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Charlotte farmer/chef plans TV series on local food in NC

harvestmoon0408
T. Ortega Gaines - ogaines@charlotteobserver.com
Chef/farmer Cassie Parsons of Grateful Growers Farm in Denver, N.C., is working with two producers on a public TV series that she hopes will get picked up and debut next year.

A Charlotte-area chef and farmer may be dishing the real dirt on North Carolina food next year, if plans for a new public TV series work out.

Chef/farmer Cassie Parsons of Grateful Growers Farm in Denver, N.C., is working with two producers on a series that would be called “Parson’s Table” that they hope would debut in March 2015.

Julia Edmunds, who works with Parsons and her partner, Natalie Veres, is a producer on the show and says they plan to focus on farmers, chefs and food production. The show would begin in North Carolina in the first season, then expand into the Southeast and eventually other regions of the country in other seasons.

“It’s about how to be a locavore,” Edmunds said. “What does it mean to eat locally, what does it mean to eat seasonally?” The show would include cooking demonstrations and also would have an emphasis on how to feed a family local food on a budget.

Parsons is working with two executive producers, Brian O’Reilly, who was the producer of the Food Network show “Dinner: Impossible,” and Leland Gregory of Nashville, Tenn., who wrote for “Saturday Night Live” during the 2000 season and also is known for a series of humor books.

Edmunds originally approached them about doing video for Parsons’ website, but they convinced Parsons to shoot a pilot for a TV show instead.

While the producers are still working on lining up sponsors for the show, UNC-TV has expressed interest. Shannon Vickery, director of production, said that while they don’t commit to shows until they see the finished product, they have voiced interest and support of the concept.

Vickery said shows such as “A Chef’s Life,” with Kinson chef Vivian Howard, and “Flavor NC” have shown that viewers have an appetite to see how food gets to their table.

“We’re keeping in touch with them,” she said Friday.

Edmunds said there also are plans for several books out of the series, written by O’Reilly and Gregory with recipes by Parsons. They are in discussions with several publishers, she says.

Gregory said Friday that he doesn’t have a food background, but got interested in the project because of Parsons’ enthusiasm for local food systems.

“She’s very passionate about the whole sustainability and using wholesome foods and locally grown. Cassie is on the cutting edge of that.”

Purvis: 704-358-5236
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