TerraVita features some of the best talent in the region
Posted September 19
Updated September 20
Chapel Hill, N.C. — TerraVita, one of the country’s leading events focused on sustainable food and drink, returns to Chapel Hill next week, Sept. 28 – Oct. 1. The weekend is a jam-packed lineup of exceptional dinners, tasting events, after-parties with award-winning chefs and authors, and in-depth learning opportunities.
Along with a local food symposium, a trio of gourmet dinners, and the grand tasting event is the daylong “sustainable classroom” on Friday, Sept. 30. A classroom pass includes four self-selected sessions from eight options. This year’s offerings run the gamut, from hands-on cooking and mixology workshops to expert panels on important foodshed topics.
One session, called “A Cut Above,” gives participants food for thought about the synergy and complexity behind raising high-quality proteins. Best-selling author Meredith Leigh teams with one of the Southeast’s top sustainable lamb farmers, Craig Rogers of Border Springs Farm, and award-winning chef Scott Crawford of the highly anticipated Crawford & Son restaurant in Raleigh, to offer dialogue, a demo, and mouthwatering bites of the delicious meat.
More food for thought comes from a session with EatingWell magazine’s Jim Romanoff and Kinston chef, cookbook author, and PBS star Vivian Howard. They’re both part of a workshop, with the “tomato man” Craig LeHoullier, farmer Alex Hitt and legendary chef Frank Lee from Charleston, that will discuss and demystify heirloom breeds – what they are and why they’re important.
Another classroom, “Cultural Gumbo,” will address the appropriation of Southern food. Moderated by Marcie Cohen Ferris, the panel will offer the insight of James Beard Award-winning author Toni Tipton-Martin, Southern-Latina cookbook author Sandra Gutierrez, and Lumbee scholar Malinda Manor Lowery. In preparation for the holiday season, a light-hearted “Get Fizzy With It” class pairs hard ciders with classic Thanksgiving recipes, complete with samples of both.
Food for mind and body is a common thread throughout the four-day event, which maintains an intense focus on local and sustainable fare. This year, TerraVita has added the Jamie Kirk Hahn Foundation, Education NC, and UNC’s Food For All as partners to present an inaugural day-and-a-half symposium called A Carolina Food Summit. The Wednesday afternoon and Thursday programming includes chef Bill Smith Jr., folklorist Jefferson Currie II, writer and author Sheri Castle, chef Clark Barlowe, chef Andrea Reusing, Reverend Richard Joyner, Nancy Gottovi, the Monti creator Jeff Polish, Scott Marlow, James Beard winning author Toni Tipton Martin, and many more.
Annual favorites return, too, including the East Meet West family-style meal, prepared by noted chefs from every region of North Carolina and the Hill Fire extravaganza featuring flame-cooked dishes at the Carrboro Town Commons - home of the Carrboro Farmers’ Market. There also will be a celebration dinner for Vivian Howard kicking off her upcoming book tour for her first book, releasing the following week, on Oct. 4.
Now in its seventh year, TerraVita stands out for producing its diverse schedule with virtually no waste. A strategic partnership with Orange County Solid Waste Management and Brooks Contractors, a commercial composting company in Chatham County, enables the intensive use of compostable goods and recycling of nearly all of waste generated otherwise.
Tickets range from $60 for a designated driver Grand Tasting ticket to $75 for an all-day sustainable classroom pass to $150 for a two-day pass for the Food Summit, with other available ticket prices falling in between. All available tickets can be purchased at terravitafest.com.
WRAL's Out and About is a sponsor of TerraVita.