The invitation was for an Evening of Creative Optimism. It was a rather informal gathering amongst friends, "just dinner" said the host, Stephen Crotts, a Rock Hill friend, artist (he illustrated Ink & Fork's lovely banner) and food enthusiast. Of course, it's always so much more than that.
A night in Rock Hill, about 30 minutes south of Charlotte, is always worth the drive. The evening centered around a casual feast of local food- spring rolls filled with local peaches and fresh herbs, "country" pickles with szechuan peppers, cheese, charcuterie, the biggest bowl of pate I have seen to date, homemade wood-fired pizzas. and an amazing goat's milk panna cotta with South Carolina peaches and berries. I know, right? These people make beautiful things for me to put in my mouth.
Besides a fine evening with good people, the reason for the impromptu affair was to capitalize on a learning opportunity from visiting couple, Yvonne and Erich Schultz, who live and work in an unconventional, agriculturally centered community in Arizona called Agritopia. The Schultz's assist with farming the 15 acres of urban farm in a modern day village setting surrounded by 450 homes. In Agritopia, the focus is on community, much like the gathering that evening. Agritopia tries to eliminate the modern day barriers to community and offers an inclusive environment that fosters "radical" concepts like getting to know your neighbors.
The evening ended with fresh goat's milk panna cotta and a sweet performance by The Perfect Melancholies. It was a perfect Friday of nurturing the mind, belly and soul.