Thursday, May 31, 2012

Hillandale Golf Course Closes for Renovations

Golfers in Durham are fortunate to have great options to get out for a round.  The weather typically permits play all year long. While some of Durham's best known courses are private, seven are public.

Hillandale Golf Course is the oldest course in Durham and is built on land donated by John Sprunt Hill in 1911 - one of Durham's captains of industry and a notable philanthropist. Now, over 100 years later, the course is under new ownership by the City and management by Karl and Donna Kimball.

And it's getting renovated.  Big time.

The 18 hole course and putting green are being redone with new and improved putting surfaces, and updated features like new and improved signage on the course. There will be new carts for rent, too.  The pro shop has already undergone a makeover and is still open for those needing clubs, accessories and more, and it now has a golf library for those interested in learning more about technique or history.

According to Karl Kimball, clinics are still running through the summer, the driving range is still open for those needing to work on their swing, and now there's an improved dining option for those looking for a place to grab a bite while looking out over a little slice of natural beauty that is just  minutes from Downtown Durham.

The total cost of the work is right at $500,000.  It's a big gamble for the Kimball's and their company, Amerazil Golf.  They have a five year contract with the City to manage the course.

Kimball, a retired PGA Tour golfer with a long list of professional accomplishments said, "We had to make these changes.  The course needed them, and if we want to be competitive we have to understand that our golfers deserved so much more from the course.  From start to finish, this is going to be a transformation of the Hillandale experience."

The Kimball's are people people.  "A visit to a golf course is no different than anything else.  Customers deserve to have an experience that recognizes that they are valued and appreciated.  They will get that at Hillandale now, like they have never gotten it before," added Donna Kimball who is handling much of the administration at the course.

Despite all these expenses and enhancements, the maximum cost of a round with a cart will likely not exceed $42.  "We think we're making the course worth what people have been asked to pay all along.  A round of golf is entertainment, it shouldn't be limited to those with deep pockets," Karl added.

The Kimball's bring much more to Hillandale than traditional golf.  Recognizing that people in this world have different skills and abilities, they strive to bring the game to everyone through Adaptive golf which is a program that bridges the gaps between the existing ability of the player and the game in its traditional form.  Additionally, the course has the H.E.A.R.T.S. Club which is a partnership with the Duke Children's Hospital Pediatric and Bone Marrow Transplant unit.  According to Karl, the program exists to help families, children and parents alike, have an easier path through the struggles of fighting a monumental battle.  The program name is derived from: Hillandale Embracing A Really Tough Situation.  "We can't imagine not doing something like this," Donna added.

To help people, avid golfers and those in Durham who will be interested in what is happening to a landmark in their place, stay in touch with the renovation process, the Kimball's have taken to social media.  Using both Facebook and Twitter, fans will be able to get updates from the renovation mascot, Sprig.  "In essence, we've got a massive lawn that we're regrowing.  Grass grows in sprigs - it made sense to us," Karl said of the personification of the course.  Sprig will update social media accounts often and will mark milestones, show fans behind the scenes of the work being done, and share and build excitement about the end product of the work currently underway.

Hillandale is currently open at the pro shop, driving range and for clinics.  Learn more about golf in Durham here.

Friday, May 25, 2012

A Berry Good Time for Durham Farmers' Market

This week at Durham Farmers' Market there are even more berries to choose from - red raspberries, loganberries and dewberries! All three are closely related in the Rubus genus, yet all are a little bit different. Red Raspberries, besides being delicious, are high in Vitamin C and Antioxidants.  Loganberries look similar to Raspberries in color, however their shape more closely resembles that of a blackberry. Raspberries have a hollow center while loganberries and blackberries do not.  Loganberries are a raspberry and blackberry hybrid.

Dewberries are very similar to a blackberry. They have the same purple/black color but the dewberry fruit are slightly smaller than a blackberry. They are, in fact,  a type of wild blackberry. While it may be difficult to telling the difference in flavors, farmers say the berries grow a little differently than a standard blackberry bush. Now that red raspberries, loganberries and dewberries are back at Market, it won't be too long before we start to see blackberries and black raspberries. Snozzberries start later in the season.

For those planning to grill this Memorial Day Weekend, the Market's farmers will have an abundant supply of grill-able meats and vegetables. Look for lots of sausages - from spicy to mild, steaks, roasts, and more. There will be lots of pasture raised, antibiotic and hormone free beef, pork, bison, lamb, goat and chicken for your grilling pleasure. In the vegetable department shoppers will find lots of squash and zucchini, shiitakes, peaches, tomatoes, onions and the last few bunches of asparagus - all are great on the grill.

Chef in the Market: Chef Andres Macias from  Tonali Restaurant! Chef Andres will join the Market for his first Chef in the Market demo! Chef Andres Macias will be preparing corn tortillas served with cactus paddle salad, crumbled Elodie Farms queso blanco and fresh salsa. Begins at 10am on the Central lawn.

Vegetables: Green beans, Cherry Tomatoes, Asparagus, Asian Greens (Pac Choi, Tatsoi, Mizuna),  Arugula, Beets, Broccoli, Broccoli Raab, Cabbage, Cauliflower, Celery, Chinese Broccoli, Chinese Cabbage, Collards, Cucumbers, Daikon Radishes, Dandelion Greens, Escarole, Fava Beans, Fennel, Frisee, Fresh Herbs (Cilantro, Mint, Rosemary, Oregano, Thyme, Parsley) Green Onions, Green Garlic, Garlic Scapes, Gourds, Mustard Greens, Kale, Lettuce, Leeks, New Potatoes, Onions, Pea Shoots, Peas, Radicchio, Rhubarb, Radishes, Rutabega, Salad Mix, Shiitake Mushrooms, Sweet Potatoes, Spinach, Sugar Snap Peas, Snow Peas, Swiss Chard, Summer Squash Greenhouse Grown Tomatoes, Turnips, Turnip Greens, Zucchini
Fruits:  Red Raspberries, Logan Berries, Dewberries, Blueberries, last few Strawberries, and peaches
Meats and Eggs: Beef, Bison, Cornish Game Hens, Chicken, Duck, Goat/Chevon, Lamb, Pork, Duck Eggs & Chicken Eggs
Cheeses: Fresh and aged cow and goats milk cheeses.
Flowers and Plants:  Calla Lilys, Asiatic Lilies, Peonies,  Dutch Iris, Snapdragons, Larkspur, Batchelor's Buttons, Mixed Bouquets, Vegetable & Herb Seedlings, Landscaping Plants, House Plants
Specialty items: Honey, Pecans,  Flour, Cornmeal, Grits, Baked Goods including Pies, Breads, Cookies, Pastries, Gluten Free Items, etc; Pasta, Beer, Wine, Jams, Jellies, Pickles, Preserves, Wool
Crafts: Pottery, Jewelry, Stained Glass Art, Handmade Baskets, Gourd Birdhouses, Woodwork, Photographs, Hand-dyed Clothing and other items, Handmade Clothing, Soaps, Yarn, Roving, and much more...

Complicated Issue Sheds Light on Durham

North Carolina recently joined 30 other states in passing an amendment to its state constitution that brought it national attention.  So called Amendment One limited the scope of what will be legally recognized as a marriage in North Carolina.  To put it lightly, the vote and all the activity leading up to it were nothing in comparison to the aftermath - the blow-back against NC has been swift, consistent, and harsh.

Durham, however, has shined a bit more brightly in the ensuing days.  An article by gay travel writer Troy Petenbrink ran on The Edge network of websites nationwide, Metro Weekly in Washington DC, and on that used Durham as an example of places that were not defined by their surrounding areas.  Yes, NC as a whole approved Amendment One, but Durham overwhelmingly rebuked it with 70% of votes cast here against the measure.  In contrast, the overall vote was 61% in favor with the bulk of NC's rural counties in support and, predictably, the more metropolitan locales voting to defeat.

Petenbrink's article showcases Durham as the open and accepting place that it is within a larger destination that is no less beautiful, but now being challenged as a visitor destination by negative sentiment.  As Petenbrink suggests, visitors should not judge cities by the states where they are located.

"It's complicated," says Sam Poley, Director of Marketing and Communications for the Durham Convention & Visitors Bureau.  "Durham enjoys a lot of the attractiveness and charm bestowed by the fact that we are in the heart of a beautiful state, but socially, Durham really is rather different than anywhere else in NC," he added.

Durham is arguably one of the most diverse places in the US with no racial majority, representation from nearly all points on the socioeconomic spectrum and, as a result of its two universities, five hospitals, and the Research Triangle Park, residents from more than 100 countries calling the place home.

Durham has a wealth of things that make it an attractive visitor destination for everyone.  It is home to a vibrant arts and music community with one of the nation's busiest theaters, incredible sports including a world-renowned baseball team, internationally recognized and acclaimed food, both metropolitan and nature amenities, and more.

DCVB President and CEO Shelly Green stated, "Not surprising, immediately after the vote, quite a few potential visitors to the state threatened a boycott of North Carolina because of the result of the election.  This is why in the immediate aftermath, DCVB stepped forward and publicly encouraged travelers to make decisions about North Carolina based on the natural scenic beauty, dynamic cities and cultural amenities of North Carolina, and not on the divided political views of its population."

Information about visiting Durham is available on the web.

Bull City Buck$ Scan-venger Hunt This Holiday Weekend

Some quick fun over the holiday weekend in on tap in Durham. Residents and visitors alike can participate.

Bull City Buck$, the consumer loyalty program in Durham that works by users scanning QR codes with their smart phones to earn Buck$ that can be redeemed for prizes, is running a program this holiday weekend akin to a scavenger hunt wherein participants have to find the codes to scan based on the clues.  It's a short hunt, it'll get folks out and about in Durham, and it's a family friendly good time.

Clue number one is below:




Durham's Self-Image

Click for larger image
A few weeks ago, DCVB released some information from its Annual Image Survey, specifically how Durham's image has improved in the minds of residents of Wake and Orange Counties.

But you may wonder what Durham's image is in the minds of its own residents.

Durham residents have always been overwhelmingly pleased and proud of their community, but the results this year are at an all-time high. Just over 90% of residents in a scientific public opinion poll stated the were pleased with Durham as a place to live.  

The ratio between those who are pleased that those who are not pleased is 12 to 1.

Click for larger image

Looking at resident pride in Durham, 92.6% of Durham residents are proud of Durham and only 4.1% of residents are not proud of Durham.

This is another historic high, but resident pride has been high since the inception of this survey in 1993 when 71% of residents said they were proud of Durham compared to 12% who weren't proud.  

The ratio between residents who are proud of Durham and those who are not proud is a whopping 22 to 1.

This suggests that pride in community is not tied to any specific event or building.  In fact, pride is one of the distinct brand attributes that Durhamites have.

In the next image article, DCVB will highlight the areas that residents would like to see improved.

See also: Durham's Image Remains Strong

Call for Art Submissions to Support Independent Animal Rescue

In the past week Durham earned national attention as the second best place to be a pet in U.S. News & World Report's list of the 10 Best Cities to Be a Pet. Based on the amount of money spent on pets each month, the ranking reveals just how important pets are to people in this community. The Independent Animal Rescue plays a significant role in Durham's pet community and they are looking for help.

Independent Animal Rescue (IAR), an all-volunteer, nonprofit animal rescue and rehabilitation program based in Durham, is currently organizing its 10th Annual Painted Chair and More Auction Saturday, July 28 at Eno River Unitarian Universalist Fellowship in Durham.  This major fundraiser benefits IAR’s mission to rescue and provide care for homeless, abandoned, and abused dogs and cats throughout the Triangle and features a live auction of fine art and a silent auction of art, prints and other items, food, music and fun.

Call for Art Submissions (Live Auction)
Accepted media are original oils, watercolors, acrylics, pastels, prints, mixed media and fine crafts. Also desirable is 3D art such as hand painted furniture (chair, dressers, chests, stools etc.) indoor and outdoor sculpture, fiber art and quilts and jewelry. Not accepted are copies or computer-generated prints. Art may reflect a theme of dogs or cats, but is not required. 2D entries must be framed and ready to hang or with hardware attached to a canvas frame to allow for suspension.

Deadline for Submission is Friday, June 22, 2012
Live Auction submission forms available on the IAR homepage.

Submissions must include a completed application, digital photo of the entry and a short artist bio.  Artists will be contacted to confirm their entry; accepted work will be displayed prior to the event on IAR’s website.

All sales proceeds from the auction will be 100% directed to support the programs and mission of IAR. All art donations are tax-deductible and greatly appreciated.

Also Seeking Silent Auction Items
IAR is also accepting donations of gift certificates, animal-related items, jewelry and the like for its accompanying silent auction. Contact to donate silent auction items.

An Assist from Sprite Helps Elmira Avenue Park Get Back in the Game

Durhamites are notoriously proud of their place, and fierce defenders of its assets. Now through May 31st, they can put their pride into action. Local residents can help transform a well-used neighborhood basketball court in Durham into a refreshed play space where teens can showcase their athletic abilities.

This spring, through the Sprite Spark Parks Project, Sprite and the National Recreation & Park Association (NRPA) are giving people an opportunity to get their local courts back in the game. The basketball court at Elimira Avenue Park (540 Elmira Avenue) in Durham has been selected as one of 25 courts nationwide to be refreshed through the program, and local residents can show their support and raise funds by voting online.

With the help of the NRPA, a national not-for-profit organization dedicated to advancing park, recreation and conservation efforts that enhance quality of life for all people, Sprite identified Elmira Avenue Park as one of 25 parks to receive a grant designated to revamp basketball courts. Each of the selected courts, which are located in public parks throughout the nation, will receive funding based on the number of votes they earn through May 31st.

Visitors can vote for Elmira Avenue Park by submitting the My Coke Rewards codes found on Sprite and Sprite Zero Fridge Pack™, 20-pack, 24-pack, 20 oz. and 2-liter products. Sprite will donate $275,000 to be distributed among the 25 parks in grants ranging from $5,000 to $15,000. The funds will be used to refurbish rims, backboards, lights, benches and playing surfaces – sparking new life to these courts.

“We are excited that Sprite identified Elmira Avenue Park as one of the 25 parks to receive a grant to enhance its basketball courts,” said Rhonda B. Parker, director of Durham Parks and Recreation. “We are always looking to provide opportunities for our community to Play More with DPR!”

Durham High School Student's Artwork to Hang in U.S. Capitol

In a community known for its creative class is it any surprise that that talent pool extends to Durham's school system? For the next year, one Durham high school student's artwork will represent the Bull City in our nation's Capitol.

Rep. David Price with Brandon James
Brandon James, a student at Durham's Southern High School, was selected as the winner of the Congressional High School Art Competition. His first place winning artwork will hang with artwork from around the country in the U.S. Capitol.

The Congressional High School Art Competition is an annual competition organized by representatives of the Congressional Districts, and is open to paintings, drawings, photographs and prints. Each representative brings a winning entry back to Washington, D.C. to be displayed in the corridor of the U.S. Capital.

This competition is coordinated locally through Fourth District U.S. Representative David Price's office, with support from the Durham Arts Council, the Orange County Arts Commission, and the United Arts Council of Wake County and Raleigh. 57 fantastic works of art were submitted by 44 students from Orange, Durham, Wake, and Chatham counties.

Brandon James was announced as the winner by Congressman David Price at an awards reception held at the Durham Arts Council. Students, their families, teachers, school representatives, and Dr. Becoats, Durham County School Superintendent, were all in attendance.

All student participants received gifts and a savings bond. As the overall winner, Brandon James will flown to an opening reception in Washington, D.C.

Surely Brandon James, his art teacher and Southern High School feel proud for helping make Durham a place where great art happens.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Honey at Durham Farmers' Market is the Bee's Knees

Honey is back at Durham Farmers' Market! Two honey producers have reported that their hives are filled with honey and harvesting has begun! Like many other crops this season, the season's first honey is coming to Market almost 2 weeks early on account of the mild winter and spring.

Honey is made from the nectar from flowers that honeybees collect. When bees visit flowers, they use their long, tubelike tongues to draw out the nectar which is then stored in their "honey stomachs." Bees, incidentally, have two stomachs. To fill their honey stomachs, bees must visit hundreds of flowers. The by-product of this nectar collection is pollination as pollen grains get stuck to the bees legs as they move from flower to flower.

Once the bees fill their honey stomachs, they return to the hive and deposit the nectar they have collected. Worker bees then go into action and chew on the nectar. During this time, they release enzymes which break down the complex sugars into more digestible simple sugars. Once that process is finished, the bees spread the honey throughout the hive and fan their wings to help evaporate the moisture and make it into the thick consistency that we are familiar with. 

Honey is a pretty amazing product. It is sterile and has anti-bacterial properties. Honey can be administered to a cut to help avoid infections. People even use honey as a gentle facewash!  Because bacteria does not grow in honey, it can last for a long, long time. Beekeeper John Fluke remarked the other day that honey found in tombs in Egypt was still good 2000 years later! 

Starting this weekend, look for raw, unprocessed honey at the Market!  The resident beekeepers should have it available until their stock runs out - typically around the beginning of December.

Vegetables:  Sungold Cherry Tomatoes, Celery, Asparagus, Asian Greens (Pac Choi, Tatsoi, Mizuna), Artichokes, Arugula, Beets, Broccoli, Broccoli Raab, Cabbage, Cauliflower, Chinese Broccoli, Chinese Cabbage, Collards, Greenhouse Grown Cucumbers, Daikon Radishes, Dandelion Greens, Escarole, Fava Beans, Fennel, Frisee, Fresh Herbs (Cilantro, Mint, Rosemary, Oregano, Thyme, Parsley) Green Onions, Green Garlic, Garlic Scapes, Greenhouse Grown Green Beans, Gourds, Mustard Greens, Kale, Lettuce, Leeks, New Potatoes, Onions, Radicchio, Rhubarb, Radishes, Rutabega, Salad Mix, Shiitake Mushrooms, Sweet Potatoes, Spinach, Sugar Snap Peas,  Swiss Chard, Summer Squash Greenhouse Grown Tomatoes, Turnips, Turnip Greens, Zucchini
Fruits: Blueberries, Peaches and Strawberries
Meats and Eggs: Beef, Bison, Cornish Game Hens, Chicken, Duck, Goat/Chevon, Lamb, Pork, Duck Eggs & Chicken Eggs Cheeses: Fresh and aged cow and goats milk cheeses.
Flowers & Plants:  Calla Lilys, Asiatic Lilies, Peonies,  Dutch Iris, Snapdragons, Larkspur, Batchelor's Buttons, Mixed Bouquets, Vegetable & Herb Seedlings, Landscaping Plants, House Plants
Specialty Items: Raw Honey, Pecans,  Flour, Cornmeal, Grits, Baked Goods including Pies, Breads, Cookies, Pastries, Gluten Free Items, etc; Pasta, Beer, Wine, Jams, Jellies, Pickles, Preserves, Wool
Crafts: Pottery, Jewelry, Stained Glass Art, Handmade Baskets, Gourd Birdhouses, Woodwork, Photographs, Hand-dyed Clothing and other items, Handmade Clothing, Soaps, Yarn, Roving, and much more...

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Durham County Library Hosts Program on Local Artisan Bakers

Durham is home to learning opportunities available to people from all walks and stages of life.  Coming up in a few weeks is a great opportunity to combine a love of learning for a lifetime with another of Durham's great ingredients, food and those artisans who prepare it.

Long-time baker, Frank Ferrell of Ninth Street Bakery, will moderate a panel of Durham’s artisan bakers on Sunday, June 3 at 3 p.m. at the Main Library. Many different paths have led these food experts to Durham to bake professionally, and the region has become famous for their talents. According to Bon Appétit Magazine, the Durham-Chapel Hill area is ranked as “America's Foodiest Small Town,” citing partnerships between award-winning local restaurants, growers and organic farmers that have resulted in a thriving culture of eclectic cuisine.

Artisan bakers are credited with using local organic ingredients and traditional baking methods. As farmers’ markets have experienced great growth in Durham and the surrounding areas, the number of specialty bakeries has increased as well. The program features panelists from some of these well-known local patisseries including: Anna Branley of The Cupcake Bar, a custom order bakery featuring classic cupcakes and those inspired by favorite cocktails and other flavors; Claudia Kemmet-Cooper of Guglhupf, a European inspired café with a southern German twist; Kevin Farmer of Rue Cler, a Parisian style neighborhood restaurant serving downtown Durham since 2006; Phoebe Lawless of Scratch, one of Travel & Leisure magazine’s picks for “where to go for America’s top pies”; Durham resident Rob Nichols of Weaver Street Market, a community-owned cooperative grocery store, committed to supporting local farmers and small producers; and Ronald Graff of Loaf, a long-time presence at the Durham Farmers’ Market, now operating a bakery in downtown Durham.

Participants will learn how these bakers got started and what they love about the business. The panel will be followed by a Q&A session. This program is sponsored in large part by Durham Library Foundation. For more information contact Joanne Abel at 919-560-0268.

Durham County Library provides the entire community with books, services and other resources that inform, inspire learning, cultivate understanding and excite the imagination. For more information, visit your local library or visit online.

Program:       Artisan Bakers of Durham
Date:             Sunday, June 3
Time:             3 p.m.
Location:       Main Library, 300 N. Roxboro St.
Cost:              Free and open to the public

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Bella Bean Organics Purchased by Coon Rock Farm

Durham has the good fortune to be something of a food mecca in the US.  There are dozens of chef's and restaurants that have received recognition nationally and internationally who work at fine dining properties and food trucks alike.  The connection to great product and educated consumer is strong.  Perhaps such a state of affairs is foreshadowing for a business deal that was signed today.

Farmers and food entrepreneurs Richard Holcomb and Jamie DeMent, announced that they have purchased Durham company Bella Bean Organics. Holcomb and DeMent are part of the founding team behind other successful area food businesses including Coon Rock Farm in Hillsborough, Zely & Ritz Restaurant in Raleigh and Piedmont Restaurant in Durham.  Some may remember the duo from the media flurry surrounding Eno, the restaurant they hoped to open at Rogers Alley in the old fire station opposite Dos Perros along Mangum Street.

Bella Bean Organics, founded in Durham by Sara Houghton, is an online farmer’s market and home delivery service specializing in locally grown, sustainable and organic produce, meats, eggs and artisan specialty foods.

“Purchasing Bella Bean was a natural step for us. Bella Bean has been carrying our produce, meats, and eggs for over three years so we know them well and the fastest growing part of Coon Rock Farm’s business is our own recently introduced home delivery service. By purchasing Bella Bean we are able to take advantage of all the expertise they have developed in home delivery of food rather than reinvent the process on our own," Holcomb said.

He and DeMent plan to expand the geographic delivery footprint for Bella Bean and expand its product offerings. DeMent said, “As local sustainable farmers, we strive to grow as much as possible on the farm for ourselves and for our customers.  But we can’t grow everything, so many products like dairy, spices, fish, coffee, and grains we purchase from other local vendors.  We have invested years in finding sustainable sources that we trust and we plan to make these same trusted items available through Bella Bean so that health and food conscious consumers in the Triangle-area can have a complete selection of sustainable, organic food delivered fresh to their door.”

Looks like Durham might now say that it is where great things happen - right on their doorstep.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Most City of Durham Offices Closed for Memorial Day

 Most City of Durham offices will be closed Monday, May 28, 2012, in observance of Memorial Day. Emergency police, fire, and rescue services may be reached by calling 911. The City will operate under normal business hours on Tuesday, May 29. Residents are asked to take note of the following changes in other City services and programs.

Solid Waste, Recycling, Yard Waste, and Bulky Item Curbside Collections
The City’s Solid Waste Management Department will be closed on Monday, May 28. Collection for all services, including solid waste, recycling, yard waste, and bulky items, will be delayed by one business day for the entire week. Collections for yard waste and bulky items on Friday, June 1 will instead occur on Monday, June 4. More information.

Waste Disposal and Recycling Center
The City's Waste Disposal and Recycling Center (Transfer Station) will be closed on Monday, May 28. It will reopen under its normal schedule on Tuesday, May 29. More information.

Household Hazardous Waste Collection Center
The City's Household Hazardous Waste Collection Center is normally closed on Mondays. It will open under its normal schedule on Tuesday, May 29. More information.

Durham Parks and Recreation

Durham Parks and Recreation (DPR) will close its administrative office, all recreation centers, and all neighborhood centers on Monday, May 28. DPR’s recreation centers will operate under normal schedules on Saturday, May 26, but will be closed Sunday, May 27. City lakes will be open regular hours Friday through Monday. The administrative office will reopen under its normal schedule on Tuesday, May 29. For more information, visit Durham Parks and Recreation's website or “like” DPR on Facebook.

Durham Area Transit Authority
On Monday, May 28, Durham Area Transit Authority (DATA) and DATA ACCESS will operate on its Sunday/holiday schedule in which hourly service is provided from 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. The Bull City Connector will operate on its Saturday schedule in which service is provided every 20 minutes from 6:27 a.m. to midnight. DATA’s administration office will be closed on Monday, May 28 and will reopen under its normal schedule on Tuesday, May 29. For more information on DATA and DATA ACCESS, visit DATA's website or call (919) 485-RIDE. For more information on the Bull City Connector, visit the Bull City Connector's website, “like” the Bull City Connector on Facebook, or “follow” the Bull City Connector on Twitter. 

Durham One Call
Durham One Call will be closed on Monday, May 30. However, residents may complete an online service request by visiting the City’s website at, or by leaving a message at (919) 560-1200. Durham One Call will forward all requests for City services to the appropriate department the next business day. For information about the City’s holiday schedule and other services that may be affected, residents should contact Durham One Call at (919) 560-1200 between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m. Monday through Friday, or visit the website.

2009 World Series MVP Plays for Durham Bulls

So not only are the Durham Bulls the most famous Triple A baseball team in the world and the subject of the most famous sports movie of all time, Bull Durham, but now they have the 2009 World Series MVP playing for them?

Yes.  Yes they do.

And where a titan roams, so does his competition.  In other words, there is some epic baseball at the Durham Bulls Athletic Park to be had by fans.  Read on.  Go.  Chances like this don't stroll across home plate often.

The Bulls report that the Boston Red Sox have confirmed that pitcher Daisuke Matsuzaka is scheduled to start for their Pawtucket affiliate on Thursday, May 17th at the DBAP.  “Dice-K” is slated to face off against countryman Hideki Matsui, who is scheduled to make his debut for the Bulls tonight.  Fans are encouraged to purchase tickets in advance for the 7:05pm game, as a capacity crowd is expected.

The 31 year old Matsuzaka has made four Minor League rehab starts since undergoing Tommy John surgery in June of last year.   In his last start with Triple-A Pawtucket, the Tokyo native allowed five runs on seven hits in 5 1/3 innings.  Matsuzaka owns a 49-30 career Major League record with a 4.25 ERA.  He was part of the 2007 World Champion Boston Red Sox, where he helped the team sweep the Colorado Rockies in four games, earning the victory in game three.  

Hideki Matsui is scheduled to arrive in Durham today and, barring setbacks, make his Bulls debut in tonight’s series opener against the PawSox.  Matsui owns a .214 (3-14) lifetime ML average against Matsuzaka, with 2 RBI, 0 HR, a .421 OBP and 1 strikeout.

Tickets for all Bulls regular season home games and the 2012 Gildan Triple-A National Championship Game are available online, by phone at 919.956.BULL or in person at the DBAP ticket office.

Monday, May 14, 2012

DPAC Showcases Deeper Connections to Durham

This is a different kind of story about DPAC - The Durham Performing Arts Center.  Although DPAC is undeniably known for its incredible programming diversity, the biggest theater shows in the world and unmatched customer service, that’s not the particular focus of this article.  This is a story about some of the artists who have graced the stage of DPAC and their connections to Durham as a place.

When Harry Connick took the stage at DPAC - Durham Performing Arts Center on February, 16, 2010, he was hoarse from lack of sleep and Mardi Gras/Super Bowl victory revelry. He said he hadn't slept but was excited to be in Durham.  He was performing for an adoring crowd that included a long-time friend of his who took the stage to play along.  The night was special for both Connick and a man with whom he grew up, Branford Marsalis.  Marsalis lives in Durham.

Before the band's August 4th, 2011 show, Steely Dan vocalist Donald Fagan was perusing letters and packages left at the theater for him by fans.  Among them was a simple card accompanying some photographs of the sign on the front of the Liggett & Myers building at Main and North Duke Streets that pays tribute to those who made and smoked Chesterfield cigarettes, a brand Fagan famously immortalized on his solo album, The Nightfly.  The card thanked him for visiting and offered, "Bet you didn't know that Lester the Nightfly's smokes were made here in Durham, NC."

When she takes DPAC's stage in July and August, Christie Brinkley will perform in Chicago for thousands of fans.  One of them will be more responsible for her performance than any other.


As the rotors of two plexiglass-bubbled Siloy choppers beat their concussive rhythm above the mountains of Telluride, Colorado on April 1, 1994, international supermodel Christie Brinkley lay dazed and bleeding in the snow.  It was late morning and the chopper from which she and friends had been heli-skiing had crashed.  A storm was approaching and the unfortunate fact was that their chopper was also the one San Miguel County Search and Rescue used in the event of just such an emergency.  Fortunately, SMCSR was able to borrow two Siloys from a neighboring community to execute their mission.

Jimmy Rosen started his day at 3:45 AM that day responding to a 911 carbon monoxide poisoning call, during which the Telluride EMT Association (for whom he served) saved all affected.  At 7 AM, his team's pagers were taken by Assistant Chief of the Telluride Fire Department with the admonishment that they needed to go home to rest after such a call.

Rosen, however, was also a member of the San Miguel County Search & Rescue team.  April 1, 1994 would turn out to be extraordinarily long - "It was far and away the hairiest day of my life," he says recounting that he worked into the evening in the face of a storm that threatened the survival of all involved. Rosen was in the second chopper on the scene at Brinkley's crash site and was the first to attend to her.  She, and her friends, owe their lives to him and his SMCSR team mates.


At Bean Traders on Ninth Street in Durham, Rosen cuts the figure of a regular guy; he's a fit and trim early forties husband and father saddled with the challenges of balancing a personal life and the demands of an incredibly successful career in finance at Durham's Intersouth Partners. He is a Duke '91 graduate who had hopes of a future in medicine.  Clearly, things went another way, but not before saving some lives.

Rosen and his wife are season ticket holders at DPAC.  Watching Chicago show will be special beyond the fact that the facility is highly lauded for its excellence as a venue and the show is a great production, but because he is a bit responsible for Brinkley being there.


Durham is a place to which people from all corners of the globe have connections.  "DCVB is all about encouraging people to visit Durham, but when we have the opportunity to showcase great stories like these to local audiences, we love to do so," said Shelly Green, President and CEO of the Durham Convention & Visitors Bureau.  “Durham is lucky to have a world-class facility like DPAC; and stories like this make that connection to place even stronger.”

Opened in November, 2008, The Durham Performing Arts Center has 2,700 seats and the largest stage between Washington, DC and Atlanta, GA. The theater is routinely ranked by industry trade magazine Pollstar as one of the ten busiest in the United States.

For tickets to Chicago starring Christie Brinkley, or other upcoming shows at DPAC, go to tickets page of their website.  Check out the Durham Event Calendar for information about all events in Durham.

Wicked Back By Popular Demand

Back by popular demand, Wicked is mid-way through its second month long run at Durham Performing Arts Center in as many years. Seats are going fast in the 80,000 capacity theater so be sure to get your tickets as soon as possible. There are both evening and weekend matinee performances of the show; group rates are available.

When Wicked first played DPAC in 2010 it broke box office records and sold out in record time. The winner of 35 major awards, including a Grammy and three Tony Awards, WICKED is Broadway’s biggest blockbuster, a cultural phenomenon and was just named “the defining musical of the decade" by The New York Times.

Dates that still have available tickets are May 15, May 16, May 17, May 20 (EVE), May 22, May 23, May 24, May 25, May 27 (MAT) and May 27 (EVE).

Don't miss out on this opportunity to see Wicked right here in the Bull City. For tickets and additional information, visit DPAC's website.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Burger Ink?

Lovers of food, art and creativity find a ready home in Durham.  It is a community packed with people seeking, and finding, a life rich with intent and authenticity.  Those values are expressed in a host of ways, the latest being a real testament to what it means to be a fan of something.

Bull City Burger and Brewery came on the Durham scene last year with a bang.  Quickly amassing a large following of loyal customers and social media users, the restaurant's owner and culinary director, Seth Gross, has been tireless in his pursuit of interesting and creative ways to get people involved with his restaurant.  Now he thinks, to play on a familiar phrase, the truly loyal should put his money where their bodies are.

Bull City Burger and Brewery has teamed up with Durham’s Dogstar Tattoo Company and Kathryn Moore to provide three options of approved original tattoo art work. Moore created three tattoos just for BCBB and the restaurant's most loyal customers. Gross thinks that a permanent work of art deserves a real deal. "This may be the first tattoo that pays for itself," he said.

The deal is rather simple.  Those who get an approved permanent tattoo anywhere on their body (subject to verification) will get a twenty-six percent discount on food for life - the law precludes the inclusion of alcohol in the discount. Those interested in getting a tattoo other than the ones created by Moore are welcome to submit art ideas using BCBB's logo and name. "If we approve your tattoo idea, after you get inked you can come in to show off your new “tat” and you earn 26% off for life," Gross said.  Complete information about this program can be found on the website created for the program.

Bull City Burger is a restaurant and brewery that embodies the farm-to-fork philosophy. “If it’son the menu at Bull City Burger and Brewery, we most likely have made it from scratch or bought it locally,” said Gross. “We grind the beef daily, make the buns, make the mustard, the mayo, make the bacon, pickle the pickles and " he added. Gross works with local farmers to source as much of the produce as possible for the restaurant.

Bike to Work Week: Get Out and Ride!

As part of the ongoing National Bike Month, Durham commuters are encouraged to participate in Bike to Work Week which runs from May 14-18. Durham is a great place to explore bike commuting as the City of Durham was recently recognized as a Bicycle Friendly Business and Duke University was named a Bicycle Friendly University.

If you plan to attempt a new commute, be sure to plan your route. The Durham Bike & Hike Map proves a valuable resource for bike commuters and recreational bikers alike. The first side of the map details rural and county routes, while the back side details the most bike friendly in-town routes as well as important safety tips.

The following events will run throughout Bike Week:

Events in Downtown Durham

•         Monday, May 14: Cyclist’s Social, 5 to 7 pm, Bull McCabe’s, 427 W. Main Street, in the Five Points area of historic downtown Durham Cyclists enjoy free food and giveaways. Free bike checks provided by Seven Stars Cycles mechanics. Sponsored by Durham BPAC.

•         Thursday, May 17: Mad Biker’s Breakfast, 7 to 9 am, Mad Hatter’s Café (corner of Main and Broad Streets). Food and drink courtesy of Mad Hatter’s. Free bike checks provided by Tip Top Cycles mechanics (  Sponsored by Durham BPAC.

•         Friday, May 18: Bike Commute Coffee Club, meets every Friday at 7:45 am at Loaf Bakery, 111 W. Parrish Street.

Events in Research Triangle Park

•         Tuesday May 15, 2012: Bike Month After-Hours Social, 5 to 7pm Serena, 5311 South Miami Blvd. Suite A. Cyclists enjoy free appetizers, drinks, and giveaways. Sponsored by SmartCommute@rtp

•         Friday May 18, 2012 Bike Month Breakfast and Social, 7 to 9 am, RTP Headquarters (12 Davis Dr.) Cyclists enjoya free continental breakfast and giveaways. Sponsored by SmartCommute@rtp


•         Sunday May 13:  Seven Stars Cycles Bloody Bike & Brunch, 10AM, an approximately 20 mile self-supported, no-drop, group ride with Seven Stars Cycles followed by MotorKoKyu Bloody Brunch. Starts and ends at Seven Stars Cycles in Downtown Durham.

•         Wednesday, May 16: Annual Ride of Silence. (Sponsored by M.S. Fits) This 5 mile police escorted ride will start and finish at the RTP Headquarters parking lot at 12 Davis Drive. Riders will gather beginning at 6pm and the ride leaves promptly at 7. Helmets required, lights encouraged.

•         Sunday May 20: Bull City Tipping Point Ride. Low mileage social ride held monthly.

Celebrate Graduation & Mother's Day With Durham Farmers' Market

At the Durham Farmers' Market Wednesday Market, there were THREE different fruits represented: strawberries, blueberries and peaches. Blueberries and peaches are making an early appearance this year on account of the mild winter and warm spring. Farmers often grow many different varieties of fruits and vegetables to extend their season as much as possible. The blueberries and peaches that will be at Market are specific varieties that are bred to come in very early in the season. Shoppers might notice that throughout the season, there are subtle shifts in the flavors, colors, and sizes of the fruits as the varieties change.

This is a big weekend in Durham! Not only is it Mother's Day, it is also graduation day for our two universities - NC Central and Duke. The appearance of blueberries and peaches has almost never coincided with these events. Add these items to your list of great things to get your momma and favorite graduate. As always, the Market will be full of great ideas and gifts for these folks - lots of lovely flowers and sweet things, cards, plants, ingredients for a delicious meal, and so much more. 

There are a couple of exciting things happening at the Market this weekend. The Market will do a Durham Farmers' Market Gift Certificate Giveaway Drawing in celebration of the weekend's events. Visit the Market Information table to enter your name or someone special's name into the drawing.  At the end of Market, 10 names will be chosen and each person will receive a $10 gift certificate.

Diane Daniel, author of Farm Fresh North Carolina will be doing a book signing during the Market.  Farm Fresh North Carolina is the country's first statewide farm-travel guidebook that includes lots of information about local farms as well as farms throughout the state. Diane's book will be on sale for $18 as a fundraiser for the Market. Tomorrow's Chef in the Market is Chef Katie Coleman, owner of Durham Spirits Company.  Katie will be cooking several dishes with super fresh seasonal ingredients at 10am on the Market lawn. There will be lots to taste and plenty of copies of her recipes.

Fresh this Week....
VEGETABLES:   FAVA BEANS, RADICCHIO, FENNEL, DAIKON RADISHES, Asparagus, Asian Greens (Pac Choi, Tatsoi, Mizuna), Artichokes, Arugula, Beets, Broccoli, Broccoli Raab, Cabbage, Cauliflower, Chinese Broccoli, Chinese Cabbage, Collards, Greenhouse Grown Cucumbers, Dandelion Greens, Escarole, Frisee, Fresh Herbs (Cilantro, Mint, Rosemary, Oregano, Thyme, Parsley) Green Onions, Green Garlic, Garlic Scapes, Greenhouse Grown Green Beans, Gourds, Mustard Greens, Kale, Lettuce, Leeks, New Potatoes, Onions, Rhubarb, Radishes, Rutabega, Salad Mix, Shiitake Mushrooms, Sweet Potatoes, Spinach, Sugar Snap Peas,  Swiss Chard, Summer Squash Greenhouse Grown Tomatoes, Turnips, Turnip Greens, Zucchini
MEATS AND EGGS: Beef, Bison, Cornish Game Hens, Chicken, Duck, Goat/Chevon, Lamb, Pork, Duck Eggs & Chicken Eggs CHEESES: Fresh and aged cow and goats milk cheeses.
FLOWERS & PLANTS:  Calla Lilys, Asiatic Lilies, Peonies,  Dutch Iris, Snapdragons, Larkspur, Batchelor's Buttons, Mixed Bouquets, Vegetable & Herb Seedlings, Landscaping Plants, House Plants
SPECIALTY ITEMS:  Pecans,  Flour, Cornmeal, Grits, Baked Goods including Pies, Breads, Cookies, Pastries, Gluten Free Items, etc; Pasta, Beer, Wine, Jams, Jellies, Pickles, Preserves, Wool
CRAFTS: Pottery, Jewelry, Stained Glass Art, Handmade Baskets, Gourd Birdhouses, Woodwork, Photographs, Hand-dyed Clothing and other items, Handmade Clothing, Soaps, Yarn, Roving, and much more...

Graduation Weekend in Durham To Bustle With Activity

Duke and North Carolina Central Universities are both holding graduation celebrations this weekend in Durham.  Invariably, the weekend is busy as evidenced by the occupancy rates at hotels and the scarcity of local restaurant reservations.

Duke will award more than 4,900 undergraduate, graduate and professional degrees during its annual commencement ceremony; NCCU will award approximately over 900 degrees during  their  various commencement ceremonies, as well.

Fareed Zakaria, journalist, author and foreign policy advisor, will deliver the commencement address at Duke.  NCCU's Friday speaker will be Warren Ballentine, noted attorney, motivational speaker and radio talk show host. Saturday's speaker will be The Rev. Dr. William Barber II, president of the North Carolina State Conference of the NAACP.

Aside from commencement ceremonies, the weekend will be filled with revelry of all manner from sponsored university celebration events to families dining out in Durham. Most of Durham's top ranked and celebrated restaurants are nearly completely booked.

About 14,000 people are expected to visit Duke's campus to attend the main commencement exercise and other ceremonies, according to Duke’s Office of Special Events and University Ceremonies, which oversees graduation weekend planning. NCCU estimates 10,000 attendees throughout the weekend.

The Durham Convention & Visitors Bureau estimates the economic impact of Duke's graduation alone - through sales of food, hotel rooms, retail items, gasoline, car rentals and entertainment - will be about $5.8 million, said Shelly Green, CEO of the Durham Convention & Visitors Bureau.

“Graduation weekend has always been an important event for Durham,” Green said. “The thousands of parents, friends and family members who attend leave a substantial economic impact on the community.”

Culture Communication Evolving With Technology

Travelers who do so for the purpose of experiencing culture are a big market for Durham.  With so many museums, working artists and galleries, theaters and festivals of all types, Durham really is where great culture happens and an obvious destination for people interested in that subject.  In fact, North Carolina is overall. 

Areas endowed with a wealth of cultural offerings often suffocate under the load of opportunities and how to communicate them.  Many years ago, DCVB took the proactive step of creating a database driven calendar.  For years, that has stood alone, but now DCVB, in partnership with the EverWondr Network and Durham Arts Council are teaming up to bring Durham’s cultural opportunities to visitors as part of a statewide network  sites 

“At this point, is a way for the culture segment to present information to people looking to learn more about cultural offerings,” said Shelly Green, DCVB President and CEO. “The new site is intuitive, user friendly and is a big step forward in cultural visitation marketing,” she added.

Run by DCVB,, houses one of the most comprehensive collections of information about cultural offerings in Durham.  While complete, the site was limited in capability.  Now with the  improvements in technology powering the site it offers users much more than just information.  While the web address won’t change, site visitors have access to an artist’s marketplace, special offers, map/location search, videos, reviews and more.

DCVB is making this move in an effort to make information gathering easier for potential visitors.  The process by which stakeholders in the community enter data will change a bit, but mostly those changes are cosmetic.  They will still use the My Durham Info portal they have always used, but the appearance of the forms will change and some of the options will allow more information to be shared.  Seminars to demonstrate this portal and its additional capabilities will be held at DCVB on May 24 at 2PM and 6 PM to demonstrate the new interface.  Those desiring to attend should email Carolyn Carney at

Friday, May 4, 2012

'On the Lawn' Concert Series Expands in Durham

There are lots of ways to enjoy Durham, NC.  Music lovers have great options in the warmer months because Durham is home to several series of music events - one such is On the Lawn, a spring and summer entertainment series with music (and movies), new ways to dine and more.

Bull City BUCK$, an consumer loyalty app designed to help people explore and enjoy Durham (more below).  The loyalty/rewards program will feature a number of fun ways to scan QR codes and earn points to cash in at area hotspots. 

Jazz on the Lawn series is a new series debuting this year. Activities continue until October 5 with events including:

•    Back Porch Music on the Lawn, sponsored by WUNC-FM and now in its sixth year, will feature acts from the legendary Red Clay Ramblers to developing superstars The Old Ceremony
•    Movies on the Lawn, a series of music-themed documentaries selected by the Full Frame Film Festival
•    Other events including Pops for Pops on Father’s Day, three WNCU Jazz on the Lawn concerts sponsored by NCCU and a special performance by the American Dance Festival.

This year, chowing down ‘on the lawn’ is easier -- and tastier -- than ever with the opening of L’Uva to augment campus favorites Cuban Revolution, The District, Mellow Mushroom,  Saladelia Cafe, Tobacco Road and Tyler’s Taproom. 

“On the Lawn is the complete spring and summer get away, right here in your own backyard,” says Michael Goodmon, vice president of real estate for Capitol Broadcasting Company, which owns American Tobacco.  “As we begin construction on our new Diamond View III building, we look forward to serving even more neighbors and fans with great entertainment and opportunities to plug into this dynamic community.” 

On the Lawn’s schedule is as follows:
* Friday, May 4 - NCCU Jazz Ensemble
* Friday, May 11 - Music Makers Relief Foundation Blues Revue
* Friday, May 18 - Tony Rice Unit
* Friday, June 1 - Movies on the Lawn (tbd)
* Friday, June 15 - Adam Hurt
* Friday, June 22 - Lizzy Rose Band
* Sunday, June 17 - Pops for Pop
* Wednesday, July 4 - John Brown & the Groove Shop Band
* Friday, July 6 - Movies on the Lawn (tbd)
* Friday, July 13 - American Dance Festival
* Friday, July 27 - Justin Robinson and the Mary Annettes
* Friday, August 3 - Movies on the Lawn (tbd)
* Friday, August 10 - John Howie Jr and the Rosewood Bluffs
* Friday, August 17 - Bill & Libby Hicks
* Friday, August 24 - Old Ceremony
* Friday, August 31 - Charanga Carolina
* Friday, September 7 - The Red Clay Ramblers
* Friday, September 28 - Movies on the Lawn tbd)
* Friday, October 5 - Movies on the Lawn (tbd)

DCVB Teams Up with Bull City Buck$

The Durham Convention & Visitors Bureau, Durham's official marketing agency, has teamed up with Bull City Buck$ as a way to give visitors value and increase their engagement when they visit.

BCB is a consumer loyalty program only available in Durham, NC.  It works on smart mobile devices that scan bar codes.  Buck$ can be redeemed for rewards - some of which are rather significant, and many of which are attainable at low point levels which makes the program attractive to visitors here for only a short period of time.

"An important factor in our consideration to join this program," said Shelly Green, DCVB President and CEO, is the fact that in just a few scans, a visitor could amass enough points to redeem a food reward at one of the restaurants on BCB."  Visit BCB's website to see all the places to ear and redeem points.  Points can be earned for visiting places, like DCVB's Visitor Information Center where there is a scan code anyone can grab 24 hours a day since it's posted on the door, and another worth more points for when people come in and get specific information about Durham from one of the staff on hand.

As a way to push local engagement of the application, and to support the effort to get people to come to the CCB Plaza on Tuesday, May 8th at 4:30 AM to be a part of the live broadcast of the NBC-17 Today Show, there will be a scan worth 100 Buck$ and only available on the plaza.  The show will be on air until 7:00 AM.

Additional efforts to encourage crowd engagement are prizes including restaurant gift certificates and a painting from the New Neighbor series, as well as some of Durham's most popular food trucks.  The plaza event is open to the public.

Upcoming Events at Durham Farmers' Market

What's new at Durham Farmers' Market?  Perfect strawberry growing weather!  While strawberries aren't necessarily new at the Market, this week, there's more to learn about growing strawberries. One farmer said that the ideal weather for strawberries is 75 during the day and 55 at night.  While the last few days have been pretty hot, it looks like after tomorrow, we will be right back to perfect strawberry weather. 

That should stretch out the strawberry season for a little while longer.  The warm weather this week has made the strawberries even sweeter than earlier in the season.  Once the weather turns really hot and there is a solid week of 90 degree days, strawberry season will be over.  So, if you have been thinking at all about making strawberry jam or freezing fruit for smoothies this year, the time is now! 

Upcoming Events:
Mother's Day Market Gift Certificate Giveaway - Saturday May 12th Does your Mom love shopping for fresh food and locally made items at the Market?  Enter her name in a drawing for a $10 gift certificate to the Market next Saturday.

Chef In the Market, Saturday May 12th - Chef Katie Coleman from Durham Spirits Company will be back at the Market. Chef Katie has cooked all over the world and is now located in Durham.  She teaches at the Culinary Arts Institute and teaches cooking and mixology classes at the Durham Spirits Co.  Katie told me that she'll be shopping around Market this week looking for her inspiration!  No matter what, it will be de-licious!  Katie will take you through her recipes step by step and then you can taste and take home her recipe to make at home!

Book Signing, Saturday May 12 - Diane Daniel, author of Farm Fresh North Carolina.  The country's first statewide farm-travel guidebook and includes visiting information on not only the Durham market but several of its vendors, including Fickle Creek Farm, Elodie Farm, Benjamin Vineyard and Winery, Sunset Ridge Buffalo Farm, Lyon Farms, Vollmer Farm, Scratch Baking, Piedmont Bio Farm, Fullsteam Brewery, Chapel Hill Creamery, Celebrity Dairy, Kalawi Farms, and SEEDS.  We'll be selling the books for $18 as a fundraiser for the Market.  It makes a great gift for Mom! 

Durham Homefries Cookies Class - Does your child love joining you at the Market and helping you cook meals with you?  Then the Homefries Cooking Classes might be just what they are looking for.  This summer, from May through September, we will hold monthly cooking classes for kids between the ages 9 to 13.  Classes are held on the 3rd Saturday of the month and they teach basic cooking skills from a local Chef or Cooking Instructor.  Registration is going on now.  If you are interested, please email Erin at

Fresh this Week....
VEGETABLES:  FRESH SHIITAKE MUSHROOMS, CAULIFLOWER, Asparagus, Asian Greens (Pac Choi, Tatsoi, Mizuna), Artichokes, Arugula, Beets, Broccoli, Broccoli Raab, Chinese Broccoli, Chinese Cabbage, Collards, Greenhouse Grown Cucumbers, Dandelion Greens, Escarole, Frisee, Fresh Herbs (Cilantro, Mint, Rosemary, Oregano, Thyme, Parsley) Green Onions, Green Garlic, Greenhouse Grown Green Beans, Gourds, Mustard Greens, Kale, Lettuce, Leeks, New Potatoes, Onions, Rhubarb, Radishes, Rutabega, Salad Mix, Sweet Potatoes, Spinach, Sugar Snap Peas,  Swiss Chard, Summer Squash Greenhouse Grown Tomatoes, Turnips, Turnip Greens, Zucchini
FRUITS: Strawberries!
MEATS AND EGGS: Beef, Bison, Cornish Game Hens, Chicken, Duck, Goat/Chevon, Lamb, Pork, Duck Eggs & Chicken Eggs CHEESES: Fresh and aged cow and goats milk cheeses.
FLOWERS & PLANTS:  PEONIES! Dutch Iris, Snapdragons, Larkspur, Batchelor's Buttons, Mixed Bouquets, Vegetable & Herb Seedlings, Landscaping Plants, House Plants
SPECIALTY ITEMS:  Pecans,  Flour, Cornmeal, Grits, Baked Goods including Pies, Breads, Cookies, Pastries, Gluten Free Items, etc; Pasta, Beer, Wine, Jams, Jellies, Pickles, Preserves, Wool
CRAFTS: Pottery, Jewelry, Stained Glass Art, Handmade Baskets, Gourd Birdhouses, Woodwork, Photographs, Hand-dyed Clothing and other items, Handmade Clothing, Soaps, Yarn, Roving, and much more...

Produce availability depends on weather conditions

No More Reservations Available

On Wednesday, Durham's Magnolia Grill chef/owner couple Ben and Karen Barker announced their plans to close their restaurant as of May 31st.  The news came as a shock to decades of loyal fans, patrons and the vast family of alumni that had made their way through the restaurant over the years.

In an email to News & Observer food writer Andrea Weigl, the Barkers shared the information that no more reservations are available to dine between now and when the restaurant closes.  Walk in customers may be accommodated in the bar, but there is no assurance that a table will be available - it's a game of chance for those who wish to try their luck at this point.

The Barkers wrote to Weigl that the response to the announcement of their closure was "overwhelming."  Some tried for hours to get reservations; some successfully, others not.  The choice of words clearly echoed how those who heard it feel about the restaurant, and its impending closure.

For more on this story, go here and here.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

May 8th Live Broadcast Support Grows

On May 8th, Durham's CCB Plaza will be the backdrop for the live broadcast of NBC-17's Today Show.  From 4:30 AM to 7 AM, in advance of the national broadcast of the nation's most popular morning news show, NBC-17 will host their morning show with guests and stories about Durham so that viewers can get to know the place a little better.

"This is really very exciting for us," said Sam Poley, Director of Marketing and Communications for the Durham Convention & Visitors Bureau, the organization charged with marketing Durham as a place to visit.  "We get to show off how great Durham is to a whole lot of people and we really hope the community will come out an join us on the plaza," he added.  Poley hopes for a lively Durham crowd to be on hand.

In an effort to overcome objections to the hour, local businesses are stepping up to help draw folks out and to show their support for Durham.

Durham art gallery Outsiders Art & Collectibles has teamed up with Durham artist Dave Alsobrooks to give away a painting to a lucky member of the crowd. One of the pieces from the New Neighbors series that has been hanging in the Durham Convention Center will be given to a randomly chosen person there.  The works sell for between $800 and $1,300 and the subjects of the series are Durham people.  According to Pam Gutlon, owner of Outsiders, "We think this is a really great way to show how much we support efforts to promote Durham - it's a great place for artists and those who appreciate the arts."

Tickets will be distributed to the crowd, and at some point between 4:30 AM and 7 AM the painting will be given away.  Other items, including restaurant gift certificates, will be distributed at random throughout the morning, as well.  "Folks need to be present to win," Poley added.

Monuts Donuts has announced that they will be out for this event, as well - and they're giving away their first 100 donuts for free.  If free donuts are not the motivating factor, others will be on hand, too.  So far, joining Monuts will be Only Burger, Rise (a new operator), Pie Pushers, and Blue Coffee will be open, too, serving their hearty brew from 4:30 AM to 6:30 AM until their regular hours begin.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

More Mobile Vendors Sign On for May 8th Gathering

Being out of bed at 4:30 in the morning is something of an affront to most.  It's still dark out here in Durham, NC at that hour, no matter the time of year.  But out of bed many will be, and out of the house interacting and transacting business - and doing it live on TV.

Well, they might wind up on TV - there will be plenty of TV cameras around for the broadcast of NBC-17's Today Show which begins live on the CCB Plaza at the aforementioned 4:30 AM.

"This is an opportunity for Durham to show off its pride to a massive amount of people," said Sam Poley, Director of Marketing and Communications at the Durham Convention & Visitors Bureau, referring to the 23 county area to which the broadcast will go.

Durham has enjoyed a steady influx of new businesses, residents and visitors for the past several years.  "We're hoping folks in Durham will come down to the plaza to help us make some noise and get viewers excited about visiting Durham," Poley added.

In an effort to help motivate people to show their support, the Durham Convention & Visitors Bureau is working to muster support from stakeholders in Durham, too.  So far, Only Burger has signed on to be there, as has Pie Pushers.  The two are favorites on the mobile food scene in Durham, which has a nationally recognized mobile food community and over 40 trucks in operation there, and an internationally known restaurant and chef spot.

Blue Coffee, a shop across the street from the CCB Plaza, will also be open selling coffee until their normal operating hours begin at 6:30, at which time their full menu will be available.

In addition, a new offering by an old favorite in Durham will be debuted.  "It's really just a test to see if people like it," said Durham Catering Company owner Tom Ferguson of his new biscuits and donuts.  He's looking to get real estate in Downtown Durham for Rise Biscuits and Donuts.  Details will be forthcoming about the operation on their Facebook page.  Ferguson, who started Only Burger with another partner before selling to the current owner, will be serving off the Only Burger truck.

Beyond ensuring that the crowd that does show up can get great food, a few other enticements are apparently in the works, according to Poley.  "We'll be giving a few things away at points during the morning," he said. "We've also got a few things we're working on that will make this a truly memorable event for those that show." He would not provide further detail.

Those interested can arrive on the CCB Plaza starting at 4 AM.  Crews will be on site beginning at midnight.

Durham Culinary Powerhouse Magnolia Grill to Close 5/31

In a surprise announcement, Magnolia Grill owners Ben and Karen Barker say they are closing after nearly three decades in business.  The news will shock many loyal fans and patrons.

Known for blazing a culinary trail in North Carolina, the couple are both James Beard Award winners.  The honor is considered the Oscar of the food world.

“This is sad news for Durham.  Ben and Karen are two of the reasons Durham has a food scene.  They trained many, many chefs in their restaurants who went on to open their own establishments," said Shelly Green, Durham Convention & Visitors Bureau President and CEO.  "We promote Durham's prowess as a dining destination.  They have given us so much of the opportunity to do that."

Durham is widely known as a place with an intense food scene.  The accolades are numerous, but most recently the New York Times listed Durham as one of the Top 41 Places to Visit in the world and noted the food and dining offerings as a key reason.

Citing a desire to spend more time with friends and family, the couple will close the property on May 31.  Having written two books and being in demand within the national food community, this is likely not the last word from this duo. 

The Barker's were honored at Durham's Annual Tribute Luncheon in 2007, alongside other chefs here who helped shape Durham as a culinary destination and contributed to it's unique sense of place.  "We can't thank them enough for that," Green added.  Dare we say that tens of thousands of diners would say the same.

McKinney Invites Triangle Business to Sixth Battle of the Bands

Durham is full of creativity.  In fact, it's home to the largest advertising agency in the Southeast, McKinney. Turns out, those folks also have a decidedly musical streak, and they get the urge to scratch that itch 'bout once a year.

This year, McKinney’s Triangle Corporate Battle of the Bands gets in touch with its classical side by turning Beethoven lovers into headbangers, Mozart fans into metalheads and symphony-goers into stage divers. McKinney is calling all Triangle businesses to volunteer their musical talents for the sixth Triangle Corporate Battle of the Bands, returning Saturday, September 22, 2012. McKinney’s sixth Battle since 2006 will showcase bands from around the Triangle for one night of corporate rock ‘n’ roll on the American Tobacco Campus lawn.

Why the classical twist? All proceeds from the Battle will benefit KidZNotes, a nonprofit organization that fights poverty and encourages positive decision making by instructing and engaging children in classical orchestral music. KidZNotes serves children in the poorest neighborhoods in East Durham where elementary schools are the lowest-performing in the city with a long-term goal of creating quality youth orchestras around the state.

“KidZNotes and the arts help level the economic playing field for the neediest of children,” said McKinney Chief Operating Officer Joni Madison. “We were so impressed with the great work they are doing in East Durham that we wanted to connect them with local corporations and businesses through the 2012 Triangle Corporate Battle of the Bands.”

“We’re thrilled to be part of the Battle this year. Our kids, who are young budding musicians, will see that music can be an important part of your life always,” said KidZNotes Executive Director Katie Wyatt. “Almost anytime I ask any professional in nearly any field if they’ve ever played an instrument, the answer is yes. The skills and the passion for life and creativity found in the development of a child’s musical skills carry over into the skills they will need as successful students and professionals. The money raised from the event will go to our fast-growing program: We’ll enroll 200 kids who would not otherwise have the opportunity in our program of intense music and instrumental instruction, and build our orchestra to 200 for next year!”

Bands will be allowed entry into the Battle on a first-come, first-served basis. Bands that sign up before May 4 can take advantage of the “early bird special” and register at a reduced price. Each band must have a minimum of three members and a maximum of 10. Bands may have a member or members from a client or an associate company, but the majority of the band members must be on the company’s payroll.

Each year a panel of local celebrity judges and audience text voting determine which bands are rock gods and which are one-hit wonders. Past winners, in chronological order, include GlaxoSmithKline’s The Pharmers, Burt’s Bees’ The Beemones, Capitol Broadcasting Company’s Transmit This! Band from Beyond, McKinney’s Role Playaz and Quintiles’ Counting CROs.

Companies without a band who wish to show their support may participate via corporate sponsorship. Past sponsors of the Triangle Corporate Battle of the Bands include McKinney, American Tobacco Campus, GlaxoSmithKline, Smith Breeden, The News & Observer, VIP Nation, Time Warner Cable, Durham Performing Arts Center, Red Hat and Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina.

For more information on more music related events in Durham, visit the Durham Event Calendar.

Durham Chefs Urged to Compete in Statewide Culinary Competition

The Bull City is routinely lauded as having one of the strongest food scenes in the state. Now its time to put that reputation to the test. This summer, Durham chefs will go head to head with the state's top culinary talent in the statewide "Iron Chef" style Got To Be NC culinary competition.

The Got To Be NC competition dining chef challenge features six courses prepared by two chefs coking elbow-to-whisk in the event site kitchen. The series starts with 16 chef teams of three members each. They cook in bracketed, single-elimination dinners until the final winner emerges. Each team builds their three courses for the evening around a "secret"or "featured" ingredient. The ingredient is revealed at noon before the chefs start to prep the night's meal. The winning chef receives $2500 and the coveted red chef's jacket.

The competition begins in Blowing Rock (Fire on the Rock) then proceeds statewide to Wilmington (Fire on the Dock) at the end of March and then on to Raleigh (Fire in the Triangle) and Greensboro (Fire in the Triad). Fire in the Triangle, will take place in Raleigh at 1705 Prime. Chefs from Raleigh, Durham and Chapel Hill will compete throughout the months of June and July with finals July 31.

In its inaugural year, the series is sponsored by the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Pate Dawson Company / Southern Foods, Crippen’s Country Inn & Restaurant, h.its Technology and OUR STATE magazine. The goal of the competition is to promote local North Carolina ingredients and talented chefs from across the state.

Durham chefs are encouraged to participate in this event and must register by May 4. Durham food lovers are encouraged to come out and support the home team. Tickets are $49 each and sold in advance online. Tickets for the semi-finals and finals are $59 each.