Friday, September 30, 2011

Fall Finds at Durham Farmers' Market

Market Finds
This week Durham Farmers' Market-goers will begin seeing the season's first fresh ginger!  Fresh ginger looks a little different than ginger you see in the grocery store.  It has a very thin, edible skin and has little pink nubs on it.  Fresh ginger is less fibrous than other ginger and it has a somewhat milder taste.

Shoppers will also find locally grown peanuts and the first popcorn of the season. Popping corn is a different variety of corn from the type that you eat on the cob, in fact, it is a very ancient type of corn.  The varieties of corn that are good for popping have strong hulls that are impervious to water.  The kernels contain a certain amount of moisture and oils that make it good for popping.

Results from The 2011 Chef Challenge
In case you missed it last week, the Chef Challenge was very exciting.  And the secret ingredient, according to all of the chefs, was a real challenge... Okra! All the chefs put together amazing dishes that featured okra.  For an in depth coverage of the Challenge, read Bryan Christopher's (one of the judges) post on his blog Searching for Sicily

Chef Billy Cotter of TOAST defended his 2010 Chef Challenge Champ title and became the 2011 Champ! Thanks to Chefs Andy Magowan of Geer Street Garden and Josh DeCarolis from Dos Perros for competing.  Also, a big thank you to the judges, Johanna Kramer, Bryan Christopher, Heather Greer Klein and Ross Grady.  Thanks for Frank Stasio for serving as our emcee, Tom Dawson for creating the trophy and WXDU for the use of their sound system.

Fresh this Week

Fruit:  Apples, Pears, Scuppernong Grapes, Watermelon, Peaches 
Vegetables:  Peanuts, Ginger, Popcorn, Asian Greens, Arugula, Beans, Longbeans, Beets, Butterbeans, Cherry Tomatoes, Corn, Collards,  Cucumbers,  Dandelion Greens, Eggplant, Garlic, Gourds, Herbs,  Mustard Greens, Kale, Lambs Quarter,  Lettuce,  Okra, Onions, Pea Shoots, Peppers, Potatoes, Purple Hull Peas, Pumpkins, Salad Mix, Shiitake Mushrooms, Sweet Potatoes, Swiss Chard,  Summer Squash,   Tomatoes,  Winter Squash, Zucchini
Flowers:   Asiatic Lillies, Celosia, Dahlia, Gomphrena, Gladiolus, Lisianthus, Sunflowers, Tuber Rose, Zinnia
Meats: Beef, Bison, Chicken, Duck, Goat/Chevon, Lamb, Rabbit, Pork
And: Fall Vegetable Seedlings, Honey, Chicken and Duck Eggs, Flour, Yellow & White Cornmeal, Grits, Pecans, Wines, Fresh and Aged Goats and Cows Milk Cheeses, Baked Goods, Pasta, Beer, Wine, Jams, Jellies, Pickles, Preserves, Wool, Landscaping Plants
Crafts: Hand-dyed Clothes, Jewelery, Baskets, Pottery, Stained Glass Art, Woodwork, Photographs, Soaps

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Countdown to the Battle of the High-Stepping Marching Bands

Each Fall, Durham has the honor of hosting the Official High School Battle of the Bands. Not your ordinary battle of the bands, this annual event features the top high-stepping marching bands in the Southeast.

Mastermind and founder, Adrian Carroll conceived of the High School Battle of the Bands as a means to promote music education and academic excellence in minority and urban school districts. The event also provides a venue for band programs to be evaluated by prominent college band directors and adjudicators.

The event draws talent from all over the region. This year, however, the Battle of the Bands welcomes one of the largest, most coveted bands on the competition circuit, the Southwest DeKalb High School Marching Panthers of Atlanta, GA. Widely respected as one of the top programs in the country, Southwest DeKalb is best known from the movie Drumline.

For those unfamiliar with the history of the High School Battle of the Bands and the tradition of high-stepping marching bands, Adrian Carroll produced an original film on the topics. A Cadence Unheard will air on Sunday, October 9th on Fox 50. For a sneak preview, click here to view the trailer for A Cadence Unheard.

The Adrian Carroll Official High School Battle of the Bands will take place at 4pm on Sunday, October 16th on the Campus of North Carolina Central University at the O'Kelley-Riddick Football Stadium.

Now in its 9th year, the Official High School Battle of the Bands has partnered with the NC Triangle Affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the Cure. Proceeds from the event will go to breast cancer awareness. Tickets for the event are currently available for purchase.

Friday, September 23, 2011

DCVB and Green Recognized by Peer Organizations

In the 12th year of independent out-of-state judging, the Destination Marketing Association of North Carolina announced the winners in its annual Destination Marketing Achievement Awards program.

Durham's marketing agency, the Durham Convention & Visitors Bureau, received four awards, bringing its total over twelve years to 68 awards. This year DCVB received two platinum awards for its 2010 Annual Report and for its innovative use of the social gaming application Scvngr.  Two gold awards for the new Durham Hospitality Jobs website and the Durham News Service website were also earned.

Awards to Destination Marketing Organizations (DMOs) are broken down by the organization's size and into different categories of innovations and marketing initiatives. Durham is evaluated in comparison to places including Asheville, Charlotte, Greensboro, and Raleigh. 

Additionally, DCVB President and CEO Shelly Green was awarded the NC Travel Industry Association Public Service Award in honor of Bill Sharpe who was North Carolina's first tourism director.  It is bestowed in recognition of outstanding individuals and/or organizations for their past or current contributions to the promotion or development of the travel industry in North Carolina.  Given annually since 1987, previous winners include famed NC-born broadcaster Charles Kuralt, The North Carolina Zoo and Keep NC Beautiful.

"Receiving these awards is always special," said Shelly Green, President & CEO of the Durham Convention & Visitors Bureau.  "Having also earned the Alfred P. Sloan Award for Workplace Flexibility last week, too, leaves me particularly proud of DCVB and the work it does." 

Recognized nationwide for innovations in Destination Marketing, DCVB has received more than 130 awards and recognitions over the past 15 years.  Such recognition serves as affirmation of one the organization's most important core values:  CANI – Continual and Never-Ending Improvement. 

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Pride In Durham

Durham is, among many other things, an open and diverse place.  As such, it has a large and active GLBT community. This weekend, celebratory events will take place throughout Durham as part of the NC Pride Parade & Festival and they are listed below.

Pride Weekend: Sept 22 - Sept 25, 2011

Thursday, September 22, 2011
10pm     Ember Swift, Pinhook

Friday, September 23, 2011
4pm     Pre Masqueerade Party, The Bar
5pm     Pride Happy Hour, Casbah
6pm     Pride Crawl on Ninth Street
7pm     Out in the South: Writers in Conversation, White Lecture Hall, Duke East Campus
7pm     MasQueerade Party, The Bar
7pm     Pride Happy Hour, West End Wine Bar
7pm     Official Pre Pride Party with Music by Sound Cartel, Casbah
10pm   Pride Dance Party, Pinhook

Saturday, September 24th
NC PrideFest Day - Festival and Parade
8:30am    NC Pride 5k Phantom Run and Walk
10am       Festival grounds opens, Duke East Campus
11am       Ask the Doctor at Health Area Tents, Duke East Campus 
11am       Ecumenical Church Service at the Gazebo  
11: 55am National Anthem for Opening Ceremony, Duke East Campus
NOON   Pride Rally with Speakers and Dignitaries, Parade Marshall and special performances
1pm        PRIDE PARADE
1pm        Pride Tea Dance, Casbah
1pm        Pride Ride Bicycle Rally, Motorco Music Hall
2pm        Official Pride After Party,The Bar
2:30pm   Keynote Speaker: Randy Jones of the Village People, Duke East Campus
2pm        NoH8 photography, Duke East Campus
7pm        PinHook Pride Celebration with The Butchies, Pinkhook

Sunday, September 25th
1:15pm Pride Lunch, Madhatter Cafe 
2pm Post Pride LA-TEA-DAH, The Bar

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Bennett Place Hosts 'The Road to Secession'

Throughout the past year, Durham's national historic sites have offered special commemorative programing for the Sesquicentennial of the American Civil War. One of Bennett Place's largest "First year of the Civil War" 1861 commemorative events is yet to come.

"The Road to Secession" is a reenactment of life in the Piedmont region of North Carolina in the beginning months of the Civil War. Beginning at 10am Saturday and again at 3pm Sunday, living historians will recreate the fervor and excitement of the beginning of the War.

A recruitment station and encampment will be set up on the grounds of the Bennett Farm, where civilian interpreters will enlist in the army and be transformed into soldiers. Stump speeches, patriotic music, and other activities will demonstrate the spirit of the Southern cause. Civilian interpreters will also exhibit the domestic chores such as cooking, sewing and gardening as their husbands and sons headed off to war.

This is a signature event of the 150th Anniversary of the American Civil War commemorative series. Those interested in participating in the events as a 19th century civilian, soldier, craftsmen or sutlery should contact Bennett Place directly.

Keeping Durham Beautiful

Durham is committed to keeping Durham beautiful. Non-profits such as Preservation Durham and Keep Durham Beautiful were created in the interest of maintaining Durham's historic charm and enhancing the Bull City's appearance. The success of such organizations is closely tied to volunteerism, collaboration with local businesses, partnerships with local government and charitable giving.  Fortunately, progress is being made on that front.

Keep Durham Beautiful recently announced a history-making $10,000 grant from the Family Fare Convenience Stores' BP Fueling Communities Program. The program provides grants to local organizations that are nominated by BP’s Branded Marketers to support the communities in which they do business.  

Charitable donations, whether monetary or in volunteer hours, are crucial to the health of this community. Kudos to Family Fare Convenience Stores, Keep Durham Beautiful, Preservation Durham and to all the organizations and individuals who are keeping Durham beautiful.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

DCVB Honored for Business Excellence in Workplace Flexibility

For the third time since the award's inception in 2005, the Durham Convention & Visitors Bureau has been recognized by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation for its excellence in workplace flexibility.  "Flexibility in the workplace is as much about helping employees be effective and productive as it is about yielding positive business results for an organization," said Shelly Green, DCVB's President and CEO.  "We see great benefits (as do our employees) from the policies and practices we have in place that promote work/life balance."

The awards are part of a research-based initiative called "When Work Works."  The Foundation surveys employees and employers about the flexibility programs and practices at their workplace as well as the perceived level of  support fostered in their workplace culture.

"DCVB ranks in the top 20% of employers nationally in terms of its programs, policies and culture for creating an effective and flexible workplace," states Ellen Galinsky, president of Families and Work Institute.  "What makes this honor so special is that their employees have corroborated this, affirming that it is indeed an effective and flexible workplace."

In addition to three Sloan Awards, DCVB was the first CVB in the nation to achieve Green Plus certification  recognizing organizations that have achieved a high level of commitment to people, performance and the planet.  In total, DCVB earned 130+ awards and recognitions over the past 15 years.

The Durham Convention & Visitors Bureau is Durham's official marketing agency and primary point of contact for visitors.  They operate the Visitors Information Center at 101 E. Morgan Street in Downtown Durham.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Durham's Ranks High Again

Consideration of Durham as a food destination is a pretty well-worn path.  With a national reputation that continues to grow, dining options in Durham are as diverse as the community itself.  From one of the most exciting food truck scenes in the US to some of the country's most celebrated and highly-ranked dining spots, when it comes to food Durham really does have it all.

According to the folks at WRAL who just ranked the top five burgers in the Research Triangle Region, two of the best are in Durham.

Bull City Burger and Brewery in Downtown Durham at 107 East Parrish St. is home to many variations on the burger theme.  That they are hyper focused on making things themselves (there are only a handful of things they don't make there) to sourcing their products locally (including some of the tables - go and's really quite cool) only adds to the quality of the product.  They have only been open a few months and are already garnering national attention and interest in their product and concept.  Oh, and they brew their own beers, too which upon sampling usually rocket to the top of drinker's favorite brews.  It's no surprise this place was the first on WRAL's list.

Also on the list is Dain's Place at 754 Ninth Street.  The funky Ninth St. district is home to a variety of shops and restaurants, and Dain's fits right in with an eclectic feel that earned it the #10 spot on Complex's Top 50 College Bars in America.  The food here is in the college-bar vain.  In addition to be tasty and popular, they are filling.  The Defibrillator burger was featured on the TV show Man vs Food...'nuff said.

There are lots of other well-known burgers in Durham.  Any such discussion omitting Wimpy's and OnlyBurger would be incomplete...and there are certainly more too numerous to list here.  With that though, congratulations go to Bull City Burger and Brewery and Dain's Place for the attention they received.

Now go get a Durham.

Farm Tour and Sustainable Agriculture Conference This Weekend

The Eastern Triangle Farm Tour is this weekend.  For readers not "in the know" this is the 6th annual tour which, despite the name, features several farms in Durham.

The tour, a ticketed event organized by Carolina Farm Stewards, is an opportunity to visit farms in Durham and the region who open up to showcase how they do what they do.  Farm products are typically for sale, as well. 

The tour occurs on Saturday and Sunday from 1 to 5 PM with 25 farms on the self-guided available.  Tour goers should be aware that three or four locations is likely the maximum that can be visited given the time window but that many of these farms are on the tour annually so the opportunity is not lost if missed this year.  Tickets are available at area Whole Foods stores and online.

The corresponding Sustainable Agriculture Conference is expected to have about 1200 attendees from North Carolina and South Carolina and will be held at the Sheraton Imperial in Durham from November 11-13th.

Those touring should bring a jacket this year.  The temperature is supposed to drop like a bomb this weekend and be chilly and fall-like...just about perfect for visiting farms.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Durham Bulls Release 2012 Schedule

The Durham Bulls today announced the release of their 2012 schedule. For the first time since 2009 the Bulls will begin their season at home on Thursday, April 5th against division-rival Gwinnett Braves at 7:05 PM.

Capping the 2012 season is the Triple-A National Championship game to be held at the Durham Bulls Athletic Park on Tuesday, September 18th at 7:05 PM. It will mark the first time in almost 30 years the Triple-A Championship will be held east of the Mississippi River.

“Even though this past week we fell a little short of our expectations for this season we are really excited about the schedule and National Championship game next season,” Durham Bulls General Manager Mike Birling said, “It’s a great schedule for the fans which hopefully will feature a league-record sixth straight division title.”

The schedule has several favorable features, including:
  • A family-friendly, 64% of home dates in April on weekends
  • Both Pawtucket (Boston Red Sox) and Scranton Wilkes-Barre (New York Yankees) visit the DBAP with games on $1 Thursdays and Friday night fireworks.
  • A July 4th matchup with the Norfolk Tides
  • 11 of the final 16 games at home against divisional opponents.

The Bulls are currently taking registrations for 2012 season ticket information here. For more information, call the season ticket office at (919) 956-BULL.

Monday, September 12, 2011

2011 Triangle Corporate Battle of the Bands Projected to Be Biggest Yet

Nine corporate bands from across the Triangle will will rock out at the fifth Triangle Corporate Battle of the Bands on Saturday, September 24, 2011, starting at 7:30 PM. Hosted by McKinney, this year’s Battle boasts a record number of bands and sponsors, all benefiting North Carolina Arts in Action. Since the 2006 inaugural Battle, more than 20 bands have taken to the American Tobacco stage to fight for the championship and have raised more than $300,000 for local charities.

“We have quite a few superlatives this year,” said McKinney COO Joni Madison. “The most corporate bands entering the competition, the most CEO rockers in the competition, the most corporate sponsors, as well as the most VIP tables. It promises to be the biggest, baddest corporate event in the Triangle.”

The 2011 Triangle Corporate Battle of the Bands lineup includes the following:

MCKIM & CREEDCreed’s Cleanwater Revival
SMTAugmented Reality

North Carolina Arts in Action (NC AIA) is an organization designed to inspire children to develop discipline, self-confidence and a sense of achievement, reaching a high standard of excellence and love of the performing arts.

Along with band performances, the kids of NC AIA  will be performing a special routine. Other highlights of the evening include VIP table service from L’Uva, Tyler’s Taproom, Mellow Mushroom and Tobacco Road, raffle prizes and text-based voting to help determine the Battle winner.

The gold sponsors for this year’s Battle are American Tobacco, 8 Rivers Capital, The Herald Sun, Capitol Broadcasting Company and McKinney.

VIP tables are still available. For information on tickets and student prices, visit

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

KaBOOM! Names Durham Among 151 “Playful City USA” Communities

For the third year in a row, Durham Parks and Recreation (DPR) has been recognized by KaBOOM! as a Playful City USA for its efforts to increase play opportunities for children.

The City of Durham was selected because of its outstanding dedication to play and its joint-use agreement with Durham Public Schools to enable public access to additional play spaces. The Board of Education and City Council adopted the agreement, which will go into effect this fall.  

“We are excited about receiving this designation again this year,” said Rhonda Parker, director of DPR. “Not only does it mean that we are doing a great job providing opportunities for our youth to play, but it makes us eligible to receive funding for outdoor recreation.”

Elsewhere in North Carolina, Albemarle, Creedmoor, Greenville, Hickory, and Mount Holly were also selected as Playful City USA communities.

The 151 Playful City USA communities are now eligible for grants via Let’s Play - a community partnership led by the Dr. Pepper Snapple Group to get kids active nationwide. The first Let’s Play initiative is a $15 million, three-year commitment to KaBOOM!. Together, through Let’s Play, Dr. Pepper Snapple Group and KaBOOM! will build or fix up 2,000 playgrounds by the end of 2013, benefiting an estimated five million children across North America.

Recipients of 2011 Let’s Play grants via the Playful City USA program will be announced on Monday, Sept. 19. A total of 103 grants worth $2.1 million are available to Playful City USA recognized cities and towns between 2011-13. Grants range in values of $30,000, $20,000 and $15,000. The $30,000 and $15,000 grants are available for projects relating to joint-use agreements and the $20,000 grants will be awarded to cities using the community playground build process. Cities also are eligible to receive multiple grants during the three-year period. Dr. Pepper Snapple Group, a member of the leadership circle within the KaBOOM! National Partner Program, is providing the funding for the grants. 

Friday, September 2, 2011

Fresh From Durham's Favorite Farmers' Market

Durham Farmers' Market wishes to thank the community for voting in the America's Favorite Farmers' Market Contest. The Durham Farmers' Market came at #11 in the Large Market Category!  Placing in the top 20 is a huge honor. There are over 7000 farmers' markets in the US - what an amazing demonstration of support and appreciation from the community. Click here to see the final standings in the contest.

Chef in the Market: Saturday September 3rd, 10am on the lawn
Zach Faulisi of Bull City Burger and Brewery  

Chef Zach Faulisi will be doing quick pickling demonstrations.  There will be pickles to taste as well as some beer to sample. Bull City Burger and Brewery is a locally owned and independent farm-to-fork restaurant located on Parrish Street.  BCBB works closely with local farmers to source  pasture raised, hormone free beef as well as vegetables including tomatoes, lettuce and cucumbers for their pickles.  Oh, yes and they brew their own beer as well.  BCBB is a great addition to the wonderful, local restaurants in Durham. 

Fresh this Week
Fruit: Grapes, Apples, Pears, Figs,Table Grapes, Watermelon, Cantelope,  Peaches 
Vegetables:   Greens, Arugula, Beans, Longbeans, Beets, Butterbeans, Carrots, Cherry Tomatoes, Corn, Collards,  Cucumbers,  Dandelion Greens, Edamame, Eggplant, Garlic,  Herbs,  Kale, Lambs Quarter,  Lettuce,  Okra, Onions, Pea Shoots, Peppers, Potatoes, Purple Hull Peas, Pumpkins, Salad Mix, Shiitake Mushrooms, Swiss Chard,  Summer Squash,  Tomatillos, Tomatoes, Winter Squash, Zucchini
Flowers:   Asiatic Lillies, Campanula, Dahlia, Gomphrena, Gladiolus, Lisianthus, Snap Dragon, Sunflowers, Tuber Rose, Zinnia
Meats: Beef, Bison, Chicken, Duck, Goat/Chevon, Lamb, Pork
And: Honey, Chicken and Duck Eggs, Flour, Yellow & White Cornmeal, Grits, Pecans, Wines, Fresh and Aged Goats and Cows Milk Cheeses, Baked Goods, Pasta, Beer, Wine, Jams, Jellies, Pickles, Preserves, Wool, Landscaping Plants
Crafts: Hand-dyed Clothes, Jewelery, Baskets, Pottery, Stained Glass Art, Woodwork, Photographs, Soaps and much more.