When Scott Avett, Joe Kwon and Bob Crawford of the Avett Brothers and Vivian Howard of Chef and the Farmer come together to support the Lomax Farm beautiful things happen
by Elizabeth Read, Communications and Development Director
When CFSA stepped up and took over the administration of the Elma C. Lomax Incubator Farm in September of 2014, how to financially support the operations of the farm was at the top of the priorities list. Through many funding sources, CFSA has worked hard to put the Cabarrus County training farm on sound footing.
One of the awards in our successful crowd-funding campaign to benefit the farm was a seat at a dinner with Scott Avett. As details emerged about the dinner, it was clear that this was going to be an evening to remember. Through the assistance of The Avett Brothers cellist, Joe Kwon, award-winning chef Vivian Howard signed on to be the chef for the dinner. Vivian is the chef at the acclaimed Kinston restaurant, Chef & the Farmer, and is the star of the Emmy-winning PBS television series “A Chef’s Life.”
The “A Chef’s Life’s” production team follows Vivian as she cooks at interesting events around the country; and indeed, her crew came to Lomax last month.
They interviewed Lomax Farmer in Training, Ben Street, who grew the green onions that would be featured in the meal the following evening, and talked to Lomax Farm Manager, Aaron Newton, about the mission and practices at Lomax.
The next day, serious set up for the event took place at Ritchie Hill, the location of the dinner. This historic house near downtown Concord has been restored as an event venue and was the perfect location for the dinner. Ritchie Hill was even once a farm!
The main course arrived before lunch with farmer Craig Rogers of Border Springs Farm. Craig is a shepherd, and his lamb roasting on a spit would become the main course for Vivian’s Mediterranean twist on a traditional pig picking. He got the television crew going with lamb cheese steak sandwiches for lunch.
The real setup for the evening started then, with main logistical support from Gina Guthrie of Bocca Felice catering in Concord. Flowers were arranged by Colleen Rett from Poppies Floral Designs with accents from Lomax Farm vegetables and looked beautiful on the farmhouse tables on the Ritchie Hill front porch. Everyone started to realize just how delicious the evening was going to be as the menus designed by Jennifer Ritchie Lancaster were placed on the table. Jennifer also photographed the evening, including several of the images on this page.
This meal was going to be cooked by James Beard nominated Chef Howard after all.
Our guests of honor, Scott Avett and Joe Kwon arrived, and as a surprise to all of us, they brought their instruments AND The Avett Brothers’ bass player, Bob Crawford. The night’s dinner guests walked into the beautiful space at Ritchie Hill to the lovely sound of Scott, Joe and Bob playing a few songs.
Highlights of the dinner included delicious hushpuppies, an onion gratin featuring Lomax Farm onions, and the slow-roasted lamb.
The meal finished with a delicious twist on a pig picking cake.
It was indeed an event to remember, and perhaps best of all it was to support the farm and the farmers in training at Lomax Farm. Thank you again, to ALL of the people who made this event happen.
For more information on becoming a farmer in training at Lomax or how to support Lomax Farm, visit our site.