Greenville may have missed out on the new Amazon facility. One Amazon exec stated: "We wanted to go to Greenville but...

Garner: Post and riposte

Bob Garner
1 of 3

Bob Garner


Sunday, July 8, 2018

Facebook back-and-forth can be civil but still confusing. This is a condensed online conversation I had this week.

(Me) Any family-farm Facebook friends know what this is in my backyard? Durn … looks like it will grow too tall to pass as ground cover or natural area.

(Farm guy) Looks to be Puncturevine/Mexican Sandbur.

(Me) Not a vine, though ... individual sprouts. My weed’s lobes are more rounded, but they’re babies and haven’t reached puberty.

(Same farm guy) Then my next best guess would be Mimosa Weed.

(Ironic non-farm friend) If you like it, pull it up. Then there will be more.

Jamaican friend posts picture of huge bush.

Maybe this is the bush growing in your back yard: Tamaryndy Drzewo Obraz Jadlny.

(Me joking) That isn’t a weed … it’s Russian meddling! Or — could that word simply be “Tamarind?”

(Jamaican friend) If so, please save me that tree. I love me some Tamarind in sauces and drinks.

(Me wildly exaggerating) It’s a million weeds sprouting, not a bush. It will soon be an orchard though. I can save you the expense of bringing it from Jamaica, since the trees will be bearing by Aug. 1. Let’s make a deal.

I come to a decision and try to be comically authoritative.

We have a winner — Tamarind. The seed is likely pooped by migratory birds from Florida, or more ominously, Honduras and Mexico. But this probably can serve as a ground cover if not mowed too short, and it’s earning its way by crowding out my crabgrass for no surcharge. Maybe give legal, temporary agricultural visa?

(Me sounding more cocky) I just stumbled into a preliminary rough-draft of my next column! Due when? Tomorrow, that’s when. Often last- minute, never too late. One man’s infestation is another’s (fill in blank). A Jamaican restaurateur just told me, “The frost will ruin everything.”

Uh oh. Totally new farm expert posts unexpected comment.

Tamarind trees have opposite leaflets. This plant appears to have alternate leaflets.

(Me vexed but still joking gamely) Buzzkill! I don’t know how much they change when they stop being sprouts and become trees. Apparently we’ll never know, since they’ve arrived only recently and no one around here knows what they are.

I change directions

Maybe it’s a column about Tamarind/Chamberbitter that’s not really about Tamarind/Chamberbitter at all.

New expert will not fall for deflection.

I see Chamberbitter, Wild Violets and Dog Fennel in that picture

(Me being cheeky) Of course you do. I see green yard. I’ve got too many other pressing concerns to look for another job or hobby. Whatever I am raising, it clearly isn’t grass or weed-free grounds. Even “Joy to the World” acknowledges “thorns infest(ing) the ground.”

(Me caving) OK, ____ has correctly upset my applecart, correctly identifying this as Chamberbitter. However, I’ve looked online and found you can buy chemicals to keep this invasion, aka “Gripeweed,” out of your domain at a prices ranging up to $6,000. I’ll correctly identify it, but now the general idea for the column has morphed into … Tamarind? Chamberbitter? Chamber pot? Who cares?

I begin back-pedaling

Glad I hadn’t already submitted the first column — already roughed out on Facebook. Glad I was corrected gently before a correction was required. Glad I’m not a botanist. Glad I have friends who are. Glad I can work on a different column while kibitzing with you nice folks on Facebook.

(Me talking now to “Buzzkill”) It was a little tacky, though, to also mention the wild violets and dog fennel identified in a photo of one square foot of my backyard. Don’t you need to get out more — maybe eat some ribs with me or something?

(“Buzzkill,” gracious in defeat) That would be my idea of barbecue heaven.

‘Turns out it took an NC State crypto-zoologist (for real) to identify the stuff. I’m definitely taking him out for ribs.

Bob Garner is a UNC-TV restaurant reviewer, freelance food writer, author of four cookbooks, barbecue pit master and public speaker. Contact him at bgarner2662@gmail.com. Visit this column on reflector.com for a video extra.


Humans of Greenville


Local photographer Joe Pellegrino explores Greenville to create a photographic census of its people.


November 14, 2018

Q I didn’t grow up eating berries. They taste good, but is there a nutrition reason for eating them? — FJ, Greenville

A We are lucky to see a greater variety of berries — fresh, dried, canned and frozen — in our local stores than before. Children and…

Kolasa, Kathy

November 11, 2018

Losing a child before his or her first birthday is an unthinkable tragedy for any parent — and unfortunately it occurs too often in North Carolina, where we far outpace the nation in infant mortality.

With over seven deaths per 1,000 live births vs. the national average of fewer than six per…

Anita Bachmann

November 11, 2018

WINTERVILLE — Approximately 300 people gathered in the South Central High School cafeteria recently to celebrate their time as students at Winterville High School. The school, which was built in 1935, has served as A.G. Cox Middle School since 1971.

“The first Saturday in November has…


November 10, 2018

The year is old, the birds are flown.

And yet the world, in its distress,

Displays a certain loveliness —

 — John Updike, from “A Child’s Calendar”

Autumn has once again snuck up upon us, as it always does.

Autumn is known mostly as a time of cooling temperatures,…


November 07, 2018

Q Would you please help spread the word about our upcoming event that will celebrate the successes of people in Pitt County who are eating healthy, being physically active and managing their own diabetes.  JS, Pitt County.

A Jackie Sugg MS, RDN, LDN is a long time friend and colleague from the…

Kolasa, Kathy

November 07, 2018

Bateeni Mediterranean Grill & Cafe at 1868 W. Arlington Blvd. in Greenville is a healthy escape for those seeking fresh and delicious food that will keep your taste buds and body fulfilled. They offer an array of authentic Mediterranean cuisine using their centuries old traditions of combining…

Mixed Grill Close Up.jpg

November 05, 2018

Drivers needed

The Pitt County Council on Aging is in need of volunteers to help deliver Meals on Wheels in Ayden and Bethel Monday through Friday. Drivers will provide lunch for homebound older adults. Route delivery takes about an hour. Training is provided. Call 752-1717.

Bell ringers needed


November 04, 2018

North Carolina’s long literary tradition lives on and was celebrated with presentation of the North Carolina Book Awards at the Greenville Convention Center last week. ECU’s Charles Ewen was among those honored.

The awards, held on Oct. 26, are presented annually by the North Carolina…

Charlie Ewen.jpg

November 04, 2018

Why would I ask you to read from a column I wrote almost 30 years ago?

When I read that column, tearfully, at a recent family reunion, I knew I wanted to share it with you, just in case you missed it back in 1987.

That year was one of triumph for my mother.

In 1933 she finished college and left her…


November 04, 2018

SNOW HILL — It takes a dedicated pit master to grill a 128-pound hog in the middle of a nor’easter. That’s exactly what 12 faithful and talented competitors did last week at the third annual BBQ for Paw fundraiser in Snow Hill.

Thanks to the perseverance and hard work of the cooks,…

1031-BBQ paws2.jpg
218 stories in Look. Viewing 1 through 10.
«First Page   «Previous Page        
Page 1 of 22
        Next Page»   Last Page»