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CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) -
The worst drought in fifty years is spreading across the country, scorching corn crops, wilting vegetables and sending prices spiking, even on items like eggs, milk and meat, because it's costing more to feed animals.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture says you should expect to pay three to four percent more for groceries next year.
And some restaurants are already increasing prices.
But Harvest Moon Grille says they don't have to. Executive Chef Ryan McCall is still cranking out order after order at the same prices he's always charged, despite the fact that this restaurant is probably more affected by the drought than any other in Charlotte.
Sheldon Schreiber, Harvest Moon's Director of Business Development and Marketing, explains: "Everything that we serve here is all from local farms within a hundred miles of Charlotte. So, if there's drought, there's a lot of rain, whatever the weather may be, it's going to affect the product that we serve here.
In Harvest Moon's kitchen, the option of shipping in drought-safe items like California avocados at the moment) doesn't exist, because they are completely committed to serving local food.
"I'm not saying it's easy by any means," McCall says.
But here's the secret.
"The chefs do have to make adjustments, and buy the things that are plentiful, not serve the things that aren't available," Schreiber says. "Things that get ruined by the drought, obviously, we're not going to have."
And right now, that means changing the menu every week, every day if need be, and taking full advantage of crops that are still thriving.
"Right now, we have Serrano, banana peppers, green peppers, red peppers, jalapeno peppers that come from hot pepper farm," McCall says.
You'll find those peppers used creatively in many of the menu items right now, and local restaurant critics rate Harvest Moon as one of the top restaurants uptown. Looks like that creativity allows the team there to remain loyal to their mission, their customer, and the craft of creating great food.