When it comes to farming and gardening, it always pays to think ahead. Especially when it comes to your soil. Rather than applying fertilizers and other soil amendments your plants may or may not need, you should conduct a soil test to find out what you already have and what you need to create a healthier soil and a better return on your fertilizer investment.
Twelve years ago, Mary Roberts was living the American dream. She had a well-paying corporate job, a home in the country and a new man in her life. Then, like many Americans in the past decade, she saw that dream life suddenly turned upside-down. Roberts was fortunate to quickly find her feet again, only this time they were planted firmly in the soil … at her Windcrest Farm.
Elizabeth Anne Dover was a student at Davidson College, studying towards becoming a diplomat. Instead, she got Carolina clay on her hands. “I saw this PBS special on vineyards, and that they were the new and coming thing,” she says today. “I like challenges, and it sounded like my sort of lifestyle. I love being outside. I love living with nature.”
To look at the large, beefy hands of cheesemaker Zack Gadberry, you’d never guess them capable of pulling and wrapping the thin, delicate strands of mozzarella to make up a round of burrata. About 400 times every week, Gadberry plunges those hands into near-boiling water to form the popular little cheesy pouches found all over Charlotte. From farmers market stands to local retailers to some of the finest dining in town, Uno Alla Volta cheese has stolen its way onto our plates and into our hearts …
Chef Greg Collier and his food have a lot in common. Both seem straightforward at first glance: breakfast means eggs, grits, potatoes, sausage. Collier, a formidable presence manning the grill in his t-shirt and half apron, means plate after plate of simple, hearty food that won’t break the bank. But in both cases, you’d be missing the point if you looked no further.
Let’s get one thing clear: being a farmer was not Dani Rowland’s dream. She grew up a South Charlotte suburban girl with parents hailing from New York City. Flash forward to March 2016, as the slight, energetic Rowland leaves her last remaining hourly job to devote herself full-time to the success of Rowland’s Row Farm in Cabarrus County.
On March 13, 2016, 110 attendees came to Johnson and Wales University in Uptown Charlotte for the first Piedmont Culinary Guild Food and Beverage Symposium. Chefs, farmers, food artisans, educators, food journalists, plus eager consumer foodists – coming as far away as Virginia and Charleston – came to be introduced to or deepen their knowledge of the growing, preparation, and management of sustainable foods.
When Matt Martin arrived in Charlotte in 2013, he had a specific plan in mind. He approached his new job at Fern, Flavors of the Garden as a stepping stone. Two years later, instead of simply adding a vegetarian notch to his chef belt, he has embraced this career path fully, remaining at Fern, now as Executive Chef, at the ripe old age of 25.
Though PCG members include some of Charlotte’s best-known chefs, many less visible kitchens around the city house culinarians with equal drive and dedication, serving a less typical clientele. Naomi Knox, Nick Kepp, and Ed Price focus on different groups presenting different challenges, yet they find common ground in the age old fellowship of breaking bread together.
PCG Member Caroline Delaney’s slight build and shy smile might lull you into thinking she’s just the office manager at Muddy River Distillery. After all, she was firmly settled into a career as an accountant when husband Rob decided to license his hobby into a legal distillery. “It was going to be his thing,” she recalls. “That’s why we didn’t really talk about it when we got married…and then I got dragged into it.”