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Farm to Fork 2012 [Triangle, NC]

Tickets are going to go on sale for this event soon which will be held on May 20th at Breeze Farm in Hillsborough.

Ticket prices have been raised from $60 to $100 as they now include drinks. Children 12 and under are free.

Not sure I like the idea of a price hike for everyone as I personally don't drink and would bring my own water.

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  1. It's earlier this year (normally isn't it in June or July?). I guess that makes sense since the weather should be a lot better for standing around in a field, but I've already made plans to be away that weekend. My streak continues of not ever being able to make it to the event.

    1 Reply
    1. re: mikeh

      Last year it was June 26th but the year before that it was May 20th or near that date. Can't speak to any earlier.

    2. Wow - that's a price hike which removes it as an option for me! The $60 was already steep, but a really enjoyable splurge.

      I drink, but not $40 worth - especially during the day (puts me to sleep) or when I will be driving.

      Thanks for the heads up!

      7 Replies
      1. re: meatn3

        Yeah, the driving and drinking is really rough; and the drinking in the hot afternoon sun doesn't help much either. I am, however, pleased to hear they're allowing children. Still and all ... $100? Seems a lot.

        1. re: LulusMom

          I went 2 years ago. There were children there that year. Why had that changed? Istr a CH poster had mentioned his daughter was the one eating a pigs tail in the Farm to Fork sites photos of past events.

          All the kids I observed were having a blast and were behaving completely appropriately.

          1. re: meatn3

            There's no problem bringing children, at least there hasn't been for the past 2 years. My daughter has attended, as have a classmate and her brother and many other kids we don't know. I've yet to see any child behaving improperly and I absolutely love seeing children exposed to and happily consuming good, high quality, diverse foods.

            However, given the huge price jump, I don't see how we can swing it this year. I don't know who will be more disappointed - me or my kid.

            1. re: meatn3

              Is there maybe another food event that I'm confusing this one with? Because one of the big ones around here told me that, because of the alcohol, they couldn't/wouldn't allow anyone under 21.

              1. re: LulusMom

                There has never been a problem bringing children of any age to the F2F in the past. I was going to link to their website but when I went there just now I see that this year's info is gone and in it's place is last year's info. It was certainly there earlier today. I wonder if that means any changes are in store...

                1. re: LulusMom

                  I think it may have been the one in the fall which is very wine oriented iirc.

          2. I'm very upset about the price increase, also. I've sent an e-mail to the organizers asking them to consider 2 tier pricing. A price increase of 66% is ridiculous, no matter how much one drinks.

            I wonder if they realize how bad this looks in the current economy. To me, the message it sends is that sustainable farm to fork dining is for the 1% only. It's elitist, it's discouraging, and it confirms the rumblings in the media that the foodie movement is all about snobbery. So unfortunate.

            3 Replies
            1. re: rockycat

              Very well put.

              If the idea is exposure and education this will severely decrease the chance of meeting that goal. I understand the fundraising aspect, but jeez...this does not help build community.

              1. re: meatn3

                I think that we should all contact the organizers concerning the price increase

                1. re: chazzer

                  Plus their website is still from 2011. And, as a non-pork eater in a pork loving area, I don't want to pay $100 and then not be able to taste half the stuff. Did they have any kind of over view or menu for last year's (I'm not seeing it on the website). How much of it was porky? All very discouraging.

            2. The $100 really is crazy and tone deaf in this economy. Even the lux Atlanta Food & Wine Festival tasting tents are priced at $100 right now (and they had been $75 if you bought tickets early). An "In the field" fundraiser/food event like Farm to Fork, the Lowcountry Local First Chef's Potluck taking place at Middleton Place in Charleston, SC this Sunday, is priced at $70. Farm to Fork had been in line with these sorts of events . . . until now.

              20 Replies
              1. re: mikeh

                I wrote to one of the organizers to express my dissatisfaction with the pricing and received this e-mail in reply. I'll leave it up to you Hounds to take what you like from it, but I can see that I clearly do not share the organizers' definition of "value."

                "We understand your concern with the ticket price. The organizations involved in hosting this event offer many free and low-cost events and workshops throughout the year, but the Farm to Fork Picnic is designed as a fundraiser, and so the ticket price reflects that.

                We are working hard to provide training and other opportunities to support new farmers in agriculture, and with the average age of farmers at 59, we have reached a crisis point that needs immediate action. While we recognize that this increased ticket price is out of reach for some, the ticket price reflects our belief that the financial support the fundraiser brings these programs outweighs the risk that not everyone can participate. With many single-night dinners at restaurants (many of which are featured in our picnic) costing upwards of $100 per person, we also believe that even with the increase, our ticket price is a great value for the quality and amount of food, drink, and entertainment provided.

                We hope you understand and still consider participating, but if not, please consider attending one of the other events we offer in the area. Thank you for your support."

                1. re: rockycat

                  Thanks for posting that. All I can say is a splurgy meal at Magnolia Grill for myself and the wife where we each order an app., entree, dessert, and a glass of wine barely pushes over $100 TOTAL. So the organizers are exaggerating the price comparison just a bit.

                  I think they are missing their best promotional opportunity of the year to make farm-to-fork approachable, which is to show people how good it tastes on the palate. Events and workshops - you have to already be seeking those out to begin with and have some appreciation in the movement. But when something tastes good, it opens up a new world to folks. But they've priced out casual eaters from this.

                  1. re: mikeh

                    I have to take issue with that. You must not have eaten at MG in awhile. No way two people can have such a meal at MG for anywhere near $100. A farm to table dinner at Celebrity Dairy prepared by Chip Smith of the former Bonne Soiree costs over $100 with tax and tip-- and you don't get to eat all you want, you can't bring kids for free, and it's not a fundraiser like Farm to Fork.

                    All this said, I won't be going. With my oldest son now being 14 and having set the precedent of bring my mother-in-law to past picnics I would have to drop $400 to attend and that's too rich for my blood. But I wish F2F well. I hope they raise a lot of money.

                    1. re: bbqme

                      If the prices on their website are correct, then mikeh's statement is correct. I just totaled up a hypothetical order as he described, not selecting the cheapest items, and it totaled $84.25. The menu doesn't show prices for wine by the glass, but assuming $8, that would bring you to a total of $100.25, before tax and tip.

                      1. re: carolinadawg

                        Dinner for 2 at Magnolia Grill last month. We overate badly: 2 apps, 2 mains, 2 desserts, 2 coffees and maybe 4 drinks (total, not per person). Stuffed to the gills with some of the finest food the Triangle has to offer, with tax, before tip the check came to about $120, FWIW. If you're not a drinker you can eat yourself silly at MG for about $100 a couple.

                        That being said, I agree that F2F is not necessarily about getting every penny of your money's worth. However, I am concerned that the organizers have moved the event away from an accessible, educational event to something meant to appeal to the dilletantes in our community.

                        1. re: rockycat

                          I think you may be anointing F2F with ideals that the organizers didn't intend. You're assuming it's meant to be accessible, educational, etc. They are likely just trying to raise money for their endeavors-- any other positive side effects may be of secondary consequence.

                        2. re: carolinadawg

                          But tax and tip adds almost another $30-- and besides, for a fair comparison of out-the-door cost, tax and tip should be included.

                    2. re: rockycat

                      I got basically the same response, with the additional information that they don't finalize the menus until two weeks before, so they can't tell me exactly what will be available yet, but that there should be "something for everyone." Well, sorry, but that isn't really comforting enough for that price. In this area, there is pork in a lot of unexpected places.

                      1. re: LulusMom

                        I have an acquaintance who does not eat pork and whose wife does not eat any non-kosher meat. I have never understood how it was worth it to them, but I understand that this couple is re-evaluating whether or not they will be going this year.

                        1. re: rockycat

                          I re-evaluated it right out of the running. I don't eat much meat at all and Lulu has started turning off it too (except steak and hamburgers - the girl loves some beef). I'd be willing to go, and even at this price if I saw a menu that proved there would be plenty to choose from, but given the price and lack of info, nah.

                      2. re: rockycat

                        I find the response disturbing.

                        This event is not the same as a big splurge night out. A nice restaurant experience does not entail porta-potties, swatting bugs, schlepping my lawn chair over uneven terrain, standing in line after line to obtain multiple morsels, paying in advance not knowing my mood or the weather, etc.

                        I have limited entertainment dollars. I spent a larger ratio of them with participating suppliers after I had a chance to try their food and speak with them at the f2f event I went to.

                        I have worked with local food producers for years and been a staunch supporter of local since my first co-op experiences in the '70's. This really just seems very short sighted to price out many of your long term audience.

                        There are so many other ways they could increase the dollars raised without causing this degree of - I'm don't even know what to call it - feels like a slap and a lack of appreciation for the real people who put their money where their values lie, even when it necessitates making hard budget choices. Feels like they are working from a short term position of gimme to maximize the current widespread interest in food. Long term reality is that many of those folks will move on to newer hip interests and the long-term supporters which F2F ostracized will move on to other worthy efforts that actually appreciate them.

                        1. re: meatn3

                          Thank you. I was hoping that someone would be able to state my thoughts in a more articulate manner and you nailed it. In internet parlance,

                          +1

                          1. re: rockycat

                            do they say how much of the ticket price actually goes to the farmers that they support? (eg what are their operational costs?)

                            they have sponsorship levels, but those amounts gear towards higher amount: http://www.alumni.ncsu.edu/2012_Farm_....
                            Picnic Sponsor - $10000.00, Includes 12 tickets ($8,800 is a tax deductible contribution)
                            Farm Sponsor - $5000.00, Includes 8 tickets ($4,200 is a tax deductible contribution
                            )Harvest Sponsor - $2500.00, Includes 6 tickets ($1,900 is a tax deductible contribution)
                            Field Sponsor - $1000.00,Includes 4 tickets ($600 is a tax deductible contribution)
                            Garden Sponsor - $500.00, Includes 2 tickets ($300 is a tax deductible contribution)

                            1. re: cervisiam

                              I also e-mailed my concerns to a number of chefs and food suppliers who have participated in previous F2F picnics. I heard back from a few of them with varying degrees of sympathy and understanding. One person, though, sent me back a note stating that I clearly did not understand the nature of the event. It's a fundraiser and all the food and labor is donated, stupid (okay, the "stupid" is my addition but I felt that it was implied).

                              Of course I know that all the food and labor is donated. That's exactly why I am so remarkably ticked off by the amount of the price increase. I doubt many people would have balked at another $10 or so. I would hope that after tent rental, porta-potty rental, and insurance that all proceeds would go to the farmers and programs designed to help them, but I don't really know.

                              What I do know is that this particular chef/proprietor's e-mail pointed up to me that we're looking at an Alice Waters v. Anthony Bourdain problem here. Apparently there are too many people in the local food scene who believe that sustainble eating is only for the wealthy and if the rest of us who simply can't afford to pony up the big $$$ can go suck an organic, cage-free, free-range egg.

                              1. re: rockycat

                                all the food is donated? hm. wonder if chefs/food suppliers feel pressured to be at this event BECAUSE IT SUPPORTS LOCAL FARMERS!!! :) (and by not appearing at the event, you in fact are essentially rejecting your support?) sounds similar to those World Beer Festivals....

                                1. re: cervisiam

                                  One thing I had really appreciated about the local food movement in NC is that it did not take on a "1%" identity like the San Francisco Bay Area farm-to-table movement that I had previously experienced. Walk through the Ferry Building Farmer's Market in San Francisco on Saturdays and everything is priced so luxuriously. There, the cost profile is conventional supermarket < Whole Foods < Farmer's Market, whereas here it was that Farmers Markets are where you get the best deal. But it seems that now the attitude is changing since apparently enough wealthy patrons have "bought in" that they can ignore the masses. Well if the entire point is to reconnect common dining practices back to ingredient sourcing and slow food, and away from the knee-jerk default of a mass-produced chain experience or unconscious shopping practices, then there needs to be a more "this is for everybody" attitude. I think in comparison, the local movement in Charleston, SC, for all the wealth and tourist dollars down there, has taken on a more honest direction. While Sean Brock, Mike Lata and co. are written up worldwide as some of the best chefs in the country now, their efforts to promote seafood from Mark Marhefka or reintroduce certain grains like carolina gold rice or Sea Island peas that had been lost to a couple generations can be approached and used in simple cooking. A recent interview with Sean Brock on Charlie Rose had him stating that his goal is to make a simple bowl of hoppin' john, rice and peas, have the flavor profile that it used to, and this is eminently translatable to cooking practice in all homes, not just the wealthy. His favorite place to dine is Martha Lou's, a meat-and-three that sources locally just because that's how the family has always done it, and he uses it as a guidepost and anchor to remind him of what his life's motivation is. It's from this chef- and restaurant-driven leadership that fundraising events down there are priced $40-70, depending, even if they're held on historic plantations and in a higher cost-of-living and overhead environment. In the future, I'll vote with my wallet to support the "right" direction in farm-to-table.

                                  1. re: mikeh

                                    Thanks for such a nice comparison.

                                    I am a very democratic person and truly believe that there is plenty - we just need to make thing accessible and help people learn so they can make the best choices for their situation.

                                    The more folks who support local, sustainable agriculture the healthier the system becomes. Such as huge price jump reinforces the concept the this is a rich mans
                                    movement. I feel the goal should be to get as many people on board as possible. The benefits for grower, retailer, eater are tremendous.

                                    I am so disappointed with F2F. I understand that there is never enough money to do everything you wish you could. I understand the pressures they may be under.
                                    I feel there are many other ways to raise additional funds with out alienating their grassroots supporters.This is so short sighted and the ramifications will continue to harm the folks they are trying to assist for a long time to come.

                                    1. re: meatn3

                                      What other ways of fundraising are there? This and the farm tours are the only fundraising endeavors of this nature that I'm aware of. Look, I'm disappointed that I've been priced out too but I also understand it's a fundraiser and thus requires a level of altruism on our part.

                                      1. re: bbqme

                                        The auctions could be expanded. Last event I attended most of the silent auctions started at very high rates. Many folks of lesser means would love to participate - the auction item doesn't need to be grand, there is room for a wider variety at a wider starting point.

                                        I've been responsible for fund raising in several arts organizations. Many were locked into the idea that only those in the at the higher income range could be supporters. I believed differently. We offered a wider range of premiums and appealed to a wider demographic. It worked and created a stronger long term support base.

                                        This group could keep people up to date on their efforts by e-mail. Have a newsletter which shows examples of the way the funds are utilized. People will be inspired. Do monthly billing like PBS. Let people know what $5, $10, $20 per month can do. They will respond.

                                        Got to say, after my ticket purchase I never heard another word from them. Not even a heads up that tickets were available for the next year. The easiest sale is to a past customer - f2f totally missed the boat. Perhaps it was an oversight, perhaps it was poor planning - either way they lost an opportunity,

                                        I'm not crying sour grapes because I've been priced out. My situation this year wouldn't allow attending even at last years prices. It is the huge jump in price and the response to Rockycat that really (imo) indicate a shift in values that I take issue with.

                                2. re: rockycat

                                  Note to self:

                                  add organic egg sucking at next CH get together!

                      3. There was a response from one of the organizers on this thread yesterday but it now appears to have been censored, for some reason.

                        I have been to Farm to Fork for the last two years and am on the fence this year. I have a teenage child so it would be $300 for the three of us to attend. The added attraction of drinks being included has no appeal, particularly since my daughter is underage.

                        Surely, there are other ways the organizers could raise additional funds beyond the simplistic method of raising the entrance fee. Auctions, raffles, VIP seating, VIP parking etc, come to mind quickly. But $100 just to get in the "door" just doesn't seem worth it. For that amount of money, I want a sit-down dinner in a location where I don't have to worry about the weather.

                        Also, the lack of communication from this organization that others have remarked upon is valid. Certainly, they have my email address but I have never once heard from them with an announcement regarding this year's event nor any other activities that they might hold during the year.

                        It's too bad the organizer who posted earlier is apparently not able to communicate further with us on this thread as I cannot find any other way to communicate with the group as there are no links posted on their website.

                        13 Replies
                        1. re: brentk

                          We have a local google group that might be useful: nc-triangle-chowhounds+subscribe@googlegroups.com>

                          You can sign up for that.

                          1. re: brentk

                            That is a good point. It is unfair to charge those between 13-20 $100 when they can't drink-- as well as those who don't want to drink. They should have kept beer and wine purchases by the glass as they did in years past.

                            1. re: brentk

                              I checked our google group information and found that one of the organizers is CEFS (Center for Environmental Farming Systems) and they are the recipient of half of the fundraising. The other half raised goes to the Breeze Farm incubator.

                              On the F2F site the other organizers listed are Orange County and Slow Food Triangle.

                              Neither site supplies contact data for additional information about F2F.

                              1. re: brentk

                                from the farmtoforknc website:
                                Due to a generous donation by Whole Foods Market, we are able to provide a limited number of discounted and free tickets to community members in need. For more information, please write to 2012farmtofork@gmail.com.

                                1. re: cervisiam

                                  This is a nice sign that concerns about the increased price and accessibility have been heard.
                                  Whole Foods has stepped forward in a big way to create a bridge between the needs of the public and the organizers.

                                  Looking forward to learning more!

                                  1. re: meatn3

                                    It is really nice of WFs to help out like this. But I'd feel guilty taking this away from someone who really needs it and can use the opportunity to learn about how great local produce can be. That said, I still think $100 is too much. They've lost me.

                                    1. re: LulusMom

                                      I completely agree that $100 is too much. I feel alcohol should be billed separately*. Also feel there should be a family rate or discount for the 12-18 year olds.

                                      That said, I do think this action shows that the concerns we and others have voiced made enough noise to get them to reexamine the situation a bit. Also a very savvy move on WF's part. I'm curious about the details.

                                      One of the best aspects about the event when it was more reasonably priced is that it was attractive to folks who weren't necessarily interested in local or organic. Tasting, talking to the producers, hearing the chefs wax passionately about the ingredients, learning more about the movement in a setting like this makes it easier to learn and appreciate why it is important. The higher price point makes it that much harder to get new supporters.

                                      *I have reservations about building alcohol into the equation - if someone feels they need to get their $40 worth it could lead to a host of problems.

                                        1. re: LulusMom

                                          Yes!

                                          :-D

                                          Was spouting in general, not directing towards you!

                                      1. re: LulusMom

                                        I'm with LulusMom. I thought very briefly about looking into the subsidized tickets but I don't want to take the opportunity away from someone with a real need. I'm not "needy," I just don't "need" to spend $200 for something like this. We're out until the price moves back into the realm of reality.

                                        And I share meatn3's reservations about the included alcohol. This event could be a bonanza for the local police. Just set up a few DUI checkpoints a mile in either direction from the farm and they might have their operating budget for next year covered.

                                        1. re: rockycat

                                          This is a fundraiser. $100 is what the organizers need to charge to raise enough money to make all the effort worth it. If you have a problem with the price do not attend. I am sure it will still sell out.

                                          1. re: chizow

                                            I think we all understand that this is a fundraiser, and are happy to give money to attend. The problem is the difference in the price from last year; going from $60 (I believe that was the price then) to $100 per person seems pretty steep for most families these days. And the inclusion of alcohol doesn't make it any better as a lot of people don't drink, or even if they do (and I am one who does) they do not drink $40 worth of booze in the afternoon when they need to drive home afterwards.

                                            1. re: LulusMom

                                              Well put, LulusMom. For $100, I would expect a very different type of event. This is a nice way to spend the afternoon with the family and friends, but at $100 per person, I suspect that the attendance will likely be down. Sad, because it is a good cause but they really should think of other ways to raise more money that simply raising the ticket price.