The day started around 4:30 a.m. Thatâ€™s when Miguel Torres and Rudy Rodriguez of Lantern restaurant showed up at the Chapel Hill Creamery to dig a pit and start the coals for the goat and lamb that would be cooked Monterrey style.
By 7 a.m. the goat and lamb, wrapped in cactus, banana leaves and foil were in the ground and covered. Passing by, you wouldnâ€™t know that beneath the two stone markers over the freshly disturbed earth something culinary was happening.
Bill Dow of Ayshire Farm serving up warm radicchio
and goat cheese and visiting with Lucy Harris of SEEDS.
Miguel Torres prepares the spread
at the Lantern/Fickel Creek Farm table.
Magnolia Grill’s Ben Barker and Glenn Lozuke talk strategy.
By noon, the smells at the farm were something to swoon about â€” that is, if you like barbecue.
There were three pigs going at once. One, a whey-fed pig from the Creamery, was on a cooker at neighbor and Magnolia Grill owner Ben Barkerâ€™s house, attended by Barker and Magnoliaâ€™s Glen Lozuke. And in the pasture where the guests would gather, the Barbecue Jointâ€™s Damon Lapas was cooking the largest heâ€™d ever tried, this one from Eliza MacLean of Cane Creek Farm.
â€œIt came in at 198 dressed,â€ he said, pulling out the weight ticket.
Damon Lapas with the weight ticket after dressing.
Across the pasture, Matt Neal and Scott McLean were working their more traditional barbecue operation â€” a cooker fashioned from sheet metal and a set of bed springs.
â€œSpring Pigâ€ was the name of the recipe for the 110-pounder from Dogwood Farm.
Matt Neal checking the progress of the Spring Pig.
A few hours later, the picking began, along with games for kids, bluegrass music and more ways to combine things like hominy, beets, goat cheese, greens and turnips than you can imagine.
It was a cornucopia, delivered with a message about eating local, eating well and respecting the land and those who make their living from it.
The event was coordinated by members of the Slow Food Triangle Convivium and the Center for Environmental Farming Systems.
Stories and photos by Kirk Ross