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The Old and the New

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Among all the seasons, fall is the one that most inspires thoughts about change and constancy; about the old and the new. At the autumnal equinox, recently passed, late summer still lingered. On that day, I saw the perfect symbol of the changing season in a roadside fruit stand out in the county: Beside summer's watermelons (a little pale now) rose up the ranks of autumn's orange pumpkin harvest. And along the road by the farmhouses, little hand-lettered signs told no more of tomatoes, or peaches, but of grapes for sale.

In this issue of DISH, we have stories about both the old and the new. Matt Jones tells us about one of the most noticeable changes in the Triangle's food scene--the advent of tiendas, Hispanic grocery stores, throughout our area. These stores sell foods that many of us have never heard of--yet--but that will change the way we eat as the population here becomes more, widely speaking, American.

Linda Burnham reassures us that everything valuable from our culinary past is not being lost. Burnham visited with Lee Calhoun, whose unexpected life mission turned out to be the saving of old apple varieties particularly suited to our climate. In his Chatham County orchard, Calhoun grows hundreds of varieties with poetic names, and Burnham writes lyrically about his adventures in pomology.

I met with the folks at SEEDS, Southeastern Efforts Developing Sustainable Spaces, in Durham. This nonprofit organization brings new life to derelict areas by creating gardens and working with people to help them grow their own food. SEEDS is making something old--the neighborhood garden plot--new again, and revitalizing communities through food production. Their work reminds us that the essential link between human life and the vegetative life remains a constant no matter what the season.

The search for good drink, like the search for good food, is also a constant, and Ristin Cooks let her words flow on one of her favorite subjects: beer, glorious beer. She talked with brewers and owners at some of the Triangle's brewhouses and pubs about their processes, and Cooks tells us convincingly exactly why it is that the hundreds of varieties of beer produced in the current craft-beer renaissance do actually taste different. As all these stories point out, sometimes the old ways are the newest, and the best.

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