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ISO Chef who's into Farmers Markets--in NC, SC, GA or AL

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  • Jean B. Feb 2, 2004 03:08 PM
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I'm a writer doing an article on Southern Farmers Markets in the specific states of North & South Carolina, Georgia and Alabama. I'm looking for chefs to interview in each state about the farmers markets they know and love. Can Southern chowhounds recommend some top chefs who are big supporters of the local markets in their areas? Any leads would be appreciated -- thanks in advance!

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  1. In Greenville S.C., John Malik of 33 Liberty is a big proponent of local farmers. I can't say how much of his procurement is actually done at the farmer's market per se, but I know from his well-written weekly e-mail newsletter that he seeks out small local producers for everything from veggies to dairy. (864) 370-4888 John and his pastry chef wife Amy have already been in the national foodie press several times, which is really an accomplishment coming from a city like Greenville which doesn't really have a "food scene".

    In Asheville N.C., I have run into my favorite Chef, Hector Diaz, owner of Salsa and Zambra at the small but excellent tailgate market outside the French Broad Food Coop. (828) 232-1060 Hector has been featured in Southern Living a time or two, but he deserves national attention in my opinion. He is a genious with flavor combinations and using ingredients in surprising ways. I find his story quite interesting. He's from Puerto Rico, worked in kitchens in NY before opening a hole-in-the-wall Carribbean rest. in Asheville. That rest. has expanded and now he also has an tappas restaurant (he was actually a few years ahead of the curve on that one...at least around here).

    (phone numbers are for the restaurants)

    1. In Columbia, SC, I know that The chefs Bill Murphy & Lee Talmage of Hampton Street Vineyard Bistro (803) 252-0850 use the local farmers market.

      1. Morningside Farmer's Market in Atlanta has a chef demonstrate every Saturday May-October. A google web search on "morningside farmer's market" will yield much more information than I could. We frequently spotted local chefs shopping there.

        Also Bacchanalia's (also Atlanta) owners have a very strong committment to local, organic produce.

        1. Check with Scott Peacock of Watershed (404-378-4900). Not only does he have a terrific cookbook out (with Edna Lewis), his highly praised restaurant is very close to Atlanta's major farmer's market - the Dekalb Farmer's Market. I am sure he would be able to provide you with information.

          1. b
            Bryan Andregg

            In the triangle region of NC there are several chef/owners who support their farmers markets very strongly.

            Mad Hatter - Jason Balius - 919-286-1987, Jason is the owner and buys as much of his produce as he can from the farmers market and the DIG program (http://www.seedsnc.org).

            Magnolia Grill - Ben Barker - 919-286-3609, Ben and his wife Karen do amazing, award winning food some of which is sourced from the local farmers markets.

            Nana's and Pop's - Scott Howell - 919-493-8545 (Nana's), Scott is an avid supported of the Durham revival and buys much produce from local farmers markets.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Bryan Andregg

              I've personally seen Shane from Four Square at both the Caborro and Durham farmer's markets buying for the restaurant. Also, I do think his food is the best of the region. They have a website, so you can contact him via that.

              Certainly one could make enormously strong arguments for both Mag Grill and Nana's (especially when it comes to putting the scene on the map). It's just that they seem to always get the run, and 4-Square is really coming on strong.

            2. try Michael Tuohy at www.woodfiregrill.com or contact me and i can give you the article i wrote on Georgias organic farmers and their morningside market for atlanta cuisine.
              Cheers Nik

              1. The chef at the Irregardless Cafe in Raleigh supposedly frequents the state Farmers Market there. The cafe's number is (919) 833-8898.

                You may also want to contact Frank Suddreth, manager of the state Farmers Market in Charlotte (704) 357-1269. He may know of some chefs in that area who like to buy from the market.

                2 Replies
                1. re: Brian Long

                  I thought Irregardless closed years ago????

                  1. re: danna

                    Nope. Open as almost always. If memory serves, a fire back in the last century required some down time for reno, but Irregardless rocks on.

                2. Thank you to all the Chowhounds who replied to my request for leads on chefs who shop at farmers markets. Everyone I've interviewed so far has been excellent. At this point I have no need for additional chef names, although I'm sure there are dozens more out there. Thanks again.

                  1. Andrea at Lantern in Chapel Hill: http://lanternrestaurant.com

                    The Barkers at Magnolia Grill in Durham: http://www.magnoliagrill.net

                    Bill Smith at Crook's in Chapel Hill: http://www.crookscorner.com

                    Panciutto's in Hillsborough

                    are DEFINITES

                    1. In Charleston, SC you have Mike Lata of FIG, Jeremiah Bacon of Carolina'sand Sean Brock of McCrady's. I can't say for sure that they shop at farmer's markets but I know they are local enthusiasts. I believe McCrady's and Carolina's farm their own vegetables.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: charlestonebayer

                        Pepper Place Saturday Market in Birmingham garners support from a ton of local chefs who do weekly cooking demos as well as shop for their produce. Frank Stitt (Highlands Bar & Grill, Bottega, Chez FonFon) is a huge supporter. Clif and Maureen Holt of Little Savannah lead a Saturday cooking class that begins at the market to purchase ingredients. Typically if you visit the Pepper Place Web site and click on "schedule," you can see the list of chefs that participate in the cooking demos, however, it doesn't seem to be updated at this time.
                        http://pepperplacemarket.com/