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Farm to Fork Picnic weekend tickets on sale

“Healthy Foods, Healthy Kids” is the theme for the Center for Environmental Farming Systems’ 2016 Farm to Fork Picnic Weekend, set for June 3-5. Tickets are on sale now at

Proceeds from the event benefit beginning farmer training programs at the Center for Environmental Farming Systems and the W.C. Breeze Family Farm Agricultural Extension and Research Center. CEFS — a partnership of NC State University, North Carolina A&T State University and the N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services — is one of the nation’s most important centers for research, extension, and education in sustainable agriculture and community-based food systems.

Friday evening’s family-friendly feast at the Haw River Ballroom in Saxapahaw on Friday evening will feature special guest Deb Eschmeyer (invited*), executive director of Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! initiative and co-Founder of FoodCorps, a national organization whose mission is to connect kids to healthy food in schools. An inspirational conversation with three North Carolina FoodCorps service members will start the program, followed by a talk by Eschmeyer about the importance of engaging youth in the food system and physical activity.

The dinner will feature delicious food by PICNIC, ice cream from NC State University’s Howling Cow creamery and drinks provided by The Haw River Brewery and the Haw River Wine Man. There will also be a a lively, kid-friendly square dance led by Randy Lewis of the award-winning documentary The Last Barn Dance, bluegrass with Tommy Edwards and the Bluegrass Experience, and entertainment by the Paperhand Puppet Intervention!

Saturday evening festivities, including a five-course dinner prepared jointly by James Beard Award-winning Chef Andrea Reusing of Lantern Restaurant and President Obama’s former personal chef and assistant White House chef Sam Kass, will be at The Durham Hotel in downtown Durham. Kass, who has served as President Obama’s senior policy advisor for nutrition, will offer thoughts on children’s nutrition and how to help children achieve healthier lifestyles. The event will also feature wine pairings presented by sommelier Maximilian Kast of the Fearrington House Restaurant and entertainment by the Grammy-nominated John Brown Jazz Band.

On Sunday will be the annual Farm to Fork Picnic, for which more than three dozen chefs will produce bite-size delectable dishes featuring local, seasonal ingredients grown by some of the area’s best farmers. The event also will feature 14 local food artisans and breweries, each providing samples of their products, and local wine, coffee and tea companies offering libations. Local bands Big Fat Gap and the Holland Brothers will provide live music.

For more info and to buy tickets visit Farm to Fork Picnic Weekend is presented by Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina.

*As a White House official, Deb Eschmeyer cannot confirm any appearance until just prior to the event.

JJ Richardson