Last fall Colleen Minton launched TerraVITA (, an educational food and wine event held on the lawn at Southern Village in Chapel Hill ( Vendors poured dozens of biodynamic and organic wines and microbrews; area chefs dished samples of locally grown foods; and four lecturers talked about issues of sustainability. Amid the booze and food, you can guess which part of the event was the least attended, although a survey of guests indicated widespread interest in the classroom component. In an effort to maintain its educational focus beyond exposure to available foods and wines, Minton has created a Sustainable Classroom with sessions that are separate from the tastings for TerraVITA’s second year, taking place Saturday, Sept. 24.

TerraVITA kicks off at 9:30 a.m. with the Sustainable Classroom series, which includes four concurrent 35-minute sessions held in the Lumina Theatre at Southern Village. Tickets to the Sustainable Classroom ($35) provide admission to the entire set of discussions, and attendees can choose between one of four classes during each session.

The Grand Tasting begins afterward at 1 p.m. All-inclusive tickets to the tasting are $65 (a designated driver ticket that excludes alcohol is available for $55). A combined tasting and classroom ticket option is also available for $90.

The Grand Tasting will feature close to 100 wines from retailers, importers and distributors. In addition, about a dozen other craft beverages will be on-site, including coffee, beer and Kombucha, and restaurants and producers will offer bite-sized food. This year’s participants range from Charlotte’s Harvest Moon Grille, Kinston’s Chef & the Farmer and Asheville’s French Broad Chocolate Lounge to more than a dozen local participants including Carrboro’s Glasshalful, Raleigh’s Escazu Artisan Chocolates, Durham’s Farmhand Foods and Chapel Hill Creamery. For more information about participants and events and to order tickets, visit TerraVITA’s website.

At 9 a.m. on Saturday, Sept. 10, the Carrboro Farmers’ Market ( will host its own local food tasting. For their 9th Annual Chefs Event, six chefs will create “All-American” themed dishes with food that’s available at the market.

This year’s participants include Jeff Barney of the Saxapahaw General Store and The Eddy, Kevin Callaghan of ACME, Adam Rose of Il Palio, Matt and Sheila Neal of Neal’s Deil, Seth Kingsbury of Pazzo and Amy Tornquist of Watts Grocery. The event, explains the market’s assistant manager Erin Heiderman, is a celebration of those chefs who shop at the market regularly. It will also allow them an opportunity to “come out and showcase what they do.” Tastings will take place under the market’s central gazebo as long as supplies last. Chefs will provide recipes for each dish created.

To see and sample more local food where it’s produced, purchase tickets now for the 6th Annual Eastern Triangle Farm Tour (, taking place Sept. 17 and 18, 1–5 p.m. both days. Advance tickets ($25 per car or cycling group) are available on Carolina Farm Stewardship’s website, at the Triangle’s four Whole Foods Market locations and at Harmony Farms in Raleigh. Tickets are available at each participating farm on the event day for $30 per car or bike group.

Twenty-five farms will be open to the public this year. In addition, Bob Davis of the area’s popular Henside the Beltline Tour d’Coop will offer two talks about raising urban chickens: 1:30 p.m. on Saturday at the Inter-Faith Food Shuttle Farm in Raleigh and 2 p.m. on Sunday at SEEDS Garden in Durham. For more information, visit CFS online. Emily Wallace

Of the wedding gifts I received many years ago, there was only one I never used: the waffle iron. The mess and fuss of sloppy batter, the daunting task of cleaning each square of the irongive me a pancake instead.

Or give me the vegan waffle at Dame’s Chicken & Waffles ( The downtown Durham eatery has begun serving a vegan variety of the milk- and egg-laden breakfast mainstay.

The plate-sized waffle was thick and rich, with a whole-grain flavor and texture that caused me to pause and ponder: Could this be good for me? Like most vegan dessertsand let’s be serious, waffles are dessertthey aren’t as light as their fully animalized counterparts. But after weighting one in maple syrup or peanut butter (the latter if I’m trying to avoid a sugar crash), I’ve suffocated all the fluffiness out of it, anyway.

Dame’s buys a mix from Whole Foods and uses ingredients similar to those in vegan cakes, substituting nondairy beverages such as soy milk for cow’s milk. And as he brought my order, the waiter thoughtfully noted, “You probably don’t want butter with it, do you?”

Nope, but pass the maple syrup. Lisa Sorg