The end of the year is often marked by the types of food that are served. Thanksgiving usually calls for a turkey, some cranberry sauce and a lot of stuffing. Christmas consists of honey-baked ham, fruit cake and mashed potatoes. Regardless of what you and your family enjoy during the holiday season, everyone can appreciate supporting the community. In fact, many local restaurants incorporate local produce into their festive dishes so you can have the best of both worlds.
Small B & B Cafe emphasizes their use of locally-grown produce as a farm-to-table breakfast and lunch place.
“Right now we are seeing some wonderful shiitake mushrooms and we are using them in a mushroom toast with cream and butter and it goes on rosemary toast,” said co-owner Lisa Piper. “We are also making a plate of grits with shiitake mushrooms that have been sautéed with local green onions and we are gonna top that with eggs, local of course.”
Piper said she and her husband go to the mountains to get fresh North Carolina apples to make a number of items.
“We were doing cornmeal pancakes with apples and walnuts and the usual apple pies and cakes,” Piper said. “We will probably make some applesauce to go on a roast pork sandwich, too.”
Piper said she likes supporting local farmers because the produce does not have to be transported very far and it tastes better.
“I know who I’m buying it from so it makes me feel good about keeping them going and I always am very picky about who I want to buy things from,” Piper said. “Ultimately, it’s a healthier way to eat because it tastes better and you want to eat more of it and you don’t have to dress it up”
Chef Bill Smith of Crook’s Corner also incorporates local produce into his dishes, especially since they are seasonal and Southern-informed.
“Buying local produce is fresher and keeps money in your community and encourages the agriculture around here to stick around,” Smith said. “We are very lucky around here because we have very old and very good farmers’ markets.”
Smith said he has known some of the local farmers for as long as 30 years, creating a relationship that benefits both parties.
“It helps the economy in my community even though it is a bit more expensive, which is the only drawback,” Smith said.
The most famous fall dish that Smith creates is persimmon pudding which is made with wild persimmons.
Mama Dip’s takes the use of local produce to the extreme by making traditional country cooking that Mildred Council (Mama Dip) made while living on the farm.
“We cook with salt pork, margarine, salt and pepper because that’s all that Mama had while growing up,” Elaine Council said. “We do use other spices but mostly just traditional cooking spices.”
Mama Dip’s serves the same menu year-round that includes 17 different vegetables from the local farmers’ market.
“We use fresh potatoes, collard greens and peaches,” Council said. “Anything we can get fresh.”