What's on Tap

What's on Tap

It's all local: Carolina Farm Trust Dinner at Vin Rouge

Posted October 12, 2016 9:37 a.m. EDT
Updated July 13, 2018 3:02 p.m. EDT

Photo by Meg Smigielska

— Have you heard of Carolina Farm Trust? Do you support local farmers? Bet you’ve heard a thing or two about the challenges small local farms face these days.

The mission of the Carolina Farm Trust is to protect farmland and foster an ecosystem of sustainable farming in both North Carolina and South Carolina. Here’s a not-so-fun fact - in North Carolina alone, we lose about 100,000 acres of land every year to urban and suburban development. That figure shocked me. Once that land is gone, it’s gone.

Carolina Farm Trust founder Zack Wyatt recognized the land shortage we have in North and South Carolina as the single greatest impediment for new farmers and for those who desire to expand their farms. Wyatt is passionate about helping Carolina farmers extend the life of their farms, helping them acquire new land, assisting with expensive farm equipment repairs and replacements and other challenges that go into being a small local farmer.

Recently, the organization partnered with the Vin Rouge restaurant in Durham to put on a fabulous four-course dinner at the rustic French restaurant. The dinner featured ingredients from a few of the farms associated with Carolina Farm Trust.

Sure, you can go the Carolina Farm Trust website to donate money for their cause, but you can also attend a fun and delicious fundraiser event like this dinner. That's what I did.

Vin Rogue dinner

Right before each course was served, we heard a little bit from each farmer who provided the ingredients for the given course. It really brought it home for me, hearing from the very people who actually own and work these farms and learning just how seriously they take farming. It made for not just a fun and delicious event, but a meaningful one, too.

These are small local farmers who sell either straight from their farms or from various farmers markets and stores that deal with small local farms.

The featured farmers at the dinner included:

  • Blue Whistler Farm, Bahama NC
  • Carolina Farmhouse Dairy, Bahama, NC
  • Green Button Farm, Bahama, NC
  • Prodigal Farm, Rougemont, NC

Compliments to the chef! Or in this case, chefs! Chefs John Knox and Matthew Kelly created amazingly delicious courses for this dinner.

My very favorite was the first course - Spanish Mackerel served with a kefir, cucumber and watermelon sauce. Never have I ever had or thought to have cucumber and watermelon combined, but it was an unexpected and delicious surprise.

Vin Rogue Dinner

For the second course, we were served rabbit and okra gumbo. It was very hearty and flavorful, and I liked it a lot. The third course was Harissa braised pork shank. Not only outstanding in taste, the dish looked beautiful, too.

Vin Rogue dinner

Vin Rogue dinner

Lastly, for our fourth course, we had a dish called the "Field of Creams," which was cheese with pepper jam and loose hazelnuts. It was a very tasty finish to the evening.

And, what is dinner without wine? The generous folks at Bordeaux Fine & Rare donated all of the wine for this wonderful dinner.

The event was organized by Tabletop Media Group. If you aren’t familiar, founder and NC native Kristen Baughman and her team often organize events such as these.

The other fun part of this event was that guests got to mingle and chat with other like-minded folks. A sit-down party, if you will! To try similar events or find out how you can help local farmers, check out the Carolina Farm Trust website.

Read more by Meg Smigielska on her blog, Meg Here & There.