April McGreger

April McGreger is the proprietor of Farmer's Daughter, a farm-driven artisan food business in Carrboro, N.C. She is a leader in her local Slow Food convivium, where she is known to curate field pea tastings and write for the Slow Food Triangle blog. When not in the kitchen, she can usually be found at her local community garden or singing and playing the tenor banjo with her husband Phil.

Take the chill off the bad economy with a frugal, delicious vegetable soup

Photo: Library of Congress In our food system, the part of the animal that delivers the most flavor — the bones — often gets thrown away. Purveyors then sell the boneless meat at a higher price. During hard times, such wasteful practices come into relief. We explore humbler, bone-in cuts of meat and underappreciated vegetables. And we begin to take leftovers seriously, putting them to use in other dishes. Amazingly, our cuisine actually benefits from this frugality. Winter is the ideal time for trying your hand at such rustic, country-style dishes. Tough cuts of meat simmered slowly for hours transform …

Maintaining healthy wild-oyster beds isn't quite as easy as oyster pie

Pearl, interrupted. I have long been partial to oysters. But it wasn’t until a few years ago that I came to understand the environmental challenges they face. Many folks assume that water pollution poses the main threat to oysters. Turns out the real damage comes from water scarcity — specifically, a lack of freshwater draining into coastal areas, often due to overdevelopment. At a Southern Foodways Alliance a couple of years ago, I was lucky enough to hear a talk by Robb Walsh, a Houston-based food journalist. Walsh had heard about the attempts of conservationists and the states that border …

Long forgotten, chestnuts are coming back with a vengeance, and make a delicious holiday pudding

  Nuts about chestnuts.   I first learned about chestnuts from “The Christmas Song” (most likely, the Chipmunks’ version), not from tasting one. That happened much later. A couple of years ago, a farmer brought locally grown chestnuts to the back door of the restaurant where I worked. My coworkers and I were excited to see them and, of course, we wanted some. However, we had no idea what to do with them in their raw form — not one of us had ever cooked with them. Chestnuts seemed almost exotic to us — I assumed they must be of …

Thanksgiving can reconnect families and revive traditions — like sweet potato rolls

Sweet potato rolls.Photos: April McGregerI remember the look on my grandfather’s face when I tried to politely explain that I couldn’t eat the giblet gravy or the dressing (known in other parts of the country as “stuffing”) that I had always relished. The reason, I informed him, was that I was a vegetarian; those old favorites contained turkey broth. He replied with a blank stare. It was a completely isolating experience. In a family where preparing and sharing food is our strongest form of emotional currency, my rejection of my family’s food was a rejection of their affection and a …

When farmers and activists get together, food culture ferments like delicious sauerkraut

  The Carrboro Farmers Market in North Carolina.     Photo: North Carolina Cooperative Extension   “Thank God, she’s not another one of those community activists.” I was at Terre Madre, Slow Food’s biennial international meeting of farmers, food producers, academics, cooks, and youth delegates in Turin, Italy. I had just introduced myself to a couple of meat farmers from Oregon at the communal dinner table at our hotel. I was at Terra Madre as a food producer — a jam and pickle maker from North Carolina. Actually, I am an activist, but in the same way that I’m a …

How to make a meal from your market basket

  Turning market treats into good eats.   On a recent trip to the farmers market, I found a mountain of leafy greens of all different hues and textures. I couldn’t resist buying four varieties: rainbow chard, red Russian kale, an Asian green similar to spinach, and escarole. Cooler weather also means the arrival of cooler-weather herbs like cilantro, and I tucked a bunch into my market basket too. Later in the week, when it was time to make dinner, I surveyed the contents of the refrigerator and the pantry. I realized I’d gotten a little carried away buying greens, …

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