News Roundup: April 12-18

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.

  • “NC Tobacco Growers Asked to Vote in Referendum,” Southern Farm Network: For the first time in the history of the crop, Tobacco Growers Association of North Carolina is conducting a referendum for an assessment on the crop in the state of North Carolina.  Graham Boyd, Executive Vice President of TGANC discusses the referendum and the purpose: “Farmers are familiar with the checkoff system of support or an assessment as it may commonly be referred to. This one in particular will focus on domestic tobacco issues, not only on marketing but a lot of policy issues that we are confronted with and many of the changes that are occurring in the industry. We have for 30+ years been a voluntary dues paid organization and that has been very successful.” …
  • “Bees get a sweet boost in Bayer CropScience Care Center,” WRAL Tech Wire: Steve Troxler is a big guy, but sometimes he sweats the small stuff. Honey bees, for example. Troxler is a farmer. He’s also commissioner of the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. So he knows we need bees to pollinate plants. He knows that one of every three mouthfuls of food we eat was made possible by bee pollination. Grain. Fruit. Tree nuts. Bees carry that magic fairy dust around on all of ‘em. That’s why Troxler proclaimed this “an important day for agriculture, for North Carolina and the world.” He was among the dozens of Bayer CropScience employees, public officials and media gathered Tuesday at the official opening of the company’s North American Bee Care Center on its Research Triangle Park campus. …
  • “County wants spent brewery grain exempt from FDA rules,” Asheville Citizen-Times News: Buncombe County leaders asked the federal government to exempt spent brewery and distillery grains from new regulations on animal food. They also approved money for a new bus shelter in Swannanoa and asked state lawmakers to consolidate the county’s fire service districts. An additional layer of control and recording keeping under the Food Safety Modernization Act would add more costs to using spent grains from beer breweries and could force local farmers to look elsewhere for feed sources, according to the resolution the Board of County Commissioners approved. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is considering the new rules for animal feed under the federal law. …
  • “USDA considers mandatory reports of deadly pig virus outbreaks: industry group,” Chicago Tribune: The United States is considering rules that would require outbreaks of a deadly pig virus to be reported to the government in an effort to improve tracking of the disease, which has already spread to 30 states, an industry group said on Monday. Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea virus (PEDv) has killed millions of baby pigs since it was first detected in the United States a year ago. PEDv has crimped hog supplies in the United States and sent prices to record highs. It remains unclear how the virus entered the country, and farmers have struggled to find ways to contain it. …
  • “Peanut Futures series: Oversupply not deterring more 2014 peanut planting,” Southeast Farm Press: None of the Southeastern row crops has begged to be planted this spring, in terms of price, and peanuts are no different. But despite a supply and demand imbalance, Southeastern farmers still intend to plant significantly more peanuts in 2014 than in 2013. “Peanuts, like corn, cotton and soybeans, aren’t really begging you to plant – they’re just playing alongside the other crops,” says Marshall Lamb, research director at the National Peanut Research Laboratory in Dawson, Ga., and advisor for the Farm Press Peanut Profitability Award. For the past two years, markets have been somewhat oversupplied, says Lamb. Other crops, he says, are competing for land against peanuts, mainly corn, cotton and soybeans in the Southeast. …
  • “Beef prices reach highest level since 1987,” Hendersonville Times-News: The highest beef prices in almost three decades have arrived just before the start of grilling season, causing sticker shock for both consumers and restaurant owners — and relief isn’t likely anytime soon. …
  • “NC farmers lead country on legal foreign workers,” WRAL: As a push to change U.S. immigration laws stalls, North Carolina farmers have proven adept at legally bringing thousands of temporary agricultural laborers into the United States using a specialized visa program. …
  • “Sticking with tobacco: Some N.C. family farms still see crop as key,” Wilson Times: For the past 10 years, Gerald Tyner has looked forward to seeing tobacco buyout payments arrive. “When they had the buyout, I wasn’t expecting that much out of it,” Tyner said. But the guaranteed money coming into Tyner’s family farming operation has made a difference. The buyout payments, or Tobacco Transition Payments as they’re officially known, end this year. About three weeks ago, tobacco growers and former tobacco quota holders received roughly 95 percent of their anticipated buyout payment. …
  • “With e-cigs falling in gray legal area, there are more questions than answers,” Winston-Salem Journal: A familiar puff of smoke is resurfacing inside some Triad restaurants, bars and entertainment venues. It’s coming from electronic cigarettes, battery-powered devices that heat a liquid nicotine solution in a disposable cartridge and create a vapor that is inhaled. … The popularity of e-cigs is surging. Analyst Bonnie Herzog of Wells Fargo Securities estimated there was $2 billion in overall e-cig revenue last year. She projects up to $10 billion a year by 2017. …
  • “Whole Foods holding local producer fair in Lake Norman,” Charlotte Observer: Makers of local Whole Foods-type products, listen up: The grocer is inviting local producers to bring their wares for a shot to get on the shelves at the new Lake Norman store. The new Whole Foods is set to open in the fall at the Northcross Commons Shopping Center on Sam Furr Road. The retailer is interested in fruits, vegetables or food products manufactured in the Lake Norman area. … Here’s what Whole Foods says they’re especially interested in: “Coffee, Beer, Wine, Aged cheeses, Hard Cider, Chocolate, Organic soy yogurt, ethnic foods. …

Savor Fuquay-Varina shines spotlight on local restaurants

You never know where Lisa Prince will show up — from touring the state to film one of the “Flavor NC” episodes for UNC-TV, or on WRAL’s noon newscast for a “Local Dish” segment to her own hometown of Fuquay-Varina in support of local food businesses — she stays busy promoting North Carolina food, food products, restaurants and food businesses.

Recently, Lisa and her sister, Michelle Holland, coordinated the judging for the second Savor Fuquay-Varina food event, something the siblings have quite a bit of experience with as coordinators for the N.C. State Fair cooking contests.  WRAL’s Brian Shrader, who joins Lisa in the kitchen for the weekly “Local Dish” segment, was one of the judges.


The Savor event is a showcase for local food businesses and a fundraiser for the Fuquay-Varina Chamber of Commerce. Participants get to sample some of the tasty creations on the menu of local restaurants as well as local beer and wine. There was also a silent auction, an auction of decorated chairs and music.

This year’s Savor contest featured six categories, representing savory foods, creative dishes, local fare, healthy options, sweet treats and the people’s choice for best dish. First and second place were awarded in each category.


Nut-covered chocolate and raspberry white chocolate truffles from Stick Boy Bread Co. won in the Savor the Sweet category.

This Lobster Roll, by Chef Joe Fasy for the Growers Market of Fuquay-Varina, wowed the judges in the Healthy Choice category.

This Lobster Roll, by Chef Joe Fasy for the Growers Market of Fuquay-Varina, wowed the judges in the Healthy Choice category.

Following were the winners in each category:

People’s Choice Award — 1st place and a gold fork was awarded to Old North State Catering; the Silver Fork went to Grower’s Market of Fuquay-Varina
Savor’s Best – 1st place to Grower’s Market of Fuquay-Varina for Spinach Ravioli; 2nd place to The Meeting Corner for Voodoo Cuban Sandwich
Viva la Difference — 1st place to Tyler’s Tavern for Buffalo Chicken Mac and Cheese; 2nd place to Old North State Catering for Cracked Alligator Sliders
Spirit of Fuquay-Varina – 1st place to Bengal Pig BBQ for ribs; 2nd place to Old North State Catering for stuffed chicken breast with sweet potatoes and collards
Healthy Choice — 1st place to Growers Market of Fuquay-Varina for Lobster Roll; 2nd place to Sweet Leaf Café for panini
Savor the Sweet — 1st place to Stick Boy Bread Co. for truffles; 2nd place to The Brick Bar and Grill for Apple Cheesecake

Tyler Fleming of Tyler’s Tavern agreed to share tips and a basic recipe for Buffalo Chicken Mac and Cheese with our readers. (He has to keep a few secrets of the recipe to himself!) Fleming said the award-winning dish is part of an updated menu at the restaurant at 2213 N. Grassland Drive in Fuquay-Varina. The dish wasn’t too hot for those with a milder taste for heat, but had enough kick to remind you that this was anything-but-ordinary mac and cheese. The distinct flavors of these individually popular dishes married together well. Fleming said guests can look for other spins on this childhood classic on the tavern’s new menu.

Tyler Fleming, pictured center, won top honors in the Viva la Difference category.

Tyler Fleming, pictured second from right, won top honors in the Viva la Difference category.

Buffalo Chicken Mac and Cheese
Use any homemade mac and cheese recipe that you bake in the oven (here’s Fannie Farmer’s Classic Baked Macaroni and Cheese recipe from if you do not have a recipe. Leave off the breadcrumbs.) and add your favorite hot sauce to the mix before baking. The amount you add will depend on your comfort level with heat.
While the mac and cheese is baking, bread four or five chicken tenders and bake or fry. When finished, cut in smaller bites and toss the pieces in hot sauce.
Once the mac and cheese is done, mix in the chicken bites and any sauce left for coating the chicken. Stir through the mac and cheese. Add a few more drops of hot sauce to the entire dish and then cover it with provolone cheese. Place back in oven to melt the cheese. Add ranch dressing on top of the mac and cheese to serve.


Inter-Faith Food Shuttle receives “eggscellent” donation from Dunkin’ Donuts and NC farm

Removing eggs a Brasswell Foods delivery truck to place in an Inter-Faith food shuttle van going to Catholic Parrish Outreach in Raleigh.

Eggs from a Braswell Foods delivery truck were immediately placed in an Inter-Faith Food Shuttle van going to the Catholic Parrish Outreach in Raleigh.

In advance of Easter, Inter-Faith Food Shuttle in Raleigh received a generous donation of 81,900 eggs from egg farmers and Dunkin’ Donuts.

Dunkin’ Donuts teamed up with America’s Egg Farmers’ Good Egg Project to donate one egg to Feeding America food banks for every Eggs Benedict Sandwich sold during the first week of March. The eggs delivered on April 16 were provided by Braswell Foods in Nashville, N.C. Inter-Faith Food Shuttle was one of eight food banks across the country to receive an egg donation.

This is the busiest time of year for egg farmer Trey Braswell. His farm produces about 1.8 million eggs per day. That’s a good thing, according to Jan Kelly, executive director of the N.C. Egg Association, because North Carolinians consume about 2 billion eggs each year.

Braswell Foods has partnered with Inter-Faith Food Shuttle since 1994. The food shuttle serves about 185 organizations in and around the Triangle.


Egg farmer Trey Braswell of Nashville with his wife Wimberley and Executive Director of the N.C. Egg Association Jan Kelly with 6,825 dozen eggs being dontated to Inter-Faith Food Shuttle

Egg farmer Trey Braswell of Nashville and his wife, Wimberley, with Jan Kelly, executive director of the N.C. Egg Association, with 6,825 dozen eggs being donated to Inter-Faith Food Shuttle





Choose chocolate animals for Easter baskets, not live ones


 Related: Easter pets are a long-term (but rewarding) commitment


Math and games of chance collide at the NCDA&CS Standards Laboratory

NCDA&CS Metrologist Ashley Lessard checks the diameter of a lottery ball.

NCDA&CS Metrologist Ashley Lessard checks the diameter of a lottery ball.

Once a month, small white balls locked in a case with their own personal security staff make their way to the Standards Laboratory in Raleigh to have their weight and diameter checked. These balls arrive at the lab with two employees that stay with them at all times, something that is usually not allowed for other customers of the lab. These balls just might be the divas of the Standards Laboratory, and it’s for good reason – the right combination makes people winners, and losers, every day.

Each month, the N.C. Education Lottery brings nine sets of the balls used for the Carolina Pick 3, Pick 4 and Cash 5 drawings to the lab to have their mass and diameter checked. Ashley Lessard, a metrologist, checks the diameter of a ball before checking its mass. The ball must easily fit through one hole, and then not fit through another, to pass the diameter check. The mass of the ball is measured and recorded. For a single set of balls the difference in mass between the heaviest and the lightest can be only .15 grams. In comparison, the mass of a dime is 1 gram. About a third of the ball sets are tested each month. These tests are done to ensure the balls have an equal chance during lottery drawings. The standards lab provides lottery officials with third-party certification that there is no more than .15 grams difference in the mass of the balls and that they pass the diameter check. The lab is also required to re-seal all of the sets of balls after they are tested and sign a log confirming chain-of-custody.
“Mass is the biggest thing companies want to get checked at the lab,” Lessard said. “The test performed on the lottery balls would be standard operating procedure 46 in our manual, or basically we are comparing the mass of the lottery balls to our standards and checking the diameter,” Lessard graduated with a masters in applied math from N.C. State University before coming to work at the lab about three years ago.

Lottery balls may be one of the more interesting things the lab weighs but certainly not the only items that are important to consumers in North Carolina. “Probably only a few industries in the state are not touched by the standards lab in some way, said Sharon Woodard, the lab’s manager. “Our lab provides weights and measures services for manufacturing companies, pharmaceutical companies, tire factories, educational facilities and more. Even the N.C. Highway Patrol uses the standards lab to test equipment; we calibrate the load cells that they use to measure the weight of trucks on our roads.” Most companies will use the lab’s services on an annual basis. The N.C. Education Lottery is one of the few customers that has a monthly appointment. Other services the lab provides include volume calibration. The large-volume provers held in a separate area of the lab allows large tanker trucks to back in to have their capacity tested. Small provers check the capacity of five-gallon gas tanks, or any other containers that need to have accurate volume levels. The lab also checks grain-moisture meters.

The N.C. Standards Laboratory is one of two labs in the state accredited by the National Voluntary Laboratory Accreditation Program (NVLAP). The other accredited lab is Transcat, a private lab in Charlotte. NVLAP is a federal program run by the National Institute of Standards and Technology that provides accreditation to labs in the United States. All employees of the lab must go through NIST training in Gaithersburg, Md., to learn fundamentals, mass and volume. “We also participate in proficiency tests a few times a year,” Woodard said. “During a proficiency test an item is circulated to accredited labs with instructions to perform various procedures on the object and mail in our results. These results are then compared to other labs for accuracy.”

The lab is currently working towards certification for precision mass and thermometers.

Lessard performing Standard Operating Procedure Eight on lottery balls.

Lessard performs standard operating procedure eight on lottery balls.


Today’s Topic: Federal grants will support specialty-crop sector

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

The 2014 farm bill increased funding for the federal Specialty Crop Block Grant Program to $72.5 million, which should lead to an increase in money allocated to North Carolina.

The federal program aims to enhance the competitiveness of specialty crops in the marketplace. It is funded by USDA, but managed by state agriculture departments. Last year, NCDA&CS was able to award nearly $1.2 million for projects across the state.

The application period in North Carolina is open, and the deadline to apply is May 2. The department will accept grant requests ranging from $20,000 to $200,000 from nonprofit organizations, commodity associations, state and local government agencies, colleges and universities. Grants are not available for projects that directly benefit a single organization, institution or individual.

Projects involving the following specialty crops are eligible: fruits, vegetables, tree nuts, culinary herbs and spices, medicinal plants, as well as nursery, floriculture and horticulture crops. Funding is also available for projects aimed at developing local and regional food systems and improving access to food.

Click here for grant guidelines and an application. If you have questions about this program, contact Jeff Camden at 919-707-3111.

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.


Get ready for produce season with these farmers market events

Spring has officially sprung, and with it the farmers markets are starting to buzz with more activity. Several events are planned at our four state-owned farmers markets in Asheville, Charlotte, Colfax and Raleigh. Mark your calendars for these events this month:

greenhouse veggie day

Get a free greenhouse tomato sandwich at Greenhouse Vegetable Day at the State Farmers Market or the Robert G. Shaw Piedmont Triad Farmers Market.

Greenhouse Vegetable Day, State Farmers Market, Raleigh
This celebration of greenhouse vegetables takes place Thursday, April 17, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Free greenhouse tomato sandwiches and recipes will be available.

Spring Farm and Equipment Consignment Auction, Robert G. Shaw Piedmont Triad Farmers Market, Colfax
This is a consignment auction for farm and construction equipment. A preview will be held Friday, April 18, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and the auction starts at 9 a.m. on Saturday, April 19. For more information and to view photos of consigned items, check out the auctioneer’s website.

Gourd Day, Robert G. Shaw Piedmont Triad Farmers Market
Gourds aren’t just for the fall! On Saturday, April 19, come celebrate all things gourds from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. in Farmers Area 1.

Growing in the Mountains Plant Show, WNC Farmers Market
Stop by and get everything you need for your spring garden in one place April 25-26 from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. The event, sponsored by the Blue Ridge Horticulture Association, will feature more than 25 family-operated nurseries.

Herbal Thyme Herb Guild’s Herb Festival 2014, Robert G. Shaw Piedmont Triad Farmers Market
Learn more about selecting, planting, growing, harvesting and using herbs Saturday, April 26, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sunday, April 27, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. The herb guild will present programs on the many uses of herbs, including medicinal, culinary, decorative, aromatherapy and more.

Fire Safety Day, Robert G. Shaw Piedmont Triad Farmers Market
This public safety event is sponsored by the Colfax Fire Department on Saturday, April 26, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Greenhouse Vegetable Day, Robert G. Shaw Piedmont Triad Farmers Market
Stop by the market on Friday, April 25, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. to get a free greenhouse tomato sandwich.

5th Annual Echo Carving Invitational, “Carving For The Cure,” Robert G. Shaw Piedmont Triad Farmers Market
This annual event, sponsored by Echo Outdoor Power Equipment, Joe’s Tractor Sales, the Piedmont Triad Farmers Market and others features chainsaw carving. Chainsaw artists will show off their talents throughout the weekend and then pieces created during the event will be auctioned off to benefit Susan G. Komen Northwest NC.

Plan ahead for other market events:

  • May 1 – Strawberry Day, State Farmers Market
  • May 2 – Strawberry Day, Robert G. Shaw Piedmont Triad Farmers Market
  • May 2-4 – 25th Spring Herb Festival, WNC Farmers Market, Asheville
  • May 30-April 1 – Spring Craft Fair, Piedmont Triad Farmers Market
  • June 7 – Crawfish Day, State Farmers Market
  • June 19 – Blueberry Day, State Farmers Market

News Roundup: April 5-11

News Roundup logo Each 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.

  • “Some NC farmers markets struggle to accept food stamps,” The News & Observer: Consumers can use food stamps to buy produce at grocery stores, but the freshest local fruits and vegetables for sale at farmers markets are often not available to them. Many local markets would love to sell to those shoppers but find they don’t have the manpower or money to be able to accept food stamps. …
  • “US bacon prices rise after virus kills baby pigs,” Charlotte Observer: A virus never before seen in the U.S. has killed millions of baby pigs in less than a year, and with little known about how it spreads or how to stop it, it’s threatening pork production and pushing up prices by 10 percent or more. …
  •  “Asheville area natural products industry on the rise,” Asheville Citizen-Times: Western North Carolina is not just where the wild things grow, but home to a growing number of businesses using technology to turn those native plants into consumer products. Plants harvested from the wild have provided hard-earned cash for mountaineers for decades. Throughout the 20th century, wildcrafters brought their freshly picked and dug ginseng, galax and other herbs from the woods to local buyers. …
  • “NIHS producing top farmers for the future,” Statesville Record and Landmark: If you’re a farmer and thinking about purchasing livestock, it’s probably wise to consult a North Iredell High School student. Or, more specifically, one of eight from the school’s Future Farmers of America (FFA) club who placed in the top four in the NC FFA State Livestock Judging competition in Raleigh in late March. NIHS’ FFA club sent two teams, competing in the junior and senior divisions, and ended up with both in the top four at the March 25 event held at the Raleigh fairgrounds. …
  •  “Durham schools boost anti-obesity effort,” Durham Herald-Sun: As director of child nutrition for Durham Public Schools, James Keaten is transforming cafeterias into places where fresh fruits and vegetables are replacing junk food. What may be surprising is that students, for the most part, love it.  Even salads offered in middle schools are being snapped up. Keaten knows that if students don’t like the food offered, they won’t eat it. So he tries to make it tasty and interesting. …
  • “A 20-year first: EPA proposing changes to pesticide use,” Carolina Free Press: While pesticides can help farmers raise lusher Christmas trees and juicier tomatoes, they can also be a threat to thousands of farmworkers in Western North Carolina who plant and harvest crops on farmland throughout the mountains. Those risks are the focus of a set of proposed changes to federal rules governing pesticide use on farms. …
  •  “Livestock show teaches life lessons,” Durham Herald-Sun: It is raining and humid at the agricultural facility at Orange High School in Hillsborough. Here, two market steers, a posse of goats and lambs, and a contingent of market hogs are being groomed, having their hair done, and even receiving some fine-detailed ear cleansing. It is the eve of the Central Piedmont Livestock show, held today and Thursday on Orange Grove Road in Hillsborough. For more than six decades, youths from Durham, Person, and surrounding counties have shown animals at the show that are judged, and eventually sold. While the show has endured, some things have changed. “Kids don’t live on farms and have animals like they used to,” said David Latta, one of three agriculture teachers at Orange High. …
  • “Wheat straw shortage frustrates WNC retailers,” Asheville Citizen-Times News: If you’re planning a spring lawn project that requires a bale of straw, you might be waiting a while. Wet weather and a poor wheat harvest last fall are contributing to a shortage of straw across the Southeast, home improvement giant Home Depot said Monday. Lowe’s also pointed to the wet weather and high demand during the spring lawn care season as reasons for the shortage. Workers at Lowe’s and Home Depot told local customers over the weekend and on Monday that it would be a month or two before they had any bales for sale. A decision by a family of farmers to get out of the wheat straw business is contributing, a supplier said. …
  • “Lumberton officials support horse stall expansion,” Fayetteville Observer: Lumberton officials have pledged support for a horse stall expansion project that could have a significant economic effect on the area, officials said Wednesday. Members of the Lumberton City Council Policy Committee approved allocating up to $30,000 to be used for site work at the Southeastern North Carolina Agricultural Events Center, just east of the city. The plan includes adding a barn with 200 horse stalls to the center. …



Got to Be N.C. Competition Dining: Chef Michelle Bailey of Season’s at Highland Lake

G2BNC Competition DiningOnce a month we highlight a chef and recipes from the Got to Be N.C. Competition Dining series. This month, we are featuring Michelle Bailey of Season’s at Highland Lake in Flat Rock. Bailey describes her cooking style as “refined American Cuisine utilizing local and sustainably-sourced ingredients with a focus on traditional southern techniques and international flavor profiles.”

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 the North Carolina ingredient that is revealed at noon on the day of the competition. This secret ingredient must be used in each course. Grand prize is $2,000 and a red chef’s jacket. The competition is held in Asheville, Blowing Rock, Charlotte, Greensboro, Raleigh and Wilmington.


Diners at the Fire on the Rock final, held at the Lioncrest at Biltmore.

Bailey is the first female chef to win a red jacket since the series started in 2012. The Fire on the Rock series started March 10 with eight chefs from Asheville, Boone and Flat Rock competing. The final competition was between Bailey and Chef Sam Etheridge of Ambrozia Bar & Bistro in Asheville. The two featured ingredients were Lusty Monk Mustards and Beulah’s Bavarian Pretzels, both based in Asheville.

Following is Bailey’s recipe for cider-brined N.C. pork tenderloin with brown butter pecan sauce, apple relish, whipped celery root and shaved Brussels sprouts:

Cider-Brined Pork Tenderloin
2 pounds pork tenderloin (Heritage Farms)
2 quarts apple cider (preferably local)
2 each bay leaves
8 each garlic cloves, smashed
½ yellow onion, large diced
½ cup kosher salt
½ tablespoon black peppercorns
2 each sprigs of fresh rosemary
5 each sprigs of fresh thyme
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
2 tablespoon grapeseed oil
1 tablespoon butter

Combine 1 quart of cider with salt, bay leaves, garlic, peppercorns and herbs. Bring to a boil and add 1 quart of cold cider. Chill the brine and then pour over the pork. Let sit six hours under refrigeration. Drain pork from brine and pat dry with paper towels. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Sprinkle pork with paprika and cracked black pepper. Heat grapeseed oil in a sauté pan over med/high heat. Sear pork on all sides and add butter. Baste with butter and then place in the oven to finish cooking. Cook to an internal temperature of 145-150.

Brown Butter Pecan Sauce
1 cup toasted pecans, ground
1 shallot, minced
1 stick butter
½ cup heavy cream
½  tablespoon fresh thyme, leaves only, minced
salt and pepper to taste

Cook butter over medium heat in a small saucepan until butter has browned. Add shallot and then heavy cream. Cook two minutes and then add pecans. Stir well and season to taste with salt and pepper. Remove from heat, add fresh thyme and serve immediately.

Apple Relish
1 each small green apple, small diced (Henderson county)
1 each small red apple, small diced (Henderson county)
1 each lemon, zest and juice
1 teaspoon Wedge apple cider
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
½ tablespoon sorghum
1 tablespoon parsley, minced
1 tablespoon champagne vinegar
pinch of salt

Toss apples with lemon juice, cider and cider vinegar once they are cut to prevent browning. Add remaining ingredients and let sit 15-30 minutes before serving.

Whipped Celery Root
2 pounds celery root, peeled and large diced
1 each Yukon gold potato, peeled and large diced
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup whole milk
1 cup Wedge apple cider
salt as needed

Combine all ingredients in a saucepan and simmer until potatoes and celery root are cooked through. Transfer contents to a blender and add liquid as needed to purée. Adjust salt to taste.

Shaved Brussels Sprouts
2 pounds Brussels sprouts
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons whole grain mustard (Lusty Monk)
1 tablespoons sherry vinegar
salt and pepper as needed

Slice Brussels sprouts ¼-inch thick using a mandoline or knife. You may also use the slicing attachment on your food processor, but trim the bottoms first. Heat butter over medium high heat and just as it begins to brown, add the sprouts. Season with salt and pepper and sauté 3 to 5 minutes, tossing frequently. Add vinegar and mustard and then adjust seasonings to taste.


NCDA&CS staff trains others on foaming

Staff from the Veterinary and Emergency Programs divisions spent a recent day on a Moore County poultry farm training U.S. Department of Agriculture contractors how to humanely depopulate a poultry flock using foam. The contractors were from disaster response companies in Wisconsin, Mississippi and Louisiana that are under contract with USDA to go into states at times of disaster when the state lacks the manpower to respond to animal disasters. No birds were used in the training and the poultry houses used have been empty for about a year.

Foam is used only in instances where an entire flock needs to be euthanized because of disease or injury. It is not a way to kill animals before slaughter. Six NCDA&CS employees deployed to Alabama after tornadoes struck that state a few years ago and demolished poultry houses. They helped poultry farmers there in cases where injured flocks were stuck inside collapsed houses and needed to be humanely euthanized. Teams help depopulate flocks in North Carolina a few times each year because of disease outbreaks or injuries related to collapsed houses.


A Veterinary Division employee shoots foam into the poultry house.


A veterinary technician explains how the pump and proportioner work to make the proper consistency of foam.

No farmer ever wants to be in the situation where he has to depopulate an entire flock, especially because of a disease outbreak. It is an emotional ordeal for everyone involved. Foam is a good option because it is gentle enough to not overly excite the birds and kills them quickly. The foam is also environmentally safe to use and dissipates on its own.

The department has become a national leader in this technique. NCDA&CS staff have taken the equipment and modified several units to improve the design and make them interchangeable. They’ve also literally written a manual on how to do it. The equipment is available for use by other states if needed. Because of the hands-on training and manual, the contractors said they feel confident in their ability to take a crew onto a farm, operate the equipment and handle the situation confidently.