Flavor, NC: Mapleview Farm

Flavor NCTwice a month we feature local restaurants, farms and farmers markets featured on episodes of UNC-TV’s Flavor, NC. This week, we highlight episode six from the first season, in which hostess Lisa Prince highlights Maple View Farm and Panciuto Restaurant in Hillsborough.

“Get ready for your milk mustache,” said Lisa at the beginning of the show. “This episode is on tasty Tar Heel milk and ice cream.” Maple View Farm is a family-run dairy and milk company that has been located in Orange County since the 1960s. In 1996, the farm started bottling their own milk for sale.

In this episode, Lisa visits the farm to follow the process from milking the Holstein herd, bottling the milk and packing the ice cream.

Lisa also visits with Aaron Vandemark, chef and owner of Panciuto Restaurant, to see how ricotta is made from Maple View milk.  More of Aaron’s recipes are also included in the episode. Below is the recipe for homemade ricotta.


  • 1 gallon milk
  • ¾ cup cream
  • 1 ½ tablespoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon of rennet or 1 rennet tablet
  • ¼ cup cold water

Place milk and cream in a saucepan and heat to 200 degrees, then transfer it to a cold pot. Add salt, and allow the mixture to drop to 125 degrees. (To speed this up, you can place the pot into an ice bath.) Dissolve rennet or rennet tablet in ¼ cup of water and pour into milk. Stir well, then allow the mixture to rest for 10 minutes. After mixture has rested,  then cut an X in the top of the milk with a wooden spoon to check that it has coagulated, then stir well for 20 seconds. Reheat as needed to separate curds from whey.

Ladle the mixture into a strainer over a pot to separate curds from whey, then transfer separated curds into second strainer lined with cheesecloth. Continue with another ladle, drain well in first basket, transfer to second. Continue until you’ve finished. Allow ricotta to remain in a cheesecloth lined basket to drain overnight.


DIY cankerworm management: It’s that time of the year!

It’s the most wonderful time of the year … to protect your yard trees from cankerworms, that is!  A small act now can save you (and your trees) in the spring. You may remember cankerworms as those annoying little inchworms that dangle from trees by silken strands and cause significant defoliation each spring, especially in urban areas.

Sticky band around the trunk of a tree, covered with trapped moths. Image: William A. Carothers, USDA Forest Service, Bugwood.org.

Sticky band around the trunk of a tree, covered with trapped moths. Image: William A. Carothers, USDA Forest Service, Bugwood.org.

When this occurs, unfortunately it’s too late to do anything at that point. That’s why each fall, before the damage occurs, homeowners who experience regular cankerworm activity are encouraged to band all of their yard trees to reduce damage in the spring.

The sticky bands work by preventing the wingless adult female moths from making it to the tops of the trees. As they emerge from their pupae in the fall, they crawl up the trunk of a tree to the upper branches where they mate with a male, then lay eggs. However, if you intercept them before they make it to their mating and egg-laying sites, then you will probably see considerably less damage. No female ascent means no eggs to hatch next spring!

It’s easy as pumpkin pie! Wrap or staple duct tape or paper tree wrap around the trunk of your tree and evenly cover the band with Tanglefoot Insect Barrier. Tanglefoot is a non-toxic, sticky substance that captures the flightless moths. It is available online and at local hardware stores. If there are crevices in the bark, put cotton or insulation between the tape and the tree trunk so that moths can’t just crawl underneath. Also, if you have an unusually high population of moths, they may quickly cover the sticky band, so checking it and reapplying Tanglefoot every few weeks may be needed.

A hungry cankerworm.  Image: Joseph Berger, Bugwood.org

A hungry cankerworm. Image: Joseph Berger, Bugwood.org

There is strength in numbers, so persuade your neighbors to do this, too. If you don’t, and the canopy of your tree touches the canopy of their unbanded trees, the moths can easily crawl right over and infest both trees. If both trees are banded, both are protected. This is one situation where “Keeping up with the Joneses” is a good thing!


Today’s Topic: Crop report shows record soybean yield in North Carolina

Southern Farm Network logoAgriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler sits down each week with Southern Farm Network’s Rhonda Garrison to discuss “Today’s Topic.”

The November crop report from USDA shows a big year for North Carolina soybeans. The yield is forecast to be 40 bushels per acre, a new state record. The previous record of 39 bushels per acre occurred in 2012.

Soybean production is forecast at 68.8 million bushels, which is 42 percent more than last year’s total. Harvested acreage is estimated at more than 1.7 million acres.

The peanut crop is also strong this year. The yield is forecast at 4,100 pounds per acre, which ties the record set in 2012. Total production on 93,000 acres is estimated at 381 million pounds, a 21 percent increase over last year.

Cotton acreage held steady this year at 460,000. But with better cooperation from the weather than in 2013, the yield is forecast to be 1,012 pounds per acre. That’s 213 pounds higher than last year’s yield and just a little lower than the record yield of 1,014, set in 2012.

The corn yield is forecast at 136 bushels per acre, down six bushels from last year’s record of 142. Some corn growers were hurt by Hurricane Arthur, which heavily damaged crops in the eastern part of the state in July.

Total corn production is down about 14 percent, to 106.1 million bushels. Lower production was expected, as growers planted less corn this year. Harvested acres are forecast to be 780,000, which is down 90,000 from a year ago.

Click on the audio player below to listen to Commissioner Troxler and Rhonda discuss this crop report.

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Southern Farm Network is a division of Curtis Media Group.


Food Business Almanac: How to source local products

NCDA&CS food business specialist Annette Dunlap offers resources that agribusiness owners and food entrepreneurs can use to grow and manage their business. Annette is available for free one-on-one consultations and can assist business owners with financial and market planning through the agribusiness development section. She can be reached at annette.dunlap@ncagr.gov.

There is no denying consumer demand for local products, but how can you make sure that your product is a true North Carolina product from ingredients to the store shelf? We have three resources available for you on the department’s website.

The North Carolina Grower/Shipper Directory gives you a listing of local growers who have the capacity to ship large quantities of agricultural products to your processing facility. For smaller quantities of produce, you can turn to www.ncfarmfresh.com for a directory of statewide roadside stands and farmers markets. There’s also the North Carolina General Store, which has a listing of fresh products as well as processed ingredients for your food product.

In addition to these directories, the department also offers information on locating shared-use kitchens, establishing your own certified home-based kitchen, or becoming a certified meat processing facility.

Grocery stores in the state understand demand for local products, which presents a great opportunity for your food business. For more information on how to get your product into North Carolina stores, contact one of our retail marketing specialists.

Yours to success!


News Roundup: Nov. 8-14

newsroundup11Each week we round up the latest N.C. agricultural headlines from news outlets across the state and country, as well as excerpts from the stories. Click on the links to go straight to the full story.

  •  “Work doesn’t end for apple farmers when fruit is picked,” Hendersonville Times-News: As Henderson County’s apple farmers wrap up a mixed season this month, their work is far from over. Now comes the pruning, raking, preventative spraying and repairs that lay the foundation for next year’s crop. With the exception of Sky Top Orchard outside Flat Rock, most u-pick and pre-picked operations have closed for the season, including Grandad’s Apples and J.H. Stepp’s Hillcrest Orchard. Meanwhile, commercial growers are picking the dregs of their late-season varieties, including a few Pink Ladies and Gold Rushes. But even when those are gone, farmers don’t have time to rest on their laurels. “A lot of people will be raking orchards and as these apples are in cold storage, we’ll start hauling apples to shipping facilities,” said farmer Kenny Barnwell. “Then you have to repair all your boxes, and by the time you’re done pruning, it’s time to start spraying again.” …
  • “Organic Strawberry Research Gets $200,000 Boost From Walmart,” Growing Produce: With an additional $200,000 grant from the Walmart Foundation, scientists from the University of Florida and North Carolina A&T University are expanding grower engagement in organic strawberry research. While the focus of the 2013-2014 work was broad and exploratory, a key component of this year’s research will be to test the best aspects of the organic strawberry production system under farm conditions and with grower management. Growers at three farms in North Central Florida are assessing two cover crops and three commercial strawberry cultivars that performed well in last year’s Phase I trials. Grower evaluations of the Phase I research resulted in suggestions that researchers assess cover crop combinations as well as a cover crop that could produce a marketable product. In Phase II, scientists will evaluate the on-station and on-farm research for seasonal variability in market yield, nutrient-use efficiency, consumer acceptance and response to postharvest handling and storage. …
  • “Demand pushes Pittsboro’s Farm Boy Farms to double in size,” Triangle Business Journal: Farm Boy Farms of Pittsboro – a local provider of barley, wheat and malt for craft beer – is doubling in size, which means more local ingredients could work their way into local craft beer. In 2012, the state had 85 breweries, it had 123 breweries by 2013 and currently has 146 breweries – most of which are craft breweries. Plenty of craft brewers believe part of creating a quality product means sourcing ingredients locally, driving the need for farm owner Dan Gridley to expand. “We are doubling our American Malting Barley Association-recommended two-row barley acreage from 25 acres to 50 acres,” says Gridley. “We are also adding five acres of rye and networking with other area growers to provide us wheat.” According to Gridley, more than half of next year’s hops crop has been contracted with existing and soon-to-be established Triangle breweries, but he isn’t disclosing which ones. …
  • “Women In The Meat Business,” WUNC: As the demand for local food and farm-to-table restaurants rises, the American agriculture and food production industries are expanding. Burgeoning local food systems have opened up opportunities for more women to own and operate businesses throughout the supply chain, especially in the meat industry. Farms and ranches operated by women have more than doubled in the last 30 years, and more women are also entering the fields of livestock production, meat processing, butchery and culinary arts. But succeeding in this new landscape presents a unique set of challenges. Host Frank Stasio talks to some of the women who recently gathered for the 2nd annual Women Working in the Meat Business Conference. …
  • “Farmers harmed by decline in nation’s public seed supply,” Agriview: A much-anticipated analysis of the state of the country’s plant and animal breeding infrastructure and seed supply was released recently, marking the first such analysis in more than 10 years. The proceedings from the Summit on Seeds and Breeds for 21st Century Agriculture were published by the Rural Advancement Foundation International (RAFI), a farmer-based non-profit organization located in Pittsboro, N.C., and member of the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC). In the proceedings, RAFI and other key stakeholders within the agricultural research community express their increased concerns about farmers’ limited access to seed, the narrowing of our country’s agricultural plant and animal genetic diversity, consolidation within the seed industry, the decline in public cultivar development, and how these trends are impacting farmers’ abilities to confront the unprecedented challenges of climate change and global food security. …
  • “WNC Farmers Market to develop 20-year master plan,” Asheville Citizen-Times: The WNC Farmers Market is asking locals to tell it what to do. The results, according to a recent press release, will be used to help develop a 20-year master plan for the market, a task that has been outsourced to Market Ventures in Portland, Maine. The master plan will propose physical upgrades to the market’s buildings, changes to operating hours, new programs and facilities for education and events. The Brevard Road market, open since 1977, is a hot spot for tourists, and ranks among the top 10 places to shop in Asheville on Tripadvisor. Even so, the market is searching for ways to stay competitive in an increasingly crowded farmers market landscape, citing the “changing needs of Western North Carolina.” Indeed, a search of the Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project’s website for “tailgate markets” turns up more than 100 results for the Western North Carolina area. …
  • “James Butler: North Carolina’s first Extension agent, hired 107 years ago this month,” Southeast Farm Press: North Carolina’s first county Extension agent was James A. Butler, who, according to the best information available, was hired Nov. 18, 1907 to work with farmers in Iredell County. Butler was paid by funds from the John D. Rockefeller-supported General Education Board to expand pioneering educational efforts, called demonstrations, taking place under the auspices of the U.S. Department of Agriculture on farms in several other Southern states. Within two days of being hired, Butler had arranged for local farmer J.F. Eagles of Statesville to host the first North Carolina farm demonstration. Eagles agreed to grow 2.5 acres of corn and 2 acres of cotton according to USDA recommendations so that Butler could demonstrate to other farmers how the recommendations increased crop yields – not just in theory or in a laboratory – but under actual real-world conditions. Eagles told others that the recommendations were key to rejuvenating the worn-out soils on his farm. “I don’t think I ever would have succeeded had it not been for the use of limestone and clover,” he said. …
  • “NCDA’s Soil Testing Fee In Effect Soon,” Southern Farm Network: For the second year, the North Carolina Department of Agriculture’s Agronomic Division will have a fee for soil testing during the winter and early spring months. David Hardy, Chief of Soil testing for the Agronomic Division for NCDA: “The fee was put in place by the General Assembly to encourage people to send in soil samples at other times of the year, not just fall and winter, and to help defray the cost of overtime and temporary help during the lab’s busy soil testing season.” Hardy says the fee structure seems to have helped with the back log and turnaround time: “Farming is the first thing you think of when you think of soil testing, but soil testing is available for anyone in the state with dirt under their feet.” …




Got to Be NC Competition Dining: Chef Brian Williams

G2BNC Competition Dining1Once a month we highlight a chef and a recipe from the Got to Be N.C. Competition Dining series. This month, we are featuring Chef Brian Williams of Upstream in Charlotte. Williams made it to the semifinals of this year’s Fire in the City Competition. He describes his cooking style as Asian Fusion.

The Got to Be N.C. Competition Dining Series faces off two local chefs in a single-elimination, blind-dinner format. The chef’s menu is created around a North Carolina ingredient that is revealed at noon on the day of the competition. This secret ingredient must be used in each of three courses, appetizer, entree and dessert. The competition is held in Asheville, Blowing Rock, Charlotte, Greensboro, Raleigh and Wilmington.

Below is a recipe from Chef Williams using fresh-caught grouper from Charlotte Fish Company. Watch Chef William’s prepare the recipe on The Daily Special segment of Good Day Carolinas on Fox 46 in Charlotte.


Tim Griner’s Pan Roasted Grouperwith scarlet queen turnip & breakfast radish salad, shishito peppers, okra, forbidden rice, ginger vinaigrette


  • 6 ( 6 ounce) grouper filets
  • 6 scarlet queen turnips – shaved thin
  • 12 breakfast radishes – shaved thin
  • 2 cups black forbidden rice
  • 1/2 pound local okra – cut lengthwise
  • 12 shishito peppers – small dice
  • 1/2 cup pickled ginger with liquid
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 1 scallion – minced, green part only


For the rice:

  • Combine the black rice with 2 1/2 cups water
  • Bring rice to a boil, reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 15 minutes
  • Remove from heat, add the scallion and fluff with a fork


For the grouper:

  • Heat a heavy cast iron pan medium/ high heat
  • Season the grouper with salt and pepper
  • Add 1 tablespoon vegetable oil to the pan then add the grouper filets
  • Cook on each side for 3-4 minutes


For the okra:

  • Wipe out the grouper pan with wet paper towels
  • Return to medium/ high heat, add 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • Add the shishito peppers and sauté for 30 seconds
  • Add the okra and sauté for four minutes until tender, season with salt and pepper


For the salad:

  • Combine the turnips, radish, pickled ginger with liquid and sesame oil


To assemble:

  • Divide the rice into 6 bowls, place the okra around the rice
  • Set the fish on top of the rice, place the salad on top of the fish

The Final Fire competition starts Nov. 19 at the Renaissance Hotel at North Hills in Raleigh. The first pits Fire on the Dock winner Antine Murray from the Cape Fear Country Club in Wilmington against Fire on the Rock winner Michelle Bailey of Season’s at Highland Lake in Flat Rock.  Tickets are still available.



Today’s Topic: Farmland preservation grants available

Southern Farm Network logoAgriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler sits down each week with Southern Farm Network’s Rhonda Garrison to discuss “Today’s Topic.”

County governments and nonprofit groups interested in farmland preservation can apply for funding assistance from the N.C. Agricultural Development and Farmland Preservation Trust Fund.

The application deadline is Dec. 19. This year’s funding includes state appropriations, plus $1 million for military base and training buffers. The military buffer funds are from the 2014-2015 budget and must be contracted and encumbered by June 15, 2015. The general appropriations are anticipated in the 2015-2017 budget.

Grants can help in the purchase of conservation easements on lands used for agricultural production. They also can be used to support public and private enterprise programs that promote profitable activities in agriculture, horticulture and forestry. In addition, grants can help with the cost of developing farmland protection plans. Over half of North Carolina’s counties have approved farmland protection plans.

Applications and guidelines for the current funding cycle are available online at www.ncadfp.org. If you have questions, call 919-707-3071.

Click on the audio player below to listen to Commissioner Troxler and Rhonda discuss this grant program.

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Southern Farm Network is a division of Curtis Media Group.


News Roundup: Nov. 1-7

News Roundup logoEach week we round up the latest N.C. agricultural headlines from news outlets across the state and country, as well as excerpts from the stories. Click on the links to go straight to the full story.

  • “New State Veterinarian Named for North Carolina,” Southern Farm Network: Dr. Douglas Meckes of Apex, NC, has been named the new state veterinarian replacing Dr. David Marshall who retired in August. Dr. Meckes comes to NCDA from the US Department of Homeland Security. Dr. Meckes received his undergraduate degree and Doctor of Veterinary Medicine from Auburn University. He spent 30 years in private practice in Apex on both large and small animals before making a move to Washington, D.C., to serve as a congressional fellow for Sen. Chuck Hagel. Meckes will oversee the 130-employee Veterinary Division, which includes four sections: Animal Health Programs, Poultry Health Programs, Animal Welfare and the Diagnostic Laboratory System. Meckes’ first day on the job was Monday. …
  • Money from dirt: NC soil lab uses fee to help spread the load,” News & Observer: The state Department of Agriculture established a new fee last year aimed as much at altering behavior as at raising money for the state. It appears to have worked. Since the 1940s, North Carolina farmers and gardeners have been sending soil samples to a state lab in Raleigh for testing to determine if and where to add lime and fertilizer. Until last fall, the tests were free year-around.  …
  • “NC State Plant Science Research Complex working toward a 2020 opening,” Southeast Farm Press: If all goes as planned, by the year 2020 students at North Carolina State University will be working alongside leading researchers in the plant sciences in a first-of-its-kind facility on NC State’s Centennial Campus in Raleigh. The North Carolina Plant Sciences Initiative is a brand new way of approaching the plant sciences because it will be interdisciplinary, where researchers across disciplines, from soil scientists to plant breeders to engineers to biochemists to economists, will work together in a collaborative way.  …
  • “Protecting farmland topic of workshop,” Burlington Times-News: Protecting local agricultural lands is the subject of a workshop Wednesday in Greensboro. The workshop is among six the N.C. Agricultural Development and Farmland Preservation Trust Fund is holding across the state in cooperation with the state office of the USDA Natural Resource Conservation Service. The workshops are highly recommended for all past, present or potential recipients of federal and/or state grants associated with farmland preservation. County governments and nonprofits pursuing farmland preservation projects have until Dec. 19 to apply for the grants. …
  • “Ag Summary: Peak Season for Soil Samples Closing In,” Southern Farm Network: Now that November is here, we are in the short rows of free soil sampling through the North Carolina Department of Agriculture’s Agronomics Lab. Peak season for soil testing begins on November 26th, and runs through March 31st, 2015. During this period samples are $4 each. To avoid the fee, soil samples have to be on the loading dock by 6:00 pm on Tuesday, November 25th. To obtain a soil sampling kit, visit your local extension office, or contact your area agronomist. Soil sampling through NCDA’s agronomics lab is available for all North Carolina landowners and homeowners. …
  • “Bertie County company takes peanuts worldwide,” The Washington Times:  A dented and charred popcorn popper sitting on the crowded top shelf of the main office of Powell & Stokes farm supply is something of a shrine. The late Jack Powell Sr. began about 40 years ago soaking large peanuts in boiling water, then frying them in oil in the popper. The peanuts blistered into a tasty, crunchy snack. He offered samples to farmers coming to the shop.”People said they were so good, ‘Why don’t you sell them?’ ” said Jack Sr.’s grandson, Jonathan Powell III. So they did. …
  • “Locals show livestock during sale,” Jacksonville Daily News: A Carteret County teen and an Onslow County teen showed champion livestock during this year’s state fair. The junior livestock grand and reserve grand champion steers, barrows, lambs, goats and turkeys were recently auctioned in the Sale of Champions during the N.C. State Fair. The reserve grand champion barrow was shown by Travis Cox, 8, of Richlands. Hog Slat Inc. and Neese’s Country Sausage purchased the barrow for $8,000. The reserve grand champion steer was shown by Madison Boyd, 13, of Pinetown (Beaufort). Harris Teeter purchased the steer for $17,200. …
  • “The Veggie Wagon Expands Culinary Offerings,” Wilmington Business Journal: What began as little more than a roadside stand with fresh produce brought in from a handful of farms in Columbus County has grown into a full-scale farm-to-table enterprise. Max and April Sussman set out five years ago to help bring local produce to residents and visitors on Pleasure Island. Today, as owners of Veggie Wagon, they’re not only providing locally grown produce in their store as well as through their weekly delivery service, but they’ve created a whole line of products around what’s available here in eastern North Carolina. “There was really a lack of access here on the island to produce grown within our region,” Max Sussman said. …
  • For these N.C. farm owners, making cheese is just kid stuff,” Washington Post: The burgeoning local food movement usually seeks to bring the farm to the table. But the Goat Lady Dairy brings the table to the farm. Several times a month, for most of the year, the North Carolina dairy opens its barn doors to about 50 people who register in advance for a $60-per-person “dining adventure”: a five-course, locally inspired meal showcasing the dairy’s multiple varieties of goat cheese. We signed up partly for the food and partly for the goats, and neither disappointed.  …






Flavor, NC: Sunburst Trout Farm

Flavor NC logoTwice a month we feature local restaurants, farms and farmers markets featured on episodes of UNC-TV’s Flavor, NC. This week, we review episode five of the first season in which hostess Lisa Prince highlights Sunburst Trout Farm in Haywood County.

North Carolina is home to more than 3,000 miles of trout streams. Many of these are found in Haywood County, home of Sunburst Trout Farm. Since 1948, this family-owned company has been one of the leading suppliers of farm-raised rainbow trout on the East Coast.

In this episode, Lisa shows viewers the process of harvesting and processing farm-raised rainbow trout. Charles Hudson, research and development chef for Sunburst Trout Farms, also shares three ways to cook trout and a few easy recipes to try at home.

Below is Chef Hudson’s recipe for Quick, Easy and Lusty Trout – one of his daughter’s favorite recipes.

  • 4 Sunburst Trout Fillets
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 teaspoon Lawry’s Seasoned Salt
  • 1 teaspoon Old Bay Seasoning
  • 4 tablespoons Lusty Monk Mustard (or other whole grain mustard)


  • Preheat your oven to broil.
  • Place trout fillets on nonstick baking pan.
  • Sprinkle trout fillets with lemon juice.
  • Sprinkle trout fillets evenly with seasonings.
  • Spread 1 tablespoon of mustard evenly on each trout fillet.
  • Place under broiler for 5 to 7 minutes.
  • Serves 4.

Visit http://ncagr.gov/markets/aquaculture/ for more information about N.C. Aquaculture.


Don’t Move Firewood backpacks a hit at State Fair

6,000 Don't Move Firewood backpacks were given away by teh NC Forest Service at the 2014 State Fair.

6,000 Don’t Move Firewood backpacks were given away by the N.C. Forest Service at the 2014 State Fair.

Thousands of visitors to the N.C. State Fair got a new accessory and the chance to spread word about the N.C. Forest Service Don’t Move Firewood campaign. Each visitor to the Fair Forest had the opportunity to answer a 10-question quiz in the Forest Service’s tent. A successful quiz netted participants a red drawstring backpack with the “don’t move firewood” message on the back.

“As folks return home and use the backpack, they are spreading our don’t move firewood message,” said Sara Thompson, N.C. Forest Service forest health specialist.  “In some cases these bags will travel across the state, much like firewood does. The difference is there are no invasive pests in the bags like there could be with firewood.”

Don’t Move Firewood is a national campaign from The Nature Conservancy. It’s primary goal is to spread the word that moving firewood could transport invasive tree-killing pests to new areas. Citizens are encouraged to buy or gather firewood local to where they will burn it.

Fairgoers said they enjoyed the interactive display and they learned a lot. Many commented that they would have never guessed that firewood movement could have such consequences to our native forests. The N.C. Forest Service gave out about 6,000 backpacks during 10 days of the State Fair.  The only requirement? Recipients not use the backpacks to move firewood.