It's September, and aren't we all ready to throw ourselves back into things? To participate in the age-old ritual of the harvest? To taste new flatbreads? That's right, our food scene is now serving up opportunities in grapes and crepes.
The summer has been sticky and hot, and it's not over yet. But I'm not whining about the weather; I'm relishing good conditions for grape growing. Max Lloyd, the owner of Grove Winery & Vineyards, just west of the Triangle in Gibsonville (7360 Brooks Bridge Road, 336-584-4060, www.grovewinery.com), reports less than 0.2 inches of rain at his vineyard in the four weeks leading up to Aug. 19.
Lloyd, who cultivates 44 acres, continues: "It is very dry at Grove, and this is good for the 2009 vintage. Sugars and flavors are already high, and harvest dates for early varieties like chardonnay and tempranillo may need to be moved earlier."
This means Lloyd plans to pick grapes every Saturday in September—and needs volunteers to help. "We usually get a number of folks each year who want to get an insider view of the vineyard and winemaking process and be part of the festival that is the crush," he writes. "We get started at 8 a.m., and Grove buys the lunch. If you'd like to help with harvest, e-mail us with your availability at firstname.lastname@example.org." Definitely call or e-mail first.
September is also high harvest season for muscadine grapes. Are you down with the 'dine? You might want to try it, because this native Southerner is packed with antioxidants. You can search for pick-your-own farms at www.ncfarmfresh.com, and the North Carolina Muscadine Grape Society offers links to local wineries that make muscadine wine at www.ncmuscadine.org/muscwine.html.
I want to try crepes for breakfast, lunch and dinner. I realized this while walking around Carrboro one Saturday morning, and right next to the "Farmers' Market TODAY!" signs was a "Crepes TODAY!" sign. The second sign pointed to Johnny's (901 S. Main St., 932-5070, johnnyscarrboro.com), a former bait-and-tackle shop that's now a funky coffee shop, gathering place and grocery. Johnny's is in the back—and backyard—of the property; the front is a tienda.
Every Saturday, Jody Argote, chef and proprietress of Parlez-Vouz Crepe (906-2305, www.parlezvouscrepe.com) pulls in to prepare breakfast, lunch and dessert crepes to order from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. If you can't catch her then, visit her Web site for her schedule, which includes a trip to the Shakori Hills Grassroots Festival from Oct. 8-11.
On the eastern side of the Triangle, Coffee & Crepes (315 Crossroads Blvd., Cary, 233-0288, www.coffeeandcrepes.com) has been preparing crepes to order (for breakfast, lunch and, yes, dinner) since 2003. They even have whole wheat and buckwheat crepes. The breakfast offerings are what you might imagine—eggs Benedict, western omelets—but all on a crepe. Lunch and dinner offerings, such as a mushroom Swiss crepe and a crabcake crepe, are served with couscous or salad.
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