To experience the wonders of urban chickens firsthand, cluck on over to Raleigh this Saturday for the fourth annual Henside the Beltline Tour d'Coop. The tour of 24 chicken coops runs from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and hosts the largest number of coops to date, with one even housing nine breeds and others using inventive methods to create uniquely structured henhouses. Informational booths are scattered among the sites, including representatives from Slow Food Triangle, Carolina Farm Stewardship Association and Toxic Free NC. Admission is a non-perishable food or cash donation to Urban Ministries of Wake County. Tickets are available the day of the tour at a variety of locations near the coops. For more information, check out hensidethebeltline.blogspot.com.
For a different kind of farm outing this weekend, venture northeast for the sixth annual Franklin County Farm Tour (919-496-3344, franklincountyfarmfresh.com) featuring 10 farms and local artists' studios. The weekend offers events focused on local food and crafts. On Saturday, May 16, Person Place in Louisburg (605 N. Main St.) hosts the tour's heritage crafts stop and a "Dinner on the Green" ($10-$12) featuring local beef, chicken, vegetables and strawberries. Visit the farm tour's site for details and ticket information; bring a cooler with ice packs if you plan to purchase meats, cheeses and produce along the way.
With its unique muscadine varieties (and French ones, too), Benjamin Vineyards and Winery (6516 Whitney Road, Graham, 336-376-1080, benjaminvineyards.com) offers fun wine dinners, perfect for welcoming the warm weather. On Friday, May 15, they co-host a wine-tasting dinner with the Saxapahaw General Store, featuring an all-local, six-course menu with wine pairings. Cost is $35 per person; reservations are recommended. Saturday, May 23, check out the $75-per-person "paddle dinner." Start with a guided canoe or kayak tour along the Haw River before enjoying dinner overlooking the sprawling vineyard grounds. Make reservations with the Haw River Canoe and Kayak Company at 336-260-6465.
In other wine news, Chapel Hill's West End Wine Bar has opened its Durham location (601 W. Main St., 381-4228, westendwinebar.com).
And Chapel Hill's Jujube (1201-L Raleigh Road, 960-0555, jujuberestaurant.com) is having fun Tuesday, May 19, when it hosts a "Fancy Chablis and Things That Go With Them" dinner at 7 p.m. Chef Charlie Deal (whose Dos Perros Mexican restaurant is scheduled to open in Durham this summer) prepares an old-fashioned clam bake to pair with aged, mostly Grand Cru Chablis. The menu includes a variety of Chablis dating back to 2000 and a range of clam dishes (clams casino, fritters and chowder) accented by corn fritters, fried flounder and braised summer squash, for $65/person. Reservations are recommended.
Know about a fun food happening in the Triangle? Send it to Now Serving at firstname.lastname@example.org.