High on the Hog Carolina Field Trip

June 21—23, 2012

In and Around Eastern North Carolina

In June 2012, SFA traveled eastern North Carolina–through the homeland of whole hog barbecue, where the collards are sweet and so is the scuppernong wine–toward the mouth of the Neuse River in New Bern, with SFA app-loaded smart phones in hand.

We began on Thursday night in Raleigh, at Beasley’s Chicken + Honey. Proprietor Ashley Christensen, Matt Kelley of Vin Rouge, and Karen Barker of Magnolia Grill, dished fried chicken bathed in Carolina barbecue sauce, vegetables pulled straight from the dirt, and pies dispatched straight from heaven. Shirlette Ammons, poet and chanteuse, sang for our supper.

During the two days that followed, we heard from experts and raconteurs, including:
— Fred Chappell, the celebrated past poet laureate of North Carolina
–David Cecelski, who documents foodways for the North Carolina Folk Institute
–Rien Fertel, a key player in the SFA’s barbecue oral history road team
–Sheri Castle, author of the New Southern Garden Cookbook
–Fred Thompson, author of Barbecue Nation, among other works

A few edible highlights included:
–Phoebe Lawless of Scratch and Amy Tornquist of Watts Grocery serving the bagged breakfast of your dreams
–Behind-the-pits tour of the Skylight Inn in Ayden, led by Samuel Jones
–Eastern Carolina Barbecue and Collards Feast with Bum’s BBQ, B’s Barbecue, and Skylight Inn
–Crab Stew and Fish Muddle on the banks of the Neuse River, featuring Bill Smith of Crook’s Corner, Sam McGann of The Blue Point, and the force of nature known as Bill Smith’s Sisters
–Farm Luncheon in Kinston with Vivian Howard and Ben Knight of Chef and the Farmer
–No holds barred SFA Rules Baseball Game at the Carolina League Park in Kinston, with concessions from King’s BBQ, Wilber’s Barbecue, Grady’s BBQ, and Mother Earth Brewing.

Anson Mills, of Charleston and Columbia, South Carolina, produces artisan mill goods from organic heirloom grains. Since 2007, they have served as sponsor of our annual summer Field Trip.