When I was a kid, I spent all kinds of time on farms; my dad was in the farming biz at various points, as was my grandfather. When I went to college, I spent a summer sustainable development internship living on a farm. I milked goats at sunrise, tended to sheep and chickens, managed a productive organic garden, made cheese, slept on a cot in a barn with spiders for roommates–it was all very quaint—take my word for it. Suffice it to say, I adore farms. The fields, the animals, the smells and sounds, and even the slower and more deliberate pace of life.
So when Alicia Wagner, once an event coordinator for Charlotte Country Club before leaving for North Corner Haven, got in touch about this opportunity, I jumped at the chance. Partly I was so excited because I’d had so many fantastic experiences with weddings coordinated by Alicia at CCC, but I also just wanted to get back on a farm. The whole deal went to an even sweeter level when Alicia told me what I’d be shooting. It would be a party with the vibe of an “adult hippy day camp.” The guests would be shooting clay pigeons, fishing, taking farm tours, playing with goats, wearing flower crowns, and the like, all while donning some pretty spectacular apparel from Capitol, the luxury clothing boutique in Charlotte. Capitol, owned by Laura Vinroot Poole, was throwing the party to commemorate 20 years of business—the invitees were her loyal clientele, Capitol employees, and more than a few members of Charlotte’s elite. So, a gorgeous natural setting, beautiful clothes, incredible flowers and food, and happy people. I was sold, and so curious to see how it would all come together.
The answer: ridiculously, absurdly pretty. For one, the farm itself, which is located just outside of Charlotte in Lancaster, SC, is beautifully appointed. The mix of gorgeous vistas and rustic structures offered about the most amazing photographic palette I could have asked for. During the party, workers from the farm made rounds with a baby goat and a baby cow for guests to interact with (pretty stinkin’ cute), or guests could visit with Beekeeper Bill as he worked with his colony. The flowers, provided by John Lupton, set the perfect bohemian vibe–you’ll notice many of the guests even wearing flower crowns in their hair, which made everything look even more magical–especially when they hopped in the baby blue, ’74 VW bus which doubled as a photo booth. There was a tree swing adorned with flowers for guests to enjoy, baskets of Kantha quilts to snuggle under once the sun went down, bonfires for added light and warmth, and candles and twinkly lights everywhere you looked.
And then there was the food. The party was catered by Jim Noble, the owner of Roosters and King’s Kitchen. If you have ever eaten at one of his other establishments then you know–the food was incredible. His new venture, Noble Smoke, will be arriving soon in South End. Anything he didn’t provide was sourced from North Corner Haven itself; their contributions to the menu included the pork butt, the spare ribs, and the greens and veggies for the salad. From what I could glean, this is the basic philosophy of North Corner Haven, to provide for the events that take place there as much as they can from their own stock.
The soundtrack for the night was provided by Lee Fields and The Expressions. They rocked, and it shouldn’t go unsaid that Lee Fields has been throwing down his soulful sound since just about the dawn of time; his first release came in 1969, right when the R&B sound was born. He and his band provided the perfect compliment for the party. That man was pretty awe inspiring.
I had such a fantastic time capturing this party. Congratulations to Capitol for 20 years of success, and to North Corner Haven for the unveiling of such a lovely and truly unique venue. I hope to return many times, shooting weddings or parties, or really just to walk around and love on some animals. I could listen to Bill talk about bees for hours. Next time I won’t wear black though. Bill advised me to keep a little distance from the colony as we chatted so they don’t accidentally confuse me for a bear.
Venue: North Corner Haven
Event Coordinator: Alicia Wagner of NCH
Host: Laura Vinroot Poole of Capitol
Floral and Event Design: John Lupton
Catering: Noble Smoke
Photo Booth: The Little Blue Photo Bus
Rentals: Old South Vintage Rentals
Stage and Rentals: CE Rental
Lighting and Audio Visual: Eye Dialogue
Thank you to my second photographer, Emily, who helped to create this beautiful collection of images.
I am happily donating my photography services this Saturday night in support of my friend, Lynn, who lost her sister, Melissa, to a life long battle with an eating disorder that ultimately claimed Melissa’s life. I am honored to participate in such a special night that will hopefully raise boo coos of money for the Hope Scholarship which provides financial support to those battling eating disorders who can not afford the treatment they so desperately need. Read more about Lynn’s story below. Hope to see you there!
Enjoy 4 Wine Tastings, Music, and Cuisine Sampling from 15 of Charlotte’s Best Restaurant/Markets, Yummy Desserts from Amelie’s and Edible Art and Delicious Magnolia Coffee! All of this as you move through 4 Exquisite Art Galleries in the Myers Park & Selwyn area of Charlotte. There is even a special ‘Lip & Sip’ stop along the way and after crawl shopping this year!
SIP & SAVOUR Myers Park Gallery Crawl is mostly about Saving Lives! All event proceeds benefit Melissa’s Voice Foundation and the HOPE Scholarship funding eating disorder treatment. Help bring a voice to those battling eating disorders! Help raise awareness….Help raise much needed funds to help those in need of costly treatment….Help save a friend!
Cost is $35.00
Includes-Art, Cuisine, Wine, Champagne, Music
Get Tickets: http://
6:00 PM — Check in at Allison Sprock Fine Art for Crawl Map & Directions
6:00 — 8:00 PM Allison Sprock Fine Art
6:00 — 8:00PM Providence Gallery & Bond Street Wine & Jeffre Scott ‘Lip & Sip’
7:00 — 9:00 PM McColl Fine Art
7:30 — 10:00 PM Shain Gallery
Last year’s SIP & SAVOUR event was a sellout with over 400 attendees! So….Reserve your tickets today! It’s a Great Girls Night, A Great Date! It’s a Great Solo Night Out! No matter, it is just a Great Night!
EVENT WILL GO ON ~ RAIN OR SHINE!!!!
The spring issue of Edible Charlotte magazine hit stands on March 1st. Find out where to pick up your copy here, or come out and raise a glass (on us!) to the new issue at NODA Brewing Company today from 4-7 pm. Grab a pint of the new Jam Session Pale Ale or, one of my favorites, the Midnight Madness Black IPA.
This issue may have been the most fun for me yet. I had the pleasure of meeting Dave Krabbe and Kathryn Spann of Prodigal Farms in Rougemont, NC. They operate a goat-centric, Animal Welfare Approved dairy, creating a variety of goats milk cheeses, chevre cakes and breads made from the milk’s whey. After spending the afternoon touring their beautiful 97-acre farm and learning how happy goats are the foundation of their business, I was delighted to be sent home with one of their goat’s milk blueberry cheesecakes and, let me tell you, it was divine!
My visit to the local muscadine winery, Treehouse Vineyards, in Monroe tapped into memories from my childhood, where I spent my earliest summers chasing my grandparent’s Saint Bernards, Ben and Buck, through my Grandaddy’s 350+ acres of grapevines in York, SC–careful to avoid the piles of boulders that my grandmother swore were rife with snakes. One sip of Treehouse’s Sweet Union during the tasting took me right back to sitting in the shade of the vines, bringing the thick flesh of a scuppernong to my lips, squeezing the freckled fruit gently with both hands, and releasing the sweet and juicy deliciousness into my mouth. Heaven–if in heaven I am wearing a terrycloth jumper.
Then I had the pleasure of working with my sweet hubby, Mark, for the piece on Southend’s own, Lenny Boy Brewing. Not another beer brewery, although I would be the last to complain if it was, Lenny Boy’s Townes Mozer is the proud producer of Raw Kombucha Tea. Although I consider myself to be a consistent purveyor of healthy eats, I had never tried Kombucha before, or “Booch” as it is often referred to by its regular consumers. It was like nothing I had ever tasted and I was hooked from the first sip. It is an effervescent, fermented tea, chock full of beneficial probiotics and B vitamins. Townes offers a variety of flavors in the taproom, open Sundays, or you can pick up a bottle at any of these local spots.
Finally, I met Ron Morgan of One Hundred Gardens who, along with his partners Sam Fleming and Charlie Oliphant, is working to connect the Charlotte community to struggling communities in Haiti through the establishment of aquaponic gardens–66 educational gardens built in the Charlotte area and 33 high yield systems sent to Haiti that can each provide nourishment for over 3 dozen people a day. As an avid home gardener, I knew this assignment was right in my wheelhouse. After spending the morning with Ron, one of the most charming, passionate and inspiring people I have met in a long time, I left feeling, as my dear friend Jillian would say, as if I could have sopped him up with a biscuit.So come on down to NODA Brewing Company this afternoon and grab your copy. Cheers![subscribe2]
Being a photographer might just be the best job in the world. Everyday it is something different. Sure, some days I am stuck behind a computer–those days are not my favorite– but everyday that I am not is entirely unpredictable. Yesterday, I had the pleasure of visiting with Kat and Dave of Prodigal Farms in Rougemont, NC for an upcoming local farm piece for Edible Charlotte. I spent the afternoon touring their gorgeous 92-acre retired tobacco farm, which now functions as a goat dairy, producing scrumptious, hand crafted cheeses, chevre cakes and breads made from whey.
Ever since I spent a college summer on an organic farm in Tennessee tending to crops as well as the chickens, sheep and goats, I have had a sweet spot in my heart for farm animals, especially goats. If you have never met one personally, they are incredibly charming. My husband, Mark, and I have been in talks to get some chickens in the backyard come springtime. However, spending time with the affectionate and goofy Prodigal herd yesterday rekindled my goat-love with a vengeance. Maybe there is room for a goat or two? Who knows. I think Mark is afraid he will come home and find them in the kitchen. He should be afraid.
I am a good wife. My husband, Mark, has never doubted for one second how much he is loved by me, and I tell him all the time just in case he does. He is my absolute favorite person in the entire world to buy gifts for. He is actually one of the only people I BUY gifts for. I have always done the homemade gift thing since I started getting crafty with my sewing machine back in college. I have since expanded my craftiness well beyond the sewing machine, and Mark has been the delighted recipient of some very thoughtful homemade presents from me over the years. The thing is, he is the kind of guy who NEVER buys things for himself. A shopping spree for him is when he goes out right before the school year starts and buys himself a few new button downs, some new undershirts and (maybe) a new pair of pants or a cardigan, that is, if he is feeling really indulgent. He will be the first to say he doesn’t need something and put it back on the shelf and walk away. I am not complaining, I am very practical myself. I love that he is like that too. That is why I love surprising him with that super awesome whatever that’s at the top of his mental wishlist, even if he would never admit he wanted it.
When he got into healthy cooking a few years back, I made it my mission to stock our kitchen with all the cookbooks, cooking tools and gadgets he could possibly need to go in whatever culinary direction his mood dictated at the moment. It has taken many gift giving occasions to fill in all the blanks, but we are almost there. He can make pretty much whatever he wants. From delicious whole wheat spinach pasta topped with his herb-infused tomato sauce to double-crust apple pie with an orange zest and flax seed whole wheat crust–the guy can do it all. Now, he comes home from teaching all day, gets into his comfy clothes and unwinds by making a scrumptious meal from scratch in our tiny kitchen. All I do is stock the pantry and fridge, he takes care of the rest. Seriously, I don’t remember the last meal I prepared. I make a delicious chicken tortilla soup, so it was probably that, on same occasion when Mark was feeling under the weather and I insisted he stay out of the kitchen.
Since the beginning of Edible Charlotte this past summer, Mark, who writes novels and short stories when he is not in the classroom or the kitchen, has been writing the local alcohol article for each issue of the magazine. The best part is that we actually get to work together on all the alcohol articles for each issue since I shoot the accompanying photography. When Mark interviewed head brewer Chad Henderson of NODA Brewing Company for the first issue, he learned that Chad’s humble beginnings were as a hobby home brewer. Now Chad and brewery co-owner Todd Ford collaborate to craft some of the best beer in town for all of us to enjoy. If you haven’t been there, you have to go. Raise a Coco Loco in my honor. If you can’t make it to the taproom, you can pick up a pint here.
Last Fall I started scheming. I knew the Edible Charlotte piece really peaked Mark’s interest in brewing, and one of Mark’s closest friends, Daniel, is a very accomplished home brewer in Knoxville, TN. I got in touch with Daniel and mentioned that I might be in the market to get Mark up and running with his own basement brewery as a holiday gift. Daniel was beyond thrilled! He helped me piece together the perfect collection of start up tools from Rebel Brewer in Nashville, TN to ensure Mark would have everything he needed to make his home brew dreams a reality. We secretly marked off the first weekend in January for Mark and I to visit Knoxville so Mark and Daniel could brew the first batch together. I won’t give away too much of the story since Mark will be writing about his experience for a future issue of Edible Charlotte magazine, perhaps this summer when he has a few batches of beer behind him. For now, I will share this image with you: two dear friends and beer lovers, gathering brewing water from a local spring that is rumored to have healing properties. Ah-dorbs.