For The Salisbury Post
A glass of sweet ice tea does taste better when sipped beneath a mammoth pin oak on a warm spring afternoon. In fact, in the shade of three of these magnificent trees, approximately 200 fans of local food enjoyed some of the best vegetables, meats and other produce that Rowan County farms have to offer. It tasted better because it was farm fresh from our own backyard.
The “Riot in the Pasture,” held at beautiful Correll Farms on the outskirts of Salisbury near Woodleaf Road, included live bluegrass music, hayrides and sheep-shearing. But quite frankly, the collard greens and sweet onion casserole, prepared by The Sweetest Thing, demanded as much attention as the surroundings. The pulled pork was prepared by Wild Turkey Farms and Bame Farms, and T & D Charolais prepared the beef brisket. “What was most exciting to us was to see so many people come out in support of local food,” said Christine Wilson, president of the board of directors for the Bread Riot. “We had a lot of people here that are just learning about the Winter Harvest program. That is exciting for our local farmers.”
The band No. 9 Coal brought the children onto the dance floor for some improvised dancing lessons while adults enjoyed whole-wheat strawberry shortcake that the bakers from The Sweetest Thing created using locally ground flour from Hoffner Organic Farms. It made for an impressive culinary feast fit for a celebration.
“I liked hanging out with all my friends and listening to the music,” said Ian Walser, 9, who enjoyed the expansive setting of Correll Farms. “It’s not like your own backyard where you are crowded by neighbors. It is unlimited space. You have a lot more room to play around.”
Regardless, a tree close to the stage attracted a lot of attention from the children despite the fact they had acres of room to roam and explore. It gave the event the feel of a huge family picnic.
“I climbed this magnolia tree. And there were a lot of other kids climbing it also,” said Autumn Walser, 7, Ian’s sister. “There were six long branches. And we could walk to the end of them and peer out of the tree and spy on the other kids. Everybody was chasing each other around.”
While the children played, the parents enjoyed the food and the fellowship. “The setting, to me, it felt like a homecoming,” said Tracy Walser, Ian and Autumn’s mother. “There were so many different people from around town. And everyone was gathering around the tables for a home-grown meal. Everything was just comfortable. It was fun to see as many people from the community get together and support our farmers. And the food was outstanding.”
The Bread Riot hosted the event to educate citizens about the benefits of local food and local farms and to celebrate the fact that the group recently obtained its non-profit status. The Bread Riot facilitates the supply of locally produced food through the Winter Harvest program, which fills the gap during the time when the farmer’s market is closed.
Some of the benefits of local food include low transportation costs for the farmer, which means a better price for the consumer and lower impact on the environment. Moreover, the Bread Riot teams with farms that use organic farming methods that are free from hormones, medications and pesticides.