by Brian Clarey

When Yale University released the results of a study in March affirming the salubrious benefits of chocolate – high antioxidant content, improved blood flow, yummy goodness and whatnot – Hershey’s jumped right on it and released a Goodness Chocolate line of products with high cocoa content designed for the adult, health-conscious chocolate consumer (read: fat guys with lapsed gym memberships and pre-menstrual women).

This, my friends, is what you do when opportunity knocks: You open the freakin’ door.

And in honor of Hershey, the connective tissue of this week’s amuse bouche column is opportunity – more specifically, what to do when you hear it a-knocking. And food. It always comes back to food.

People who hate bacon (and, presumably, America) take the opportunity to protest supermarket chain Harris Teeter on Saturday. The Tar Heel, NC-based Smithfield Foods, a company that kills more pigs than anyone in the world, supplies Harris Teeter’s bacon. They also have been accused of stirring racial tension, among other things, to keep worker morale low.

Meanwhile, the Greensboro Earth Fare took the opportunity to make the city a more attractive place by raising more than $5,000 at their grand re-opening last month for Greensboro Beautiful.

US Sushi, one of my favorite raw fish joints, fills the hole in Friendly Center created by the demise of the Panda Inn by opening a second restaurant at a different location in the shopping center.

Café Nouveau, which in an opportunistic move, took over the Spring Garden Street digs where the wildly successful Bert’s Seafood Grille used to live, has met its demise after two years of business. That’s right, another independently owned Greensboro restaurant has bitten the dust even as the chains sprout up like whack-a-moles. One local restaurant owner described the situation to me as a “corporate Katrina.”

And Slow Food Piedmont is maxing out their presence with a packed slate of events on their calendar to take place in and around town this week. On Wednesday will be the Energy Film Festival at 6:30 in the Kathleen Clay Edwards Family Branch Library, with screenings of The Power of Community, which chronicles the energy crisis in Cuba after it lost easy access to Russian oil after the fall of the Soviet Union, and “Sundance Summit: A Mayors’ Gathering on Climate Protection”, an 8-minute short. On Thursday at Two Art Chicks there will be a screening of Black Gold: Wake Up and Smell the Coffee, a documentary about fair trade certification. Then on Saturday will be Growing Justice: an afternoon in the SEEDS garden with Anna Lappé at 708 Gilbert St. in Durham.

SEEDS is Southeastern Efforts Developing Sustainable Spaces which, according to its website, “encourages respect for life, for earth and for each other.” Lappé is a national bestselling author who writes and speaks about food politics and organic gardening.