Jodi Helmer, originally from Toronto, and more recently living in California and Oregon, moved to Charlotte in 2007. She is the author of Moon Charlotte Travel Guidebook, and has also written for Charlotte Magazine and Where Charlotte. She teaches classes at CPCC and graduated from Queens with an MFA in creative non fiction. She also writes for National Geographic Traveler, Shape, Arrive, Natural Health, Woman’s Day and WebMD. Right now, she’s working on a travel guidebook to the Blue Ridge Parkway. Knowing about Jodi’s passion for eating local, I asked her for her top five spots in Charlotte to eat local food. Here’s what she said:
Making reservations at a farm-to-table restaurant often means bringing bushels of cash to cover the tab. Eating locally grown foods doesn’t have to be expensive. In fact, ordering a meal at one of these five farm-to-table favorites is cheaper than you might think:
Harvest Moon Grille: The Uptown restaurant serves up produce, pork and eggs from local farms. The bulk of the ingredients come from Grateful Growers Farm in nearby Lincoln County, which is operated by farmers-turned-restaurateurs Cassie Parsons and Natalie Veres. Stop in for breakfast ($6 to $12) to experience fresh-from-the-farm foods like Pulled Pork Benedict and Fried Pork Chop and Eggs served in one of the hottest restaurants in Uptown. 235 N. Tryon Street
Roots Farm Food: The food truck revolution has made it easier than ever to find local foods on the go. With his Roots Farm Food truck parked on the corner of Tryon and 3rd streets, farmer and chef Craig Barbour dishes up healthy dishes to hurried customers. The menu changes daily but always includes produce from local farms. Most of the grab-and-go meals are priced under $7. Tuesday through Thursday, 3rd and Tryon. Other locations.
Atherton Mill and Market: Housed in a former cotton mill, the Atherton Mill and Market in SouthEnd is part farmers market, part gourmet grocer. Purchase the ingredients for a farm fresh supper direct from local farmers or order lunch from the vendors who often use ingredients from the market to make delicious takeout dishes. 2104 South Boulevard
7th Street Public Market: The centerpiece of the Uptown market is a farm stand selling produce, meat, eggs and dairy products from regional producers like Beam Family Farms, Big Oaks Farm and Homeland Creamery. The market also serves as an incubator for boutique food businesses. Order lunch or dinner from Fran’s Filling Station or Pure Pizza where the menus reflect the bounty of local, seasonal produce. 224 East 7th Street
Whole Foods Market: The natural foods behemoth might be better known as “Whole Paycheck” because the prices for organic, gourmet goods can be expensive but the brand new store in SouthPark does stock a great selection of locally grown produce and specialty foods from regional producers. Buying locally made sauces or veggies can add an extra zing to your favorite meal. 6610 Fairview Rd.
More Charlotte Top Five lists from people in the know:
Dion Lim: Charlotte’s top five places for unique cheap eats
Tom Hanchett: Charlotte’s top five war history sites
Rebecca Plaisance: Charlotte’s top five places for kids
David Childers: Charlotte’s top five places to hear live music