North Carolina is a dreamy place with its big Smoky Mountains and diverse population. There's Appalachia and there's the touristy coast and fiercely proud-yet-friendly folks everywhere. We coasted into eastern North Carolina close to Greensboro to stay with our farming friend Rachel Milford and her host, C.L. Hickerson (in the above portrait). We accompanied Rachel to the Paperhand Puppet Intervention, a remarkable troupe that she interns with and were duly impressed with the huge and incredibly creative puppets there. We also got to go to the Ashboro farmers market with her to sell her chard and carrots and basil and herbs. We celebrated solstice with C.L. and friends and learned to make bowls sing, beat drums, and had a potluck. We basked in the company of good people.
These two were remarkably helpful; Adam Ross is a young agriculture agent at the Asheboro cooperative extension. Coop Agents are a boon to us on the trip, often able to connect us to farmers we otherwise would never think to contact. He not only gave us three terrific contacts (a chicken farmer, an old timer with cattle, and a father-son dairy), but he an intern accompanied us on a blitz around the county, visiting them all in one day. Thanks Adam! Your help was...well...helpful! We appreciate people like him taking an interest in this project, making it possible, and giving it depth.