Flavor NC production observation, day two:
The filming on this day was at Porter Farms and Nursery, in Willow Springs. But, before any travel I needed some coffee, stat.Here’s something that will give what follows some context; a generous portion of my blood is composed of caffeine. Whether it’s an expensive fancy coffee beverage, a glass of my homemade sun-tea that’s so strong Petey and The Kid call it jet fuel, or chocolate so dark it absorbs surrounding light, my engine runs on that stimulant of the jacked up, jittery gods. Without it, I am a cranky toy, with failing batteries, and a belligerent headache.
Oh, and waiting any length of time, for any reason, makes me lose my mind.
At the closest Starbucks to my house, I placed my order and got out of the way (people who stand right in the middle of the store, in everyone’s way while they wait for their drink need repeated, severe beatings). After a few minutes the barista sets down a cup and mumble-announces what’s in it. I grab it, see there are three of something in it (I get three pumps of caramel). That’s good enough for me, I take a taste.
Turns out, shockingly, that I’ve picked up the wrong cup. Embarrassment and apologies then ensue. I finally get the correct 20 ounces of go-juice and get on the road for the forty-five-minute drive to Willow Springs.
When I arrive at Porter farm it turns out I’ve beaten host Lisa Prince, her sister and associate producer Michele Holland, and photographer/show owner David Dalton. And Lisa and Michele only live 15 minutes away.
The first person I meet is Charity Morris, the farm stand manager, cheerleader of everything Porter, and its social media maven. She’s barefoot, with wavy, surfer girl blond hair, and wearing a luminous, welcoming smile. She’s to be our main guide today as owner Ashley Porter is the quintessential, Gary Cooper “strong silent” type who’s not so much camera shy as camera averse.
The farm stand itself looks like a set for a movie. The vegetables are gorgeous, each one a shining example of itself. They’re arranged beautifully but organically, as if a breeze with design training and impeccable taste has blown them just so. Our star of the shoot, okra, spills out of a large basket in a riot of shape and color.The attached building contains two of my favorite summer items—air conditioning and homemade ice cream. Charity loves to use freshly harvested produce for it. We’ve just missed the blueberry sweet corn, but the fresh watermelon ice cream becomes part of the shoot.After visiting the okra field, we drive to the farm annex where the fields went on as far as we could see. One portion was full of countless plants heavy with different varieties of ripe tomatoes. Purely as research I ate a couple; sweet, and warm from the sun.Next was summer squash of different shapes and colors. Then were pumpkins, a few for cooking, but most were purely ornamental, including ones that were pale green and covered with what looked like warts. Our host Ashley said they were perfectly suited for jack-o-lanterns and Halloween decoration.We concluded our visit back at the farm stand. Lisa and Charity did a shot that culminated in biting into a raw piece of okra.
Again, as research for you, Gentle Reader, I sampled a small, raw pod. It was fuzzy like a peach, with a bright, strong okra flavor, and no slime. It was really good.And nope, it didn’t taste like chicken.
Thanks for your time.