As we’ve headed into the first days of the unofficial “summer” that follows Memorial Day, we’ve seen no shortage in recent days of events that remind us of our city’s unique character.
Two of them, appropriately, involve our embrace of food trucks and urban agriculture.
In perhaps the inevitable evolution of our food truck scene, a group unveiled plans for a permanent, mini-food-truck-rodeo at 1920 Chapel Hill Road in Durham. County Fare will have a shifting foursome of trucks every day, curated by lead partner Mattie Beason, who owns Durham’s Mattie B’s Public Place and Black Twig Cider House.
“You have a diverse group of options for different people,” he told The News and Observer’s Jessica Banov. “Chances are, you’ll find something you want.”
The trucks will be parked next to a barn-like structure with indoor and outdoor seating, and with beer, wine and cider available.
County Fare will be built on a now-vacant lot in front of the Shoppes at Lakewood. It’s worth noting that, for better or for worse, County Fare promises to be yet another step in the gentrification of the shopping center and the neighborhood around it, a transformation already built heavily on food. The Lakewood restaurant recently opened just a block or so south, in the old Davis Baking Co. building. The old Chameleon night club across the street is under renovation for a third Cocoa Cinnamon site. The Scrap Exchange is developing a “food hall” as part of its revival of a the shopping center segment that it bought last year.
Beason knows he’s in the midst of a transformation. “I feel that area is going to change and change rapidly,” he said. “I’m excited about this little area It will be a new little pocket of entertainment.”
Beason’s venture will appeal to those who want to first encounter their food when it’s prepared and cooked. SEEDS, an urban garden and outdoors classroom in East Durham, hosted an event recently for those who want their encounter with food to start while it’s still alive.
Hilary Nichols, who is wrapping up a stint as garden manager and volunteer coordinator, hosted a workshop by Durham County Cooperative Extension agent Cheralyn Schmidt-Berry on how to slaughter chickens. “We teach kids now to grow, cook and share food,” Nichols told correspondent Steve Bydal. “We shouldn’t stop short of meat.” (She herself is a vegetarian.)
Bydal caught how the workshop fits into Durham’s gritty, varied culture in the opening words of his story: “Things to do in Durham: Catch a Bulls game. Sip a craft beer. Slaughter a chicken.”
And, we’d add, grab a meal from a food truck.
All sounds pretty Durham.