Heritage Harvest Festival (2 of 2)

This is a continuation of yesterday’s post detailing my adventures at the Heritage Harvest Festival at Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello. If you missed part one, please check it out.

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This is probably my favorite photo out of them all.
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TJ and I

For lunch, I ate at Gryffon’s Aerie (grass fed beef burger with aioli, arugula, local tomato) while my mom ate at Bada Bing (philly cheesesteak). My burger was absolutely delicious while mom’s cheesesteak had a nice heat to it. For dessert, we shared a refreshing popsicle from King of Pops (lemon basil). It was delicious (which I’ve had their popsicles a couple of times before in Atlanta).

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That afternoon, after leaving mom in a nice breezy spot, I went to watch Jeanine Davis’ presentation on Unusual Edible Plants & Fungi for Home Gardens. Fun fact: Jeanine is a horticulture extension specialist with North Carolina State University (my alma mater). Listening to her presentation made me want to try growing wasabi again and is making me very curious about the status of the ginseng I planted last fall. It was a great presentation and she brought lots of goodies – grey griselle shallots and Japanese hull less popcorn seeds for us to plant and a dried ramp spice rub (which smells delicious). I haven’t had the opportunity to try ramps before and am delighted experience them.

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We walked around, checking out some of the other sights – such as the farm animals. I love goats and cannot wait until I can have a goat of my own!

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Before we left, I made it a point to stop back by Southern Exposure Seed Exchange and take advantage of their 3 for $5 seed packet special (and no shipping!). SESE is one of my favorite companies to order from every year, right next to Baker Creek. I went with some seeds that were on my wish list (White Sage, Tulsi Kapoor Holy Basil, German Chamomile, Resina Calendula, Carolina Gold Rice), a few that sounded interesting (Seminole Pumpkin – which Jeanine discussed in her workshop, Rouge d’Hiver Romaine, Monticello White Sesame), and one “practical” seed packet (Georgia Green Collards).

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My goodies.

Thank you to the Thomas Jefferson Foundation for making this a great weekend for my mother and I! I hope to come back again next year and encourage everyone to go at least once in their lifetime.

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For a review of several of the places I ate and stayed at – Virginia Diner, The Fitzroy, and the KOA Charlottesville – please check out The Edible Coast. My post on the KOA Charlottesville is currently up and the others will be added soon.

Heritage Harvest Festival! (1 of 2)

I finally made it to Monticello! I have been wanting to visit Monticello for years now and ended up going this weekend for the 10th Annual Heritage Harvest Festival. The Heritage Harvest Festival is this huge even

The first thing that you will notice when you arrive at the top of the mountain is the view. The view is gorgeous.

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The garden at Monticello is amazing. It is basically my dream garden. There were so many varieties of plants (many, like fish peppers, I identified by sight) that I could probably have simply explored the garden all day. I want to go back on a non-festival day and really browse the garden.I’m also jealous at the large amount of fig trees and the size of the orchard! One day…~!

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I’ve been wanting to grow these little peppers for a while now.
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This was such a neat idea for growing beans that I snapped a photo to share the idea with my boyfriend.

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The Tasting Tent seems to be the highlight of the event. We made our way around the tables for the Tomato, Melon, and Pepper tasting. There were so many different varieties that neither of us tasted every single product. We did have our favorites though – the main one being a tomato by the name of Nepal. I MUST have seeds for this one next growing season – it tasted like sugared tomatoes, that delicious touch of sweetness.

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The first cider we tried from Castle Hill Cider was a bit to dry for our taste (Levity), but the Serendipity was perfection. We both ended up purchasing a bottle of it. Back Pocket Provisions was at the top of my list of vendors that I wanted to check out. We tried all three of their Bloody Mary mixes (Bloody Brilliant, Bloody Bangkok, Bloody Baja) and decided that Bloody Brilliant was our favorite. We purchased 3 jars of it. I’m not a big Bloody Mary fan but I loved the taste of their mixes and even more so, I love that they use local farms for their tomatoes.

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American Heritage Chocolate

Barefoot Bucha was a bit hit with my mother and I as well. I love Kombucha but she has never tried it. We both tried the ginger kombucha, which we preferred over the Elderflower Sunrise. I ended up buying a 1/2 gallon of ginger. What is neat is that the container is refillable!

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I had been curious about Falling Bark Farm’s Hickory Syrup since I had heard about it. It is an interesting taste and though I didn’t buy any then, I later purchased a small jar from the shop at Carter’s Mountain Orchard. I have followed Farmstead Ferments on social media for a while and was thrilled to see them there. My mom and I tried the strawberry mint water kefir. It was both of our first times trying water kefir and we enjoyed how refreshing it tasted. When we went back to buy some later that day, they were out. :-/ What was really neat is that they had kombucha scoby’s for sale as well. I purchased a small jar of hand-harvested salt from J.Q. Dickinson Salt-Works. There were several other food vendors we tasted – they were all delicious. The Peppermint Dark Chocolate Sauce from Willie Byrd was delicious and the sage vodka (?) was quite an interesting experience.

Part two will be posted tomorrow! 

For a review of the places I ate and stayed at – Virginia Diner, The Fitzroy, and the KOA Charlottesville – please check out The Edible Coast. The KOA Charlottesville is up and the other two will be up soon!

A Jockey’s Ridge Adventure

Robb and I have been trying to make sure that we get out of the house on some of these January weekend days (of course, the ones that are warm and sunny, not cold, yucky and rainy like yesterday). Our first adventure was to the Great Dismal Swamp, followed by Merchant Millpond, and last weekend – Jockey’s Ridge.

We have a conservation farm that we plan to take the dogs to soon, hopefully. None of these locations are really out of the way for us and it’s nice to explore places that I haven’t been to in 10+ years!

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We started our day with Duck Donuts – one of my must-dos every time I head down to the beach. I normally go with the same doughnut: chocolate glazed with peanuts, but the cinnamon sugar is also delicious. Robb went with maple glazed.

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I came across this and love how the picture came out. Funny story: we are walking the dogs through a wooded area with lots of cacti scattered around. About the time I noticed it and moved to comment, Belle jumped about 5 feet straight in the air. Apparently she had noticed a cactus as well for she kept her nose to the ground the rest of the time.

 

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We followed our day up with lunch at Mama Kwan’s for their delicious fish tacos (Mama’s World Famous Fish Taco) and plain Pad Thai. After that, we went and saw ‘The Revenant’ – a movie that Robb really wanted to see but that I enjoyed as well.

Duck Donuts
(numerous locations, but I prefer the Kitty Hawk one best)
710 S Croatan Hwy,
Kill Devil Hills, North Carolina

Jockey’s Ridge State Park
Carolista Drive,
Nags Head at milepost 12 on the Hwy 158 Bypass

Mama Kwan’s Tiki Bar and Grill
1701 S Croatan Highway
Kill Devil Hills, NC 27948

Mini Roadtrip: Smithfield, VA

With my boyfriend being off-call this past weekend, I knew that I wanted to get out of town for a few short hours on Saturday. So we loaded my dog in the car (his stayed home) and we set off to Smithfield, VA which is about an hour and a half away. It might have taken us a *little* bit longer because we might have gotten a *little* bit lost but we eventually arrived.

Sidebar: We actually had quite a bit of excitement as we passed through the Dismal Swamp Canal. This HUGE black bear ran across the highway. We narrowly missed it. I had never seen a bear that close.

Our first, and pretty much only, stop was the Farmer’s Market. There were quite a lot of vendors. I wish that we lived closer or that the weather wasn’t quite so hot and that I had brought my cooler as there was so much local/organic/free range meat that I would have loved to stock my freezer up with – bison, pork, chicken, beef.

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I could have spent way more money that I did, but I ended up getting a few Japanese eggplants, and a couple of items from With Love (Maddie’s Magic calming salve, Misuli muscle salve, Restoration joint salve, Love Bug bug bite salve, and the Detox Pack bath powder).

For lunch, I stopped to the Granny’s Kitchen food truck and got the Coriander Dusted NC Shrimp (with quinoa, roasted corn, blistered chilies, cotija cheese, and a charred shallot/lemon vinaigrette). We found a quiet little shaded area to rest. This dish was absolutely fantastic and I highly recommend Granny’s Kitchen.

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It was a hot day and it wasn’t long before all three of us were panting and sweating so we shortened our trip. Smithfield is a cute little town so my boyfriend and I are planning to go back around Fall, when it has cooled off and the farmer’s market is still running. There are so many cute shops lining the street that I would love to check some of them out. One of the things I loved about Smithfield as well was the plethora of neat statues decorating the town.

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We ended up stopping to the Smithfield Chicken Swap as well, and though I wanted EVERYTHING there, we ended up leading empty handed. We did eventually purchase another chicken on Monday – a gorgeous Black Australorp. One of our Rhode Island Reds had passed away about a week prior.

After we returned home, we dressed and went to Planet Fitness for the first time. I had purchased a membership earlier in the week for us to get into shape. We worked hard for about an hour, then followed it up with a celebratory dinner at Ruby Tuesday – probably not the healthiest choice for us. 🙂

Day Trip to Manteo

I had a friend come up this weekend so we decided to head over to Manteo for the day. It had been years since I’ve been to Manteo, which is a shame since it’s maybe an hour and a half away. Our first stop was historic downtown Manteo, where we browsed the farmer’s market and walked the boardwalk.

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Blueberry Lime popsicle from Zen Pops at the Manteo Farmer's Market - such a fabulous, fresh taste.
Blueberry Lime popsicle from Zen Pops at the Manteo Farmer’s Market – such a fabulous, fresh taste.
Manteo Farmer's Market - I purchased a small jar of 'Summer Crush'- a orange, carrot, and ginger marmalade.
Manteo Farmer’s Market – I purchased a small jar of ‘Summer Crush’- a orange, carrot, and ginger marmalade.
Though there was a chill in the air when the breeze blew, the water felt nice, we saw quite a few swimmers.
Though there was a chill in the air when the breeze blew, the water felt nice, we saw quite a few swimmers.

After a quick lunch at Ortega’z (delicious, I had the fish tacos with mahi mahi and my friend had the buffalo shrimp po’boy) and some ice cream, we headed over to the aquarium. We walked around for a bit, oohing and aahing at the different sea life that the aquarium had (and also trying to avoid getting eaten by a T-Rex).

Happy turtle at the North Carolina Aquarium on Roanoke Island; the otters are always my favorite part.
Happy turtle at the North Carolina Aquarium on Roanoke Island; the otters are always my favorite part.
T-Rex at the North Carolina Aquarium on Roanoke Island; he moved and roared at us!
T-Rex at the North Carolina Aquarium on Roanoke Island; he moved and roared at us!

We headed to the Elizabethan Gardens and I looked forward to just meandering through the grounds. There were so many paths that we could wonder down, it was fabulous. I really enjoyed looking at the herb garden near the front – I was thrilled to see a lot of the same herbs as I have in my own collection. I purchased a bottle of Mothervine Scuppernong Grape Juice, a Foxglove plant, and a St. John’s Wort plant for my collection.

Elizabethan Gardens
Elizabethan Gardens
Me posing at the Elizabethan Gardens; I could have spent hours here, especially if I had brought a picnic lunch.
Me posing at the Elizabethan Gardens; I could have spent hours here, especially if I had brought a picnic lunch.

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Our last stop, which was what I most looked forward to, was the Alligator River Refuge. We were there to take part in one of the Spring Red Wolf Howlings (you can read more about it in the June issue of ‘Our State’ magazine). Our guide was so informative and after an introduction to the red wolves, we all piled back into our vehicles and made our way down to the refuge. I was third in line and could see piles of dust being kicked up behind me. My car is still covered in dust!

Fortunately, I was at the front because the wolves had already started howling when we arrived at our destination. Those at the end of the caravan missed the howls, which is a shame but I hope that doesn’t deter them from trying again. However, I highly recommend adding this as a stop on your trip.

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