Break vacation be? The French Riviera? Cancún?  Greece?  Does your perfect getaway include adventure, leisure, or a mixture of both?

For me, my personal travel destination would be Italy.  I would love to go and spend a week strolling (or boating) through the streets.  I would love to experience the Italian culture in all of its richness and diversity.  With three kids, a mortgage, and college to save for, though, a trip to Italy is not in my immediate future.  What I can do is go on a culinary Spring Break.  Thanks to Dine Out Charlotte, I will be doing just that.

I think I’ll start my culinary journey at Osso. Located at NC Music Factory, Osso is a great starting place for my food vacation.  I will start by choosing to dine al fresco.  Just choosing to dine outside seems to lend a more European, laid back atmosphere to the dining experience.  They offer DJ music, too, so I will be able to enrapture all five senses into my dining destination.

I’ll also visit Rudy’s.  Named after the owner, Rudy Amadio, Rudy’s offers neighborhood Italian fare.  I imagine small, neighborhood restaurants like Rudy’s all over Italy, and I know that I will capture some of that down-home Italian cooking at Rudy’s.  It has a more casual feel to it, so taking the family is a great idea.

I will round out my foodcation by visiting Fiamma.  This is what I imagine Italy’s great Trattoriasto to be like: Homey décor, sumptuous food, and an incredible wine list.  Nestled in posh Dilworth, Fiamma promises to delight the senses and deliver fine Italian dining.  If you’ve ever wondered what an Italian vegetarian would eat, go to Fiamma!  They have an incredible selection of vegetarian dishes.  I was delighted to find out that they also have gluten-free options, something I have to tell my friends about!

Since flying off to Italy is not a budget-friendly option for me, I am going to take advantage of Dine Out Charlotte week (April 12-21) and enjoy the best of Italy right here in Charlotte.  If I see you there, I’ll raise my glass to another savvy restaurant connoisseur.

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Feed Hungry Kids (and yourself) with Dine Out Charlotte – Guest Blog by Charlotte Foodie

Here’s a new twist on the traditional Charlotte Restaurant Week: Dine Out Charlotte. The “week” runs for ten days (April 12th – 21st) just like the traditional CRW, but this one has a charitable kick to it: $2 of each meal is donated to the Second Harvest Food Bank’s Feed Hungry Kids program. 

 
Traditional CRW happens each summer and winter, but Dine Out Charlotte gives local diners a springtime option. The 3 course prix fixe meals are either $22 or $32 dollars, depending on the restaurant. To view the participating restaurants, their special menus for this week, and to make reservations, go to: http://dineoutcharlotte.com/restaurantlist.php
 
Some highlights: Restaurant Week favorite Blue features a Bison Osso Buco and their sublime Sticky Toffee Pudding. Fiamma has almost their entire regular menu on their event menu, and Maestro’s Bar and Bistro in Pineville is featuring their Apricot & Brandy Lacquered Duck Breast and my personal favorite, their Filet Mignon Medallions with Cabernet Demiglace. For the budget conscious,  both Cantina 1511 locations are offering their 3 course menus for $22 AND  the second course has pairings that include a beer or glass of wine.
 
The Dine Out Charlotte event is focusing on local independent restaurants and chefs featuring menus with fresh, local spring produce. Second Harvest Food Bank’s Feed Hungry Kids program will be able to buy 8lbs of food with each $2 dinner donation. Great food, great cause, what else could you ask for? Come on Charlotte, Let’s Eat!
 
 
Make your reservations today at: http://dineoutcharlotte.com
 
“Like” Dine Out Charlotte on Facebook for latest updates: https://www.facebook.com/dineoutcharlotte?ref=hl 
 
 

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Dine Out, Charlotte, and do good – Guest blog by Helen Schwab “Helen Dining”

Locally owned restaurants pitch in to help the hungry through the new Dine Out Charlotte, a spring kind of restaurant week that’s offering dinner at more than 30 area places.

April 12-21 (yes, it’s a 10-day “week”), you can get three courses for $22 or $32 (depending on the restaurant’s price ranges), and $2 of that is donated directly to the Second Harvest Food Bank’s Feed Hungry Kids program, says founder Jeff Ahmadi. The website lets you book tables, and restaurants are still being added to the list, Ahmadi says. Among those on the current list: Blackthorne, Blue, Cafe Monte, Campania, Cantina 1511 (whose ownership includes area folks), City Tavern, Dressler’s, Fiamma, the Harper’s/Mimosa Grill/Upstream siblings, Hot Stone Grill, Maestro’s Bar and Bistro, Miro, Miyagi’s, Nick’s Steak, Old Stone, Osso, Pisces, Prickly Pear, Red Rocks, Rudy’s, Santé, Senor Tequila, Wooden Vine and Zen Fusion.

 
 
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***Photo taken at Blue Restaurant and Bar

Why don’t adults get a Spring Break???

After a long winter, the words “Spring Break” sound like an angel’s chorus!

The kids get a full week without getting up before the sun, whining through a hasty breakfast, and getting to the bus stop on time.  There’s no homework, and most after-school activities (ballet in my household) are off for the week.  Some families decide that Spring Break is the perfect opportunity to take a vacation, and set off for an adventurous week.

The downside to this for parents is all the things mentioned above!  The kids have a full week with nothing to do.  Within an hour of waking on Monday morning, parents hear “I’m bored.”  Scrambling, parents must find things to do to fill the hours.  It wouldn’t be right to allow the kids a week full of television zombie existence, right?  If you do plan a trip, there’s the planning, the packing, the travel, the frantic “do everything you can while you’re there”, and then the traveling home, unpacking, and the week’s worth of laundry.  This is not Spring Break for the parents!  This is a double load of work!!

I was on Facebook today, and a friend posted “Why don’t adults get a Spring Break???”  Well, friend, I have the perfect response to your question.  Dine Out Charlotte is Spring Break for us, the parents who desperately need a break after having the kids home for a full week!  Hang on, adults!  Your Spring Break is coming!!

Miró Spanish Grille is one of my favorites.  Tucked into upscale Stonecrest shopping center, Miró offers true Mediterranean cuisine that satisfies even the most discriminating palate.  Enjoy a glass of Sangria while you dine on one of their delicious appetizers (I’d try their Almejas- sautéed clams in garlic, olive oil, and white wine).  Choosing one of their entrees might present a difficult decision, but the truth is that you really can’t go wrong.

If you’d like to sample a more traditional Mexican cuisine, I’d suggest Cantina 1511.  With one location in Dilworth and one in Ballantyne, there’s a location close to you.  Sip on a gigantic Margarita and look over their menu.  Whether you want authentic Mexican or you prefer Tex-Mex, Cantina 1511 has the entrée for you.  My personal favorite is the steak quesadilla.  As a quesadilla connoisseur, I can tell you that their steak quesadilla is the best I’ve ever tasted.  Sumptuous and tender, the flavor combination is out of this world.

Spring Break for parents?  Why didn’t we think of this before? It starts April 12th and runs for 10 nights. I am calling my spring break friends and making plans!  Find the participating restaurants at www.DineOutCharlotte.comImage

Support Your Farmers. Buy Local!

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Local farmers’ markets are filling up as locally-produced foods overflow the stalls.  Customers flock in to pick their fruits and vegetables from the massive offerings.  Eating fresh food, especially when it’s locally grown, is one of the sweet pleasures of Spring. Eating locally-grown, fresh produce is a pleasing rite of the new season, and Spring produce is rich with varied offerings.

Have you ever heard of the “Spring mix”?  These are leafy greens that are ready for harvest in the Spring.  Varied in color, texture, and nutrients, this mix makes a perfect leafy green salad mix.   While iceberg lettuce remains a staple for salads, adding leafy greens such as arugula, spinach, and romaine will round out your salad in texture, flavor, and nutrients.  The more colorful your salad, the healthier and more varied nutrition you will get.  The best idea is to eat them as fresh as you can- the more time lapses between harvest and ingestion, the fewer nutritional benefits you will receive.

There are plentiful fruits and vegetables that are ready to eat in the Spring:  asparagus, strawberries, broccoli, cauliflower, grapefruit, collard greens, and oranges are just a few of the vegetables and fruits that are ready to eat in the Spring.  Herbs such as chives, dill, lemongrass, marjoram, and oregano mature in time for Spring.

Eating foods fresh, when they are in season, helps your body to gain the most nutritional support from the foods.  The nutritional value of a food starts to decline when it is picked.  The fresher you can get the food, prepare it, and consume it, the more nutritional value you will receive.  Eating fresher foods also means that you will get the best flavor from the ingredients.  As foods move further and further from their harvest time, the flavors they hold get weaker or change.

When eating out, it’s best to choose restaurants which use locally produced foods.  This will provide better food with better nutritional value.  It also helps ensure that you will not be consuming preservatives or additives, because the food is fresh.  Overall, you will have a better dining experience with a better quality of food when you choose a restaurant that uses local produce and meat.

Want to support your local farmers but can’t make it to the market? Check out Farm to Front Porch. Their mission is to provide a fresh new way for the Charlotte area to think about local food. Their unified market and fast home delivery services will make it simple to buy the very best in farm fresh with absolutely none of the hassle.

Support Charlotte’s Economy. Buy Local!

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Have you heard the buzz about supporting small businesses?  Small businesses feed right into the local economy, so when you shop a small business, you’re helping your own community.  A few years’ back, an initiative to help local communities called “Small Business Saturday” was started.  Instead of shopping huge franchises where most of the profit goes elsewhere, shoppers are encouraged to shop small businesses.  Small businesses get a boost in sales, which feed right back into their local community.  Sales increase, jobs increase, and taxes paid to the local community increase.  All of these things add together to boost the local economy.

Dine Out Charlotte is another opportunity to boost the local community.  Instead of spending money at a restaurant franchise, you can choose to spend your money at a locally owned restaurant.  These restaurants feed right into the local economy.  They provide local jobs and they pay local taxes.  They employ local people.  They purchase food supplies such as produce and meats locally.  The revenues feed right back into the local economy.

When you choose to spend money on a franchise owned restaurant, most of the revenue goes to the corporate location.  Unless the corporate offices happen to be in Charlotte, most of the money you spend to visit the restaurant ends up going to another community.  The foods purchased come from elsewhere, because most franchises purchase all of their food at the same place, freeze it, and send it to each of their franchises.  Unless that food location happens to be Charlotte, Charlotte does not benefit at all from the food purchases.

When you add up all the factors, it’s simply logical to see that supporting locally owned businesses is better for the local economy than dining at a franchise.  When choosing where your money will be spent, remember that supporting small businesses is supporting Charlotte’s local economy.

Dine Out Charlotte is the perfect opportunity to discover your new favorite, locally owned restaurant.  Taking advantage of a great deal is ideal for supporting local restaurants.

Spring has arrived!

Spring is here! It seems that the snow and ice are behind the Queen City. The cherry trees are blooming, the leaves are budding on the trees, and the sweet smell of renewed life is in the air. The days are longer, and the stores are full of bathing suits, sun hats, and sunblock. All over the city, people are emerging from a cold winter’s hibernation.

Springtime in Charlotte is a wonderful time to explore. Ride the train into downtown and spend a day walking the streets. You will find downtown’s offerings to be plentiful and various. What’s best about downtown Charlotte is that you will find lots of local restaurants. These restaurants are not part of a national chain; rather, they create, refine, and nurture a local flavor with a professional chef in the kitchen. Choosing which local restaurant you will patronize will be difficult, but you can’t go wrong! If you’re looking for a fresh flavor palate, you should definitely choose local. Look for a restaurant that offers al fresco seating. After all, it’s the best way to experience Charlotte in the Spring.

Drop off the kids with a sitter, meet your best girlfriends, and enjoy a night out on the town. Hibernate no more! It’s time to kick back, have a glass of wine, and relax with your friends. A night off of kitchen duty is just the thing to celebrate the start of warmer weather.
If you choose a restaurant featured in Dine Out Charlotte, you can take advantage of an awesome opportunity while supporting Second Harvest Food Bank. First, you will get a great discount, which makes a perfect opportunity for trying a new restaurant. It’s easy to get stuck in a rut, but with these discounts, you can choose a restaurant that you haven’t visited before. A portion of your meal cost will go to Second Harvest Food Bank, which serves the Charlotte area. With all these positives, you can’t go wrong!