We’re in the thick of the celebration of the third annual North Carolina Craft Beer Month… Happy April! Here at the Saxapahaw General Store we are welcoming a brand new beer buyer from within our staff. Kevin Coble took on the position of beer buyer, and after six years of being a home brewer himself, brewing at Natty Greens, and working hard in the Saxapahaw General Store kitchen, we highly trust the opinions of our house Cicerone.
In celebration of NC beer month, we’ve asked Kevin to recommend some of his top picks. Kevin’s first pick is Haw River Farmhouse Ales’ Beneath the Feet of Orion Saison. Saison (French for ‘season’) is a beer typically brewed through the winter to be enjoyed in the warmer months of spring and summer. This particular saison is brewed with fresh ginger root from Pittsboro and 200 pounds of fresh carrots. It is a well-balanced, bright beer with just enough of a kick to make it perfect for drinking on warm spring and summer evenings. Haw River Farmhouse Ales’ owner, Ben Woodward is dedicated to brewing classically flavored beers with local ingredients and always a little twist to achieve great tasting and pairing brews, this one is no exception. With the warm weather; first blossoms of tulips, daffodils, and Bradford pear trees; and bursts of bright green, we say, “Tis the Saison!”
Haw River Farmhouse Ales brewery is located right here in Saxapahaw, NC. After four years of planning and preparation, brewmaster Ben Woodward opened his brewery in October 2014. The tasting room is open on Thursday and Friday from 4-8pm, and on Saturday and Sunday from 2-8pm. Make the trip out to Saxapahaw to try out Beneath the Feet of Orion, or one of the other great beers from Haw River Ales, like the Three Laws Black Saison, or their Oak-Aged Farmhouse on Persimmons. Keep up with events and new brews from Haw River Farmhouse Ales by checking in with them on Facebook, twitter @HawRiverAles, or Instagram: hawriverales.
Zingerman’s is the holy grail of leadership. They have perfected the art of customer service. They are the royalty of the service industry. Which is why we decided to send two of our team members to go learn from the best. We put Shauna and Alec on a plane and sent them off to Michigan! Shauna, our personnel manager, was accompanied by Alec, one of our kitchen leaders, for the “Leading with Zing!” two-day seminar.
Now, some might consider a trip to Michigan in the middle of January undesirable. Unpleasant, even. According to Shauna, the temperature was -15 when she arrived Sunday evening. But they persevered! They trudged through two feet of snow to attend their first seminar on Monday morning at the Zingerman’s training center. On their first day, they toured the Zingerman’s coffee house. Shauna loved the atmosphere, and she described feeling as if she had formed a relationship with the coffee growers, as their photos were proudly displayed on the walls. She also was able to form relationships with the other attendees of the program, who came all over from Michican and across the US. Shauna and her husband finished the day at the Zingerman’s roadhouse – the mack daddy of the Zingerman’s enterprise – for their anniversary dinner.
Tuesday was all about service leadership, sound visioning, and bottom up business strategies. Service leadership is a concept they described to me as “serving your co-workers as if they were customers.” This concept really resonated with Alec, and he was excited to implement this in the kitchen and throughout the general store. While Shauna said farewell to freezing cold weather on Tuesday, Alec stayed on for a few days to really get the Zingerman’s experience. He worked in the delicatessen, prepped at the roadhouse, and visited the farm. He saw the whole story from farm to table.
So be on the lookout for these hot shot leaders! They are back and ready to kick some customer service butt!
On a recent trip to Ireland, I had to opportunity to explore many small villages not unlike Saxapahaw. We drove down small winding roads, with livestock on either side, traveling through the irish countryside. I was reminded of my drive to work, down Saxapahaw Bethlehem Church Rd, passing the cows and wide open fields. As Ipull into Saxapahaw (pop. 1,648), I’m greeted by friendly faces and small town charm.
It was like this throughout Ireland as well. Upon arriving in a new town, we would explore to find a neighborhood grocery store, a welcoming pub, a lively music scene, and many small scale producers. Sound familiar? I began to appreciate the feeling of being somewhere that reminded me of home. It was comforting to recognize the patterns between small town Ireland and small town North Carolina – the humble farmers, the chatty bartenders, the lovingly prepared food. I was immediately filled with gratitude that this magical faraway place had a lot in common with this lil’ village called Saxapahaw.
The village itself is a concept that occurs frequently, but it can’t be replicated. Each tiny town is unique in its own way. Saxapahaw has its own originality, an eccentric identity found only here on the Haw River. Each place we visited had its own distinctive quirk, and it was incredible to witness the different interpretations of this concept. Saxapahaw has come from a long lineage of self-sustaining small villages, so different and yet so similar.
Trade out the falling down castles for falling down barns, and Ireland is not so different than here. But you won’t find another Saxapahaw in Ireland, that’s for sure.
Few dishes represent southern cuisine better than shrimp & grits. At first, shrimp & grits seem like an odd couple – seafood for breakfast? The concept is uncommon. But we can’t let that hold us back, for we would be depriving ourselves and others of this extremely compatible combination!
Often associated with the South, shrimp and grits originated in the low country of Georgia & South Carolina, specifically in Charleston. Due to it’s undeniable appeal, it then spread to the rest of the South, and then into other areas of the country. Chef Jeff was first introduced to this southern dish while working as a butcher in Durham alongside Andy McGowan (of Piedmont, Geer Street Garden, and The Boot in Durham). Now, our incarnation of this dish can be found on our weekend brunch menu (Saturday & Sunday 10-2 AM).
The best part about Shrimp & Grits? You can make it at home! Whether you’re entertaining guests, or having a decadent breakfast at home, this recipe will not disappoint. Here’s Jeff’s interpretation of this comfort food classic.
General Store Shrimp & Grits
Stone-Ground Grits (Guilford Mills is our favorite!)
Begin by preparing grits as directed by its packaging, according to serving size. Add white cheddar to your liking. While the grits are cooking, prepare bacon as you would normally, but on the crispy side. Cut or crumble bacon to be added in a later step. In a separate pan, saute button mushrooms, about six per person, followed by the shrimp (six per person). Then add bacon and garlic to taste. Add fresh squeezed lemon juice and tabasco sauce to kick it up a notch. Garnish with diced scallions.
This is our take on an iconic southern recipe. We hope brings a little southern flair to your kitchen!
Make it your best year yet by eating good, local food! Here at the Saxapahaw General Store, we source many of our ingredients from farms and producers in the triad & triangle. Without local farmers, we’d be nothing! With their help, we can create delicious and nutritious dishes. So much love and care goes into the food that has been grown & prepared in this little village. It’s a dream come true! Really, the reasons for eating local are endless, but here are a few more points to consider when you’re at the supermarket.
– Local food is fresher! The fresher the ingredients, the better it is for you. Nutritional value decreases when food travels longs distances. Not to mention, you don’t need to add preservatives to fresh food!
– It is easier to know what goes into your food when you buy close to the source! This especially helpful with local meat and produce. You can check all the facts regarding farming ethics and growing practices!
– Buying local can reduce the impact that food transportation on our environment. Gas emissions from a large trucks are serious business! Talk about a carbon footprint!
– Keep your dollars local! Supporting local farms & businesses help create more sustainable communities. We’ve gotta stick together to work towards a healthy future!
We are so grateful to being working in collaboration with so many inspiring folks in our local community. Thanks to everyone who has shown us support in 2014 – we couldn’t have done it without you. We look forward to a year full of fresh food and fun times all around!
P.S. See our “purveyors” page to check out some of the local farms/businesses/producers we work with from Alamance County and beyond!
In search of the perfect gift for a loved one or family member? Look no further! The Saxapahaw General Store Master Basket Crew has got you covered. These little elves are working hard to create unique gift baskets that will be sure to bring joy to all. There are baskets for everyone – filled with great gifts and local swag from our NC community. Here’s a sampling of what we have to offer:
-Try the Saxy Men’s basket for the handsome devil in your life – complete with Wild Carrot Mountain Man lotion and other men’s grooming items.
-Give the gift of relaxation with the Saxy Bath Basket, which includes everything one would ever need to chill out – bath salts, candles, and fancy soaps galore.
-Die hard beer fans in your life will be stoked to receive the Saxy Beer Basket, with a variety of North Carolina beers sure to exceed expectations.
-The Saxy Morning Basket is a great gift for the morning person in your life, complete with coffee, granola, and a coffee mug.
-The Saxy Sweets basket is perfect for anyone with a sweet tooth, full of chocolate delicacies and sweet treats.
-For the Saxy Snack Basket, we feature the best of our bulk section, from dried fruits to roasted nuts to agave gummy bears!
We can also make custom baskets with whatever you heart desires. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information! Happy holidays!
New to our shelves – Bearded Brothers organic energy bars! These energy bars will meet your every needs! They are 100% natural, nut free, raw, vegan friendly, gluten & soy free! And they even have compostable packaging! Flavors include outrageous orange kale, radical raspberry lemon, fabulous ginger peach, bodacious blueberry vanilla, and mega maca chocolate. Great for healthy snacking.
As everyone knows, some things just taste better during the colder months. Hot chocolate. Spicy chili. Dark beers. These are the things that make the cold weather worth it. Here are a few tried & true methods to help survive the brisk chills and frosty temperatures.
- Hot Chocolate/Hot Tea. Here at the store, we carry the Village Bakehouse’s very own hot chocolate blend. This beverage tastes like heaven, and will be sure to keep you warm on a cold winter’s evening. If chocolate is not to your liking, we also carry locally grown herbal tea blends, made by Suki Roth. Brew up a warm cup of Kava chai, add a dash of local honey from Piemonte Farms, and a little Homeland Creamery milk, and find a bonfire to cozy up to.
- Chili/Soup. As many folks know, North Carolina has a thriving local farming community. Here in the store, we carry local meat that has been ethically-raised, grass-fed, cage-free, the works. You can cook up a nice big pot of soup for your sniffling friends and family and rest assured you are providing them with a healing remedy. Add a can of beans, a pinch of spice, and transform your soup into chili. Feeling under the weather yourself? Come in for our homemade “Chicken Awesome” soup. This soup undergoes a 24-hour extraction to make the bone-broth base that really hits the spot.
- Dark Beer. This is a personal favorite method to chase the winter blues away. Look out for Foothills‘ People’s Porter, Highland’s Thunderstruck Coffee Porter, or Fullsteam’s First Frost Persimmon Ale. These beers are rich and robust, and best appreciated when temperatures drop. For the gluten-folks, we now carry Citizen Cider’s 22 oz “Dirty Mayor”, made with fresh ginger and Vermont small-orchard apples. If you’re a cocktail lover, be sure to check out our alternative beverage options from Crude Bitters & White Whale Bold Mixers. Both of North Carolina origin, these unique mixers will impress your most picky holiday guests.
- Dessert. Winter is the time for indulgences. Our shelves are dedicated to providing the best of the best, and our sweet treats are no exception. Try a Homeland Creamery ice cream sunday with some Fat Toad Farms Vanilla Bean Goats Milk Caramel. Not a caramel fan? Not a problem! Sub in some Farmer’s Daughter Peach with Vanilla Bean & Bourbon preserves or Fiddlehead Farms Salted Caramel Apple Butter. You could even just skip the ice cream and dive head first into a box of Olive & Sinclair’s hand made Duck Fat Caramels. Really, the options are endless. No matter you tastes, there is something for everyone.
These are our foolproof methods for winter survival. We hope they help you stay warm this winter!
It’s often assumed that the culinary world is split into two teams: you’re either a cook or a baker. Amelia Atkins had always considered herself to be on team ‘cook’. So how did she end up as our brilliant in-house baker at the Saxapahaw General Store? She first pursued her passion for cooking in Northern California, where she prepared thoughtful meals for summer program participants at an environmental center and working farm. Her journey then led her to Saxapahaw, where she joined the team here in the general store. It wasn’t until one fateful day in the General Store, when kitchen captain Jeff Barney observed that Amelia had demonstrated what he referred to as a “baker’s mentality.” And the rest is history!
Baking is no easy task – but gluten free baking takes to a whole other level. Gluten free baking requires strict attention to detail as well as heightened awareness of ingredients. These challenges, as well has her passion for making each item from scratch, makes Amelia a stellar baker of all grains. In addition to the love and care she adds to her recipes, she also has access to high quality ingredients. Among her arsenal of baking supplies includes many fair trade and certified organic products, as well as local gluten free baking mix provided by Imagine That Gluten Free of Durham, NC. She is especially proud to use coconut oil instead of vegetable oil in all of her creations.
Amelia’s baking is inspired by the mantra “necessity is the mother of invention.” She is resourceful in using local and seasonal fruit in her baking, one example being her delicious persimmon cheesecake. She utilizes fruit to her advantage in recipes by substituting fresh fruit for sugar, making her goods more naturally sweetened with less sugar added.
You can find her baked goods here in the store, as well as at the Cup 22 coffee shop located at the Haw River Ballroom. She takes special orders, from wedding cakes to birthday cakes to holiday pies. Gluten free or straight up, her creations are always delectable. Follow her journey through baking by checking out her personal blog: http://bakedbyamelia.wordpress.com/. She is always striving to learn and grow, which has led her to the Natural Chef program at CCCC. So lookout folks – more is yet to come! She will be taking special orders for all of your holiday needs (think Thanksgiving-Christmas-Hanukkah). Call or come into the store for inquiries.
Many, many thanks to the SGS staff, the catering crew, our families, and the dear friends of the store for a remarkable year. You are creative in your work, generous with your care, and bright in your presence. Our cups runneth over.
The happiest of holiday seasons to all. –Cameron, Jeff and Ella