Hometown Proud

Kinston_oAs I told you previously, I am from Kinston, NC. It was wonderful growing up in Kinston, which was, back then, a thriving vibrant town. Tobacco and textiles were the stable products that were the backbone of this eastern NC town. Sadly, when these slowly dissipated,  so did the town.

Kinston,  however,  is regaining its buoyancy,  all thanks to some smart entrepreneurs in our small town who have currently achieved national recognition. Mother Earth Brewery is making and distributing some mighty fine craft beer in downtown Kinston. The owners are big on sustainability and even did a green renovation to the crumbling old building which now houses the brewery.   Next time you are thirsty for a delicious craft beer, select one from this award winning brewery.  You will quench that thirst and be quite satisfied.

Our other claim to fame is the nationally accredited restaurant, The Chef and the Farmer. The food is truly farm to table. Chef Vivian Howard uses locally grown products and her culinary expertise to bring unusual, delectable dishes to your plate. Call ahead, way ahead,  for reservations. Chef Vivian is currently in her second season of “A Chef’s Life” aired on PBS stations throughout the country. The series recently won the coveted Peabody Award. I encourage all of my followers to tune in each week. Check your local PBS listings for days and times.

My last,  but not least,  hometown proud shout out,  is to my friend Francis Civils,  who published the cookbook “For The Love Of Food……and Family”. It is a compilation of her family’s recipes that she painstakingly collected and bound together to give to her family members. She is currently on her third printing!

Though the first two have achieved national recognition, the third is equally as important.  They all remind us of who we are and where we come from; our families,  our love for food, and the little eastern North Carolina town that nurtured All of This!

Blue Ribbon



Paul’s red wagon exhibit at the fair

He’s a winner…every year, every time. I’m talking about Paul Jackson, the best gardener I have ever met, who takes home the blue ribbon at the Ag Fair on Martha’s Vineyard for his fruits and vegetables. His garden is a feast for the eyes. I’m not alone in that thinking. My artist friend Joni, has painted his garden not once,  but twice with a third one on the way. It is that unique and inspiring.

It could be the scallop or mussel shells that circle his trees. This is his fertilizer. He goes and collects the shells wheel barrow load by wheel barrow load. The blue hue the shells cast off and the luscious fruit dangling from the limbs is a site to behold. The rows and rows, immaculate in their keeping,  of vegetables and flowers that produce for him, his touch, year after year are awe inspiring. You walk with him through his gardens and listen to this man talk about his craft. There is a unique method for cultivating most everything he produces. He is frank, no frills, just conversing about this land he loves. My favorite quote I heard from him this summer was, “I see those people playing Frisbee on the beach. When the day is done, what do they have to show for it?” When your days are done, Paul Jackson, you have an abundance to show.

Paul Jackson, is not just a blue ribbon recipient at the fair, he is a winner in life. He has found his passion, his work, his lot in life. He is comfortable in his skin. He is consumed with the land he so diligently works and treasures.  And this man works from sun up to sun down, no matter the temperature. Did I mention he’s in his eighties? Were we all to be this fortunate. I thank you Susan for sharing Mr. Jackson with me and I look forward to more visits to this treasured space of magnificence. There is no other like it!