Goat Lady Dairy

Goat Lady Dairy is a crown jewel for artisanal cheese making, proudly living in the back roads of North Carolina’s Randolph County where it has survived for the last 200 years. The burgeoning community surrounding it, English settlers who landed only two miles from the current goat farms, established families whose kinfolk prosper to the present day. Names like the Bradd’s, the Brooks, the Linberg’s, and the Routh’s whose bloodlines have been sowed into these very lands, never blow too far from home and keep proud traditions in the family.

On the sequestered roads stretching across the wide open plains, past the many horse and cow farms hugging Liberty Street, Ginnie Tate must have felt the same homey calmness that I did when she first arrived.  When she came to the abandoned tobacco farm atop of the sloping greens, she saw opportunity few others did and bought the thing for cheap, converting it into a family run goat cheese dairy. Her two pet Nubian goats she kept close earned her the nickname, by some questioning neighbors, “the Goat Lady.”  The goats matured enough to produce milk and she used the excess to turn into cheese. Her brother Steve and other family jumped on board to start one of NC’s first licensed goat cheese dairies. The Tate’s were only able to keep it running for so long, however. It wasn’t until one of their dish washers, a hard working 18 year old practically raised on the farm, matured into her own, rising above the rest to oversee all operations, catalyzed Goat Lady Dairies meteoric rise.  Carrie Routh has made it her life’s mission to preserve the traditions passed down to her from Steven Tate, a man who valued her so much, “He is exactly the kind of person you’d be happy to work for; calm, considerate, and always right there to do the job with you.” Carrie was asked by Steve to take his place in running the farm, and inherited the run-down outhouses, 40 acres of land, and a little blue house Steve and Ginnie lived in. She received grants to expand the farm’s operations, few banks wanted to get involved in because of the protected lands that back up into the property.  The newly renovated structure, built of logs found on the land, and compostable materials, was hand put together by Carrie’s husband Bobby, a skilled contractor. Custom made cleaning and aging equipment, several newly installed rinding chambers, and enormous acid vats, along with Carrie and Bobby’s business savvy, streamlined their production to turn them into a national cheese treasure. The dream of spreading passion-infused food products went beyond local neighbors to big retailers such as Wegmans, Harris Teeters, and Whole Foods, as well as many restaurants and farmers markets.  

Their goat and milk cheeses have collected many awards along the years, each with their own expressive and vibrant flavors. Every cheese: Providence, Lindale, Sandy Creek, Snow Camp, Fig & Honey, Smokey Mountain Round, and the many assortments of fresh chèvre each stand on their own as powerful, complex, and mouth watering bites that inspire gourmet dishes of many kinds. Each cheese is cared for throughout the entire process.  Each one is kept in their particular rinding and molding chamber at set temperatures and humidity levels and are not ready for packaging until the’ve aged at least one year. Carrie and Bobby put as much care into their cheese making as they do in taking care of their workers including the land they’ve built on. Their relationship to the land is almost personal and so much respect and gratitude is felt in Carrie’s words on their responsibility as farmers, “… we have to respect the earth. Me and my husband try to be stewards of the land, taking care of our animals and try to make environmentally friendly decisions wherever possible.”  Carrie worries about the impact humans are having on the earth who feels there should be something urgently done about it. When asked about how it might affect their business, Carrie wasn’t concerned as their facilities have lasted many hurricanes, and believes they’ve built something that will last many years beyond them.

Carrie’s father, a historian buff, was suspicious of the old log house at the bottom of the hill who actually dated it to about 1780.  Later, Carrie dove into her family ancestry, discovering that one of her great Routh relatives, was a Methodist priest right next to the farm dating back to around that same time the log house was built.  Carrie has reason to believe this priest built the little blue house, who always felt a deep sense of belonging when she first stepped foot in it all those years ago. Something brought Carrie back to the lands her ancestors were raised on, coming full circle to recover what is rightfully hers.  What used to be the humble abode of the Tate’s, and the many families before her, built by the hands of her ancient bloodline, has returned today as the quiet home of Carrie and Bobby, the little blue house at the bottom of the hill.

Written by: Zachary Stern

Homeland Creamery Food Review

Through the sparse, winding back roads approximately fifteen miles south of Burlington, North Carolina sits Homeland Creamery, one of the most raved about places in the area to get ice cream, milkshakes, and more. It’s your classic mom and pop shop, family owned and operated, and open all year long because well, there’s never a bad time for ice cream. Wanting to test it out ourselves, my friend Leah and I hopped in the car and made our way down highway 62 and through the roads covered in fresh fall foliage, say that ten times fast. Right as you’re about to enter the parking lot, you can look to your directly across the road and see the cows and dairy farm up close and personal. 

When we entered the store, we were greeted by the friendly woman behind the counter and endless flavors to choose from. They had their staple year round flavors as well as seasonal options. Think of every classic flavor ice cream joint should have and it was there: chocolate, vanilla, cookies and cream, peanut butter, chocolate chip, mint chocolate chip, coffee. Their southern charm shined when we were greeted by less traditional flavors: black cherry, lemon crunch, butter pecan, cupcake, and more. Their seasonal flavors put you right into the holiday spirit with apple pie, pumpkin pie, and peppermint.

I wanted to try a fair share of the ice cream but not take up too much of their time so I sampled a bit of their double dark chocolate, coffee, cookies dough, and chocolate reese cup. All of them were unbelievably creamy with a decadently smooth texture. The flavors were distinct and they had enough chunks of cookie, peanut butter cups, etc. to get a taste of each in every bite. I decided to get two scoops for my order, one double dark chocolate and one cookies and cream. The double dark chocolate was rich enough to taste noticeably more intense than regular chocolate without being overpowering. I had not sampled it prior to choosing but the cookies and cream had a different texture than the rest of the ice creams. It tasted as if it had freezer burn and was not as nearly as smooth as the rest of the flavors. I’m not sure if it was a bad batch or how the recipe for that flavor specifically affected the texture. Overall, Homeland Creamery does a great job at creating creamy and delicious ice cream as well as coming up with popular flavors. The home town feel and welcoming atmosphere left us feeling welcomed as we enjoyed every last bite.


Written by: Hayden McConnell

A Taste of Saxapahaw: The Eddy Pub

Set on the banks of the idyllic Haw River in the quiet, quirky town of Saxapahaw is a farm-to-fork eatery that is serving up its own version of pub fair. The Eddy Pub, the name eddy referring to a resting place on the river, has been creating unique dishes ranging from classic southern comfort to European bistro delicacies. The restaurant opened in doors in 2010 with hopes to feel like ‘Saxapahaw’s living room.’
Eddy Pub is committed to using local, organic produce, as well as GMO-free protein and sustainably caught fish. A driving force behind this value for high-quality, nutrient rich ingredients is Executive Chef and local farmer Isaiah Allen. Allen’s passion for cooking and his dedication to the eat local movement and sustainable cuisine elevates the community culture in the Eddy. The restaurant engages its neighbors such as Haw River Farmhouse Ales, Left Bank Butchery, Saxapahaw Village Bakehouse and other local vendors by featuring their products on its menu.
The menu presents a variety of options laid out into several categories including cheese and charcuterie, small plates and sides, traditional pub fare, chef’s creations, and desserts. The kitchen also offers a daily dinner special, a separate brunch menu and an extensive wine and beer list.  
As we walked into Eddy Pub on a late September evening, the comforting ambiance of the wooden tables and exposed brick drew us in, while soothing songs from a live guitarists echoed throughout the small restaurant. We sat in the corner next to a window overlooking the renovated river mill lofts across the quiet street and eagerly scanned the menu.
While it was surprising to see classic pub favorites like Shepherd’s Pie and Bangers & Mash on the same page as Korean dishes like a Fried Rice Bowl and Chicken & Pumpkin Dakjuk, it was clear that each dish supported locally and ethically sourced foods. I opted for a charcuterie and cheese board that featured several local meat and dairy farmers, a beer from the tap room just below the pub, and the special dinner entree consisting of fresh scallops and succotash. 
The charcuterie and cheese board came out first, and although it was small, it was packed with flavor. The bacon jam and Goat Lady Dairy Chevre stood out as my favorites – the jam was the perfect combination of 
sweet and savory, while the goat cheese was light and creamy. After washing down the appetizer with a crisp, hoppy Haw River Farmhouse IPA, my main course was served. 
I have never not loved a scallops that I have eaten, and Eddy Pub’s scallops were no exception. The spicy succotash was an excellent contrast to the creamy, buttery fish. The texture of each bite was perfect, the flavors were vibrant.

I do wish that the dish had been warmer and I could have eaten several more scallops, but overall I was very satisfied with my meal. 

I am eager to return to this Saxapahaw gem to experience more of Chef Allen’s culinary creations. The Eddy Pub is an essential component of the cultural rebirth that is putting this former mill town in rural piedmont North Carolina on the map.
Written by: Leah Graf

Motor Co. Grill

We arrived at Franklin right around dinnertime, settled into our hostel for the next two nights and immediately asked, where are we going to eat? I had done some research on places to eat in the area, but we decided to ask our host, and see what was popular around town. Our host provided us with a map of the town, that contained every place that mattered. He asked us what we wanted to eat, and me being me, I said I wanted burgers. He said that the best place to have burgers in town was this place called, Motor Company Grill. The menu online said that they had over 30 different types of burgers. I was sold. 

As we entered the place, we quickly noticed they had a 50’s style diner vibe happening. The place had black and white checkered floors paired with red walls, that had portraits and pictures of famous celebrities in black and white. The atmosphere was welcoming and it felt like a good place for friends and family, or even a first date.

We were greeted at the door, and taken to a booth, where we saw the glorious menu. They had options for everybody, you could replace the meat patty for a turkey or veggie patty if needed, which cannot be said for every burger joint. The staff was very attentive, and when we asked for what they would recommend they quickly told us their own, as well as other popular options.

I started browsing through the menu, considering what I wanted to have, and mind you, I was very hungry. That is when I landed on the “The King.” This burger had two fresh seasoned beef patties, paired with cheddar, swiss, bacon, grilled Onions and mushrooms. Normally, in these places the patties are not too big so I felt confident in ordering the two patties, but this burger lived up to its name. This was indeed the king of burgers. It was huge, the patties were cooked to perfection and you could taste everything on it.

Once we finished eating, we were all fully satisfied. But we were not done. Our hostel had this arrangement with several businesses around Franklin, that if you wore a rubber band you could get certain deals at the establishments. And at Motor Co.,we got free sundaes. These sundaes were classic vanilla ice cream with fudge, and they were delicious.

It was hands down the best meal we had all weekend. The environment was so nice and welcoming, the food was amazing and the service as well. Anybody who visits Franklin, North Carolina needs to visit this place and live, as well as eat, this experience for themselves.

Written by: Myrta Santana-Santini

Calders Coffee Cafe: Artisanal Coffee with Highlands Flare

When you first walk into Calders, you’re greeted by a long line of people waiting in a narrow front room. The front room of the shop is full of taxidermy on the walls, sleek wooden floors and furniture, and the same Hallmark town aesthetic of Highlands’ main street. However, the charms of Calders goes beyond its aesthetic.

While the shop offers experimental coffee, such as the Ginger Latte I enjoyed, it embodies much more than a normal coffee shop. The point of any coffee shop is to be a meeting place for those working on their dreams or discussing life’s greatest questions over a cup of joe. However, the mission of Calders is to serve more than just that role; the owners of Calders wanted to embody the spirit of the town in the cafe.

According to their website, calderscoffeecafe.com, Leigh and Clay Hartman founded Calders in 2019. After running coffee shops in Seattle and Charleston, they wanted to settle down in a smaller town and enjoy a simpler life connected to nature. They decided to start a cafe in Highlands because their son said his soul was in Highlands when they visited.

The name Calders actually has its roots in the same Scottish ancestry as the town. It’s Gaelic for “stony rivers” and was chosen because of the renowned Highlands waterfalls. The owners tried to embody the same spirit of the town, with a special emphasis on Calders being a meeting place to grow friendships and a place of calm refuge from the hustling tourist shops on Highlands mainstreet.

Whether you’re just stopping by for a to-go cup or are sitting down at one of their many tables with a muffin and a latte for breakfast, it’s impossible to ignore the friendly and cozy ambience of the shop. As the town grows into a center for mountain tourism, spaces like Calders Cafe remind both locals and visitors alike of the community values of the Highlands.

Many coffee shops today focus on having a bright, Instagrammable aesthetic or mimicking the drink options at Starbucks. With their unique offerings and ambience, Calders doesn’t fall into that trap. Calders Coffee Cafe is what a coffee shop ought to be; it serves the Highlands as a place that builds and reflects the community.

Written by: Angela Myers

Food Review of Greenville, NC

Located at the heart of East Carolina University in Greenville NC, Winslow’s Tavern is a local favorite. Catering to college students, young professionals, and even the wine-tasting crowd this gem did not disappoint. A warm interior, friendly bar staff, and as it so happened at the time of my visit a trivia night, all contributed to a unique atmosphere. Serving up new twists on Southern classics incorporating staples such as pimento cheese, fried green tomatoes, and true NC barbecue, Winslow’s is one of the best examples of modern American cuisine with budget in mind. I started with a serving of Winslow’s famous hot chips and pimento cheese dip, and I was not disappointed. The house made kettle chips paired well with the pimento cheese and struck me as something fitting of the area. It set the stage well for the entrees and made me feel at home in the comfortable tavern setting. Torn between the Walk the Plank, an ECU Pirate appropriate themed sandwich with blackened turkey on a toasted baguette, and the Jailhouse burger with applewood smoked bacon, pepper jack cheese, BBQ sauce and fried onion straws, I opted for the latter. My selection was marked as one of “Winslow’s favorites” therefore was hard to decline. The flavors all worked well together and instantly met my expectations of a southern burger with a touch of heat and naturally something fried. After a day spent driving on Old US 64, Winslow’s was the perfect place to end up. I would highly recommend this to anyone travelling through Greenville that is looking for a true local dining experience that will not cost you an arm and a leg!

Written by: Ross Arrington

French Fry Research

The 2017 ENG 397 Food Research Team has spent the semester studying opinions of french fries across Elon’s campus. The following results are based on a survey of 116 Elon students of varying genders, ages, and geographies.


We found that brand loyalty and reputation, both at fast-food and sit down restaurants, was of moderate significance to an individual’s overall opinion of a specific french fry. On a scale of 1-5, one being not at all important and five being extremely important, brand loyalty and reputation received an average importance of 2.9.


Aside from brand, our survey found that several other aspects of french fries matter to an individual’s overall opinion of them. These include: crispiness vs. softness (on a scale of 1-5, 1 being very crispy and 5 being very soft, our respondents had an average score of 2.2) and shape (ie: curly fry, waffle fry, shoestring, steak fry, etc).


Whe then asked for opinions of the following fast-food french fries: Bojangles, Cookout, Chick-Fil-A, McDonald’s, Wendy’s, and Burger King. East establishment’s french fries were rated on a scale of 1-5, one being the worst and 5 being the best. Overwhelmingly, our results indicate that Chick-Fil-A is the most popular fast-food restaurant among Elon students (average rating of 4.0). This came as a surprise to us, as most of the survey respondents are not from the south, and therefore were not raised on Chick-Fil-A french fries. While the following cannot be said with confidence, we do believe that the shape of Chick-Fil-A’s fries, waffle fries, plays into the french fries’ popularity. As aforementioned, 88.8% of survey respondents noted that the shape of the french fry does affect their overall opinion of it. Chick-Fil-A is the only fast-food restaurant on our list that offers french fries that deviate from the traditional shape, which could account for its popularity over the other fast-food choices.


Our survey also set out to gather data about french fries from sit down establishments. When asked if they prefered french fries from sit-down establishments versus fast-food restaurants, a near even split occurred in the data: 51.3% of respondents prefer sit-down french fries, while 48.7% prefer fast-food. We further asked our respondents to list the name of their favorite sit-down restaurant to order fast food fries from. While answered varied–Hop’s Burger Bar, Red Robin, etc.–the majority of respondents said that The Root in Elon, NC was there favorite sit-down restaurant for french fries. While this finding is interesting, we are aware of the possible bias, because The Root is located on Elon’s campus. Respondents might have thought that they needed to list a restaurant on campus, or some might eat most frequently at The Root because they don’t have a car to travel to other restaurants.

Smoking in the Foothills Festival

By Jenny Kane

Right as we arrived in downtown Lenoir at around 11:30am on that Saturday, October 21st, we could already here the sound of live music playing and people crowding around the small area. Most of the shops on the strip were closed apart from a coffee shop and a restaurant that were located side-to-side. The entire festival was only two blocks long, but it was entirely lined with barbecue vendors, craft vendors, and information tents. Right at the center of the festival was a stage tucked into a patio with a live band playing folk and blue grass tunes. Entire extended families were filing in to get seats on the grass and the smoky aroma of barbecue filled the entire event.  


Eager to try some of Lenoir’s famous barbecue, I went up to the tent that had the most trophies in front of it. We found out that on top of the festival was both a barbecue competition and a poker tournament, and restaurants, vendors, and poker players actually come from across the nation to compete in this festival. That would also explain the large crowd of bikers with their affiliated gang jackets, as they made up the majority of the crowd that surrounded the poker tent.


However, I was slightly disappointed that there were only two barbecue tents from North Carolina, and only one of those two was actually from the City of Lenoir. Nonetheless, I was already hungry, so I hopped in line at the most decorated tent, knowing well what I was going to order. I asked for a half a rack of ribs and the woman kindly responded that they took cash only. I immediately panicked as I hadn’t been able to reach an ATM yet and was out of cash. What shocked me the most was when the woman told me she would give me the ribs and I could come back and pay here that day once I got to an ATM. Luckily, my friend Claire had a ten-dollar bill and took care of it for me, but I was extremely appreciative of the respect and honor that woman gave to me, knowing that if it came down to it, I would of course come back with the cash. My next question to her was where they were from. She said she and her mobile restaurant partners had driven all the way from Ohio to be at this event and were on their way to several others afterwards.


Digging into the first rib, I was immediately in barbecue heaven. It was like nothing I had ever tasted before. The glaze was thinner than I had expected but had the perfect blend of acidity and sweetness that every good barbecue should have. The base was clearly tomato, also something I had never experienced before. Finally, the pork melted right off the bone, and I finished all six ribs and made sure to lick my fingers after and tell the vendor how much I loved them.


After sitting and watching the band play while eating my ribs, we decided to walk around a little more to get a sense of what other vendors there were. We had been to a few festivals and farmer’s markets already on our journey and were happy to see that this festival had all local soap, candle, and craft vendors—nothing too commercial. Everyone we talked to was extremely kind and friendly, and it was amazing to see how many outreach groups were there spreading their information and trying to reach out to the community. Overall, this was the most comfortable I felt on our entire trip, as there wasn’t a moment that I felt like we didn’t fit in or felt like tourists.

Taylorsville’s 38th Annual Apple Festival

By Micaela Soucy

The town of Taylorsville is nestled between two major North Carolina cities, Winston-Salem and Charlotte. It lies just off of Highway 64 at the cross section of Highway 90 and Highway 16. Driving into town we passed many commercial shops and restaurants crowded together. This gave the impression of a town influenced by financial gain instead of a town dedicated to its locals and the mom and pop shops that come with such a town.


However, the amount of people attending the Taylorsville Apple Festival that day gave a completely different impression. The website for the festival claims “the Taylorsville Apple Festival is held on the third Saturday of October and draws thousands of visitors to enjoy the day of entertainment, food and fun!” One thing they got right was the number of attendees the event draws in. Walking through the streets of downtown Taylorsville felt like pushing my way to the front of the crowd at a concert, a never-ending struggle against bodies also pushing in all directions.  


This festival has been around since 1988, which makes this year’s the 29th annual festival. Each year approximately 35,000 attendees pack the downtown streets lined with booths and food carts. Three stages are set up throughout the town also, featuring youth performers, gospel performers and more. Crowds stand or seat themselves in front of these stages to enjoy the music with family and friends. A big grassy area houses the Kid’s Korner, which features blow up slides with lines of kids and a decent sized petting farm with goats, ponies and even a camel.


Venturing up and down the streets, we were highly disappointed with the items and food that we saw. The table booths displayed repetitive articles of jewelry, clothing and art. A lot of it didn’t even look like it had been handmade. We were expecting booths that would feature items one would see at a craft fair, but it wasn’t the case. As for the food. Being an apple festival we imagined there being different types of foods made with apples. Candy apples, apple pie, apple sauce, apple cobbler. We also thought there would be tons of different kinds of apples to purchase. However, the only things we saw were apple cider and one small tent selling a few types of apples. The majority of the food stands sold fair food: fried dough, nachos, pretzels, cotton candy, etc.


We had arrived to the festival at around 2:00 p.m. and despite having a semi-big lunch we were craving something to fill our stomachs. As we passed food stand by food stand and only saw fair food, we came to the realization we weren’t going to find anything better. We had to eat something they were selling. As we passed one food truck the same word slipped out of all our mouths at the same time: “Dapples…”


Our minds immediately went to the assignment we had in class where we had to write about a time we tried a new, weird food. Upon approaching the truck, we were greeted by a friendly young woman. “What’s a dapple?” we asked.


“A dapple is an apple ring fried in donut batter.”


That was all she needed to say. We were convinced. Even knowing I have a gluten allergy, I still wanted to eat a dapple. The three of us eagerly received the cardboard tray full of fried apple rings sprinkled in powdered sugar.


My first bite into the fluffy exterior was like heaven to my taste buds, especially since I haven’t eaten anything containing gluten for quite some time. However, as soon as my tongue touched the apple slice, it was immediately revolted. It was hot and slimy and seemed like the apple taste had been cooked right out of it. The texture was the weird part though because it contrasted too much with the doughnut dough.


Upon completing the dapples we realized our stomachs weren’t agreeing with the fried apple slices. Unfortunately, it was a day full of disappointments. I think this stemmed from the fact that our expectations were vastly different from reality. Had we done more research we might have known what we were getting ourselves into.


Despite my unenthusiastic assessment of the Taylorsville Apple Festival, the other attendees appeared to enjoy their time there. I don’t encourage readers to think that my experience is necessarily going to be their experience. Events like this are all what each individual makes of it. I do encourage readers to visit and explore the festival to experience it on their own.

Never Blue

By Jenny Kane

Hendersonville is a lively town home to a variety of shops and restaurants that line the downtown streets. Arriving on a beautiful Friday afternoon in October, we were able to witness the hustle and bustle of the throng of tourists and locals as they sat out sipping drinks at cafes or browsed the shelves in the locally owned shops. Smiling faces greeted us everywhere we went, providing a warm sense of welcome.


The streets of Hendersonville at night are much emptier than during the daytime hours. However, the people that once populated the streets are now seated in the various restaurants enjoying a delicious and filling dinner. With the amount of options available in the town it’s amazing anyone is able to come to a decision. There are restaurants for those craving a quick bite in a casual setting, for those hoping for a longer meal with multiple courses, and for those looking for something in between.


Jenny and I spent our night at the bar of Never Blue, a restaurant known for their offerings of tapas that feature a variety of cuisines from around the world. And honestly, I don’t think there is enough buzz surrounding this place. We ordered an assortment of tapas so that we could experience the many tastes they claim to offer. We started with the hummus plate that came with fried naan bread, carrots, celery and house pickles, and the chili-garlic shrimp, which consisted of mini shrimp swimming in a spicy-sweet house-made chili garlic sauce. The hummus, while still good, was nothing special and tasted like something I could have picked up from the grocery store. The shrimp, however. Oh, the shrimp! Now I’m a huge shrimp person as it is, but the sauce was just the right amount of spicy and sweet and had the perfect mixture of chili and garlic. It was my favorite dish of the entire trip.


From there we ordered separate dishes based on our own interests. Jenny got the beans and rice and the tuna poke. I got the eggplant fries and an al pastor taco. The eggplant fries were nothing like what I expected them to be, but that was probably because I was expecting something similar to a real French fry. The consistency, however, was very different. These fries were much softer and mushier, which left a weird texture in my mouth, almost like baby food. And you definitely have to enjoy the taste of eggplant in order to enjoy these fries. The taco, which had pork and onions and a pineapple salsa on a corn tortilla, was another one of my favorites from the weekend. I am a huge fan of incorporating pineapple into as many dishes as possible (yes, this means I like pineapple on pizza), so the fact that this ingredient was a factor in the taste just made it all the better.


The friendly atmosphere of Never Blue only added to the feast we enjoyed that night. Sitting at the bar allowed us to converse with other restaurant patrons, something that helped us gain valuable knowledge about not only Hendersonville, but also some of the other towns on our itinerary. But out of all the places we traveled to that weekend, our experience at Never Blue is the one that I value the most. My stomach will eventually lead me back to Hendersonville and the exquisite cuisine at Never Blue.