Perkins Orchard; 49 years selling local produce…and the largest farm stand in Durham

When I first started buying fresh produce from this home side orchard, there were still fruit bearing trees. Late summer, I would call Rev. Dr. Joseph Perkin’s grandson Alex, to ask if the figs were ripe as it was a race between me and the birds.

The reverend and his wife began this road side business almost 50 years ago…and now, Alex is the owner.

Here are some photos from earlier times and, my just picked garden flower bundles that I want Alex to include in his vast repertoire or you can stop by to buy a $6 or $10 fresh bouquet of garden flowers. Ancient Mediterranean Seasoning, fig jam, watermelon pickles and whatever else I have conjured up this week is available for special order from ZCC.


The Real “Brown Derby” Cobb Salad

Hillsborough native, Elizabeth Matheson, once called my mother, Kitty Murphy; “The most interesting person in a room.” Mama knew how to weave a story and her favorite slogan was:”If exaggeration died at 11 in the morning, the world would be bored by noon.” She had visitors from sources I do not know. One of them was the controversial Bishop Pike, the dean of St. John’s Divine Cathedral in NYC, who fought for rights now current…Then there was NY Times food critic, Craig Claiborne, who I think wanted to interview her first about our ghost filled house, Seven Hearths. He devoted a whole NY Times page to her Hunt Breakfasts stories, including the ghosts and her Brunswick Stew. That Stew is in two of Martha Stewart’s books…all over the world.

The son of Hollywood’s famous Brown Derby restaurant ended up on our 200 year old brick patio (which was once our kitchen), sipping on some concocted libation. I meet him briefly and wondered why the name… (named after a NY restaurant which was shaped as a brown derby.) Later, as a Hollywood resident I visited that popular place…and of course ate their Cobb Salad. Here is the original recipe:

The Original Cobb Salad

Yield: 12 servings

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2 chicken breasts, cooked and finely diced

1 ounce iceberg lettuce, washed and chopped

1 ounce romaine lettuce, washed and chopped

2 ounces tomato, washed and chopped

1/2 avocado, thinly sliced

2 ounces bacon, cooked and finely chopped

2 ounces hard boiled eggs, finely chopped

2 ounces grated Roquefort cheese


2 egg yolks

2 cups olive oil

1 lemon, juiced

3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

1 clove garlic, minced

1/2 cup water

Salt and pepper, to taste


Place greens in bowl. Arrange all other ingredients attractively across greens. Add dressing when ready to serve. 


Whip eggs vigorously until yolks turn pale yellow. Slowly incorporate oil to form an emulsion. Add remaining ingredients and season with salt and pepper.

Consumption of raw or undercooked eggs, shellfish and meat may increase the risk of foodborne illness.