The solstice has passed and the sunny days are dwindling. But as far as I am concerned, the truest sign of summer has only just arrived in the form of tomatoes—loads and loads of tomatoes.
On Saturday, the Carrboro Farmers' Market (carrborofarmersmarket.com) will celebrate the bounty with its annual Tomato Day. More than 70 varieties—from Green Zebra to Nebraska Wedding heirlooms—will be featured. Find samples in the market gazebo beginning at 8:30 a.m., along with a list of farms and their tomato offerings.
Continue the celebration in town, too. Businesses including ACME, Bowbarr, Carrboro Craft Market, Fifth Season, Glasshalfull, Neal's Deli and Orange County Social Club will offer specials for Tomato Day attendees on Saturday and in the week that follows. Present the official Tomato Day map, available at the market, to each participating place.
Raleigh resident Jenny Bonchak also has plans to celebrate the season through food. Her new business, Slingshot Coffee Company (slingshotcoffee.tumblr.com), features bottled cold-brew Counter Culture coffee to compliment the weather. "I am really interested in a seasonal approach to [coffee]," Bonchak says. "What you taste in a bottle in June is not what you'll taste in November or April." Bonchak's summer brew will launch July 15.
No matter what the season, Bonchak offers Slingshot coffees in two versions: a 16-ounce bottle that is ready to drink (two servings) and a 16-ounce bottle of concentrate (four servings). Of the latter, Bonchak says there are uses for it well beyond a cup. She recently incorporated the concentrate into a marinade for steaks, and Crumb bakery in Raleigh used the syrup with donut muffins.
Slingshot Coffee is currently available in Raleigh at Tasty Beverage Company, Escazu Artisan Chocolates, Market Restaurant, Bottle Revolution and Jubala Village Coffee. Bonchak hopes to soon expand to locations in Durham as well.
Bonchak sees remarkable potential in beverages to bring people together, saying, "Relationships can be rooted in a cup of coffee."
Benjamin Filippo of the 10% Campaign (ncsu.edu/project/nc10percent) sees relationship potential too—in weeds. At 5 p.m. on Friday, July 13, the 10% Campaign, a program supported by the Center for Environmental Farming Systems, will host its first Speed Weeding event at the Duke Campus Farm (4910 Friends School Road, Durham).
Filippo, who manages marketing and restaurant outreach for the 10% Campaign, says the program—a take on speed dating—will "give younger people who care about local food an opportunity to meet each other" while working on and learning about the farm. Duke Farm provides a good amount of food to Duke Dining, which is an event sponsor along with Duke Farm, Fullsteam and Cafe Bon Appetit.
After an hour spent weeding side by side, participants will partake in a dinner featuring food from the farm. "We want this to be a model," says Filippo, who hopes to expand Speed Weeding to other community gardens and farms in the future.
The program is free and open to the public. RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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