Beet Carpaccio - Goat cheese, chile oil, pistachio, pepper honey
Dinner collaborations and pop-ups are one of the many great ways to experience Charlotte's food scene. One particular dinner collaboration that I enjoy is The Carolina Farm Trust Benefit Dinner Series. In addition to a fun evening centered around good food, these dinners benefit local farms, which is a win-win if you ask me!
Over the past century, small family farms have dropped by two thirds across the United States. This decline has generated a variety of concerns amongst farmers and consumers, from the negative economic impact on rural communities to the detrimental environmental practices often associated with large scale agricultural production.
Enter, Carolina Farm Trust, a non-profit organization which works to protect North Carolina farm land and raise funds for small family farms to invest into their operations. With twelve dinners to date, the series has helped support funding for operations such as Middle Ground Farm's hydroponic system and Blue Whistler Farm's rabbit production, to name just two.
Impromptu oyster amuse bouche complements of RockSalt
But let's get back to the food... The most recent dinner hosted by the Carolina Farm Trust was at ROCKSALT benefiting Dancing Bees Farm.
Sautéed baby octopus with white miso lemon sauce
As with each dinner, the menu highlighted both the restaurant's signature dishes and ingredients produced by the partnering farm. For this event, ROCKSALT's focus was on their fish and seafood and Dancing Bees' honey. This lead to a whole host of delicious dishes from beet carpaccio with pepper honey for the first course (pictured above) to honey ricotta mille-feuille for dessert (pictured below).
Bourbon glazed pork with root vegetable chips
Additionally, there were wonderful courses of seafood including an oyster amuse-bouche and sautéed baby octopus. One dish that was particularly memorable was a fillet of black drum (not pictured) over seared summer squash, zucchini, and corn. It was so meaty and delicious!
Honey ricotta mille feuille
As someone who seeks to support the local food economy, while balancing a busy schedule, I thoroughly enjoy these dinners for their ability to be both fun and meaningful.
And if you're sad you missed this dinner, don't worry! The next one, Urban Soul on The Farm, a collaboration between Carolina Farm Trust and Soul Food Sessions is scheduled for September 27th; and, if the popularity of Soul Food Sessions is any indication, it will be an epic evening!
No compensation was provided for this blog post. I attended the dinner as a regular ticker holder. The views expressed in this recap are entirely my own.