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Roots Remain in November with ASAP

Thursday, November 7th, 2013

ASHEVILLE NC – Beets, carrots, turnips, parsnips, radishes, and sweet potatoes don’t mind the cooler weather. In fact, it sweetens these root veggies, all of which get ASAP’s Get Local spotlight this November.

Sweet is perfect for Jennifer Thomas of Montford Walk-In Bakery, an Appalachian Grown™ (AG) partner committed to sourcing from AG certified farms. “I use local beets to flavor and color cupcakes and frosting,” she says, adding, “The nice earthy flavor of roasted beets complements chocolate, and the pretty color makes a nice magenta-pink frosting!” She also takes the veggies to the savory side this time of year, whipping up sweet potato and potato-rosemary breads, often incorporating carrots and parsnips as well. Expect lots of options throughout the month. “I try to buy in bulk; shopping at the tailgate market is always the best source.”

AG partner Neo Burrito is also batty for beets. They recently began offering raw shredded beets as a topping, and they’ve created a Get Local special that incorporates the new must-have burrito addition (which staffers say is great atop a breakfast burrito). Throughout November, order up a slow-roasted Jamaican jerk local goat burrito with local mashed sweet potatoes, local shredded beets and red cabbage, and topped with a local goat yogurt ginger sauce. And that’s not all: the burrito is served with a red lentil salad featuring even more local roots plus a Jamaican local roots stew. Neo’s Get Local special costs $14.99 and comes with a fountain drink.

At Farm Burger Asheville’s benefit for ASAP on November 7, from 7:30 until 10 pm, Chef Chad will stretch his culinary skills beyond burgers in a special Appalachian Grown multi-course meal. He hints roots are sure to make an appearance: think local braised pork cheeks with local turnips alongside dishes like house-cured trout and chicken-apple sausage over grits. Tickets are $39, and proceeds support ASAP. Reservations are required; call (828) 348-8540.

Want to roast roots at home? Browse groceries and tailgate markets offering the local veggies now via ASAP’s Local Food Guide, appalachiangrown.org

ABOUT ASAP (APPALACHIAN SUSTAINABLE AGRICULTURE PROJECT)
ASAP’s mission is to help local farms thrive, link farmers to markets and supporters, and build healthy communities through connections to local food. To learn more about ASAP’s work in the region, including their Get Local initiative, visit asapconnections.org, or call (828) 236-1282.

Tomato, Tomahto, Call the Whole Thing Get Local

Friday, August 3rd, 2012

ASHEVILLE NC – Tomato lovers have, without exaggeration, nearly 1,000 varieties from which to choose a favorite – there are thought to be 600+ heirloom varieties alone. While every single one isn’t available locally, tomato month in ASAP’s Get Local initiative presents the opportunity to buy and taste an impressive number.

Tomatoes will abound at tailgate markets throughout August; shoppers can stock up for summer and to store for winter. And, Appalachian Grown™ partner restaurants will serve delicious dishes.

The Market Place will feature local tomatoes heavily on their menu this month. William Dissen, executive chef/owner, is currently purchasing ‘maters from at least five area farms. Look for dishes like tomato bruschetta and a colorful heirloom tomato salad.

Dissen even plans to serve local tomato cocktails at the upcoming Homegrown Tomato Contest and Party on Saturday, August 11, 2-5 pm, hosted in honor of Get Local and in partnership with ASAP. Home gardeners are invited to bring their two best tomatoes to be judged by a panel including a representative from local seed company Sow True Seed and Ingles’ dietitian, Leah McGrath. They can also bring tomatoes gone slightly awry for an Ugly Tomato Contest. Prizes include a $100 gift certificate to the Market Place, $25 Market Bucks to Asheville City Market, a pass to ASAP’s Farm Tour, and a Sow True Seed fall/winter seed collection and gift certificate. Everyone is invited to attend to enjoy the special cocktails and local tomato hors d’oeuvres, mingle with fellow gardeners and local food enthusiasts, and get great gardening advice and resources.

Tickets for the public are $20, $10 for contest entrants; contact the Market Place at (828) 252-4162 or [email protected]. A portion of proceeds will support ASAP. More places to get a local tomato fix are listed in ASAP’s online Local Food Guide at appalachiangrown.org.


ABOUT ASAP (APPALACHIAN SUSTAINABLE AGRICULTURE PROJECT)

ASAP’s mission is to help local farms thrive, link farmers to markets and supporters, and build healthy communities through connections to local food. To learn more about ASAP’s work, visit asapconnections.org, or call (828) 236-1282.

Farm to School is in Swing This Spring

Wednesday, April 18th, 2012

ASHEVILLE NC – At preschools and elementary schools throughout Western North Carolina, students are planting seeds and harvesting early-season vegetables, whipping up fresh local foods, and preparing for enriching farm field trips through ASAP’s Growing Minds Farm to School Program.

“While our program runs year-round, there is something special about springtime,” says Growing Minds Director Emily Jackson. “Children get to see the seeds they planted grow into beautiful vegetables and flowers, and our area’s farms are coming to life again. Farms are ready to welcome children for field trips and have product to provide to school cafeterias and to chefs for classroom cooking demos.” She adds, “This season is also the best time for us to share our resources—from free seeds to children’s books to grant funding.”

Teachers are now using cooking kits, distributed by ASAP’s Growing Minds earlier this year, in classroom local food cooking demos. Forty schools received kits valued at $2,000 each; Partnership for a Healthier America awarded the kits to ASAP.

ASAP recently announced recipients of their 2012-2013 Farm to School Community Grant: Bald Creek Elementary in Yancey County, Freedom Trail Elementary in Avery County, and Pinnacle Elementary in Rutherford County. The grantees receive training and technical assistance, $3,000 to launch or expand a Farm to School program, and local food and farm promotional materials.

ASAP’s Growing Minds is also providing 10 mini-grants for farm field trips in 2012. Nine schools—from preschool through high school—in Buncombe, Haywood, Henderson, and Anderson (SC) counties are receiving $200 to fund educational outings around local food.

Spring is an equally exciting time for the Growing Minds program. They just released the second Local Food Guide for Kids, modeled after ASAP’s popular adult version; the publication is a guide to area school gardens, family-friendly farms, and other Farm to School happenings in Asheville City schools and schools in Buncombe, Haywood, Henderson, and Jackson counties. It is currently being distributed to students and can also be found online at growing-minds.org. The program will also launch a new website this season. The vibrant new layout and design will make resources for teachers and parents easier to find and download.

ABOUT ASAP (APPALACHIAN SUSTAINABLE AGRICULTURE PROJECT)

ASAP’s mission is to help local farms thrive, link farmers to markets and supporters, and build healthy communities through connections to local food. Growing Minds, ASAP’s Farm to School program, works to connect farms and schools and give children positive experiences with healthy foods. Experiences include farm field trips, nutrition education, school gardens, and local food in cafeterias.

To learn more about Growing Minds, visit growing-minds.org. For information about ASAP’s work in the region, visit asapconnections.org, or call 828-236-1282.

The Big Cheese in ASAP’s Get Local Initiative

Thursday, March 1st, 2012

ASHEVILLE NC – Western North Carolina is home to dozens of farmstead cheese operations that produce every type of cheese imaginable: aged cheddar, Gouda, Brie, chevre (goat cheese), the list goes on and on. In fact, WNC may soon be home to a cheese trail, modeled after Vermont’s popular tourist attraction. So, it’s no surprise that farmstead cheese gets its own month in ASAP’s Get Local initiative.

To celebrate, Asheville-area Appalachian Grown™ partner restaurants are getting cheesy. Look for local cheeses throughout their menus. At Posana Café, for example, try their citrus roasted beets appetizer with fresh chevre from Looking Glass Creamery in Fairview and their kale salad with Manchego from Three Graces Dairy in Marshall. Also look for local cheeses on restaurants’ cheese plates. The Market Place’s plate is local, featuring cheeses from Three Graces and Looking Glass, as well as Spinning Spider Creamery in Marshall, Locust Grove in Knoxville, TN, and Sweet Grass Dairy in Georgia.

The same goes for Bouchon’s cheese plate. Owner/chef Michel Baudouin features a trio of cheeses from Three Graces Dairy: a soft goat cheese, a cow’s milk Brie, and a seasonal selection. Why local cheese? “It’s here, it’s good, and it supports our local economy,” Baudouin says.

Baudouin encourages the community to come and enjoy his cheese plate for a cause every Thursday this March. To further show his support of local food, he will donate a portion of sales from plates ordered on Thursday evenings to ASAP.

Local cheeses also abound at area groceries and special winter tailgate markets now. To find a list of all area cheesemakers, as well as restaurants serving and groceries and tailgates stocking their products, search ASAP’s online Local Food Guide at buyappalachian.org.


ABOUT ASAP (APPALACHIAN SUSTAINABLE AGRICULTURE PROJECT)

ASAP’s mission is to help local farms thrive, link farmers to markets and supporters, and build healthy communities through connections to local food. To learn more about ASAP’s work, visit asapconnections.org, or call (828) 236-1282.

Think Trout to Get Local With ASAP This Month

Monday, February 6th, 2012

ASHEVILLE NC – February mornings are a little too cold for most people to head out trout fishing. But luckily, local trout farmers are still suiting up and braving the extra-cold mountain water, which has been said to give the fish a desirable delicate flavor. To honor their efforts and remind that local foods are available year-round, ASAP highlights trout this month in their Get Local initiative.

To celebrate the fishy focus, Tupelo Honey Café-Southside, an Appalachian Grown™ partner and Get Local participating restaurant, will officially dedicate their February Tuesdays to trout. Each Tuesday, they’ll offer special dishes featuring fish from Sunburst Trout Farms in Canton. Proceeds from the dishes will benefit ASAP.

But they won’t stop there; the four celebrations will feature more than the trout itself. On February 7, Sunburst’s CEO, Sally Eason, and ASAP’s executive director, Charlie Jackson will speak. For Valentine’s Day, expect complimentary champagne. On February 21, kids 12 and under and a coloring contest will be the focus. And on February 28, the evening will include a silent auction for a private dinner party—with local trout, of course. Each evening will also feature drawings for exciting prizes. The specials and festivities run from 5 until 9 pm each Tuesday.

Tupelo Honey Café-Southside isn’t the only restaurant thinking trout now. The Morning Glory Café’s winter menu features the fish, also from Sunburst Trout Farms. Their kitchen offers local trout in traditional preparations, like pecan-crusted, but also more unconventional ways: you can pick trout as a premium pizza topping.

For more details about the initiative and upcoming Get Local events, visit ASAP’s community website FromHere.org. For a list of all the Appalachian Grown trout farms in the area, as well as more partner restaurants, browse ASAP’s online Local Food guide at buyappalachian.org


ABOUT APPALACHIAN SUSTAINABLE AGRICULTURE PROJECT (ASAP)

ASAP’s mission is to help local farms thrive, link farmers to markets and supporters, and build healthy communities through connections to local food. To learn more about ASAP’s work, visit asapconnections.org, or call (828) 236-1282.

ASAP’s Get Local Gets Revamped, 2012 Kicks off With Honey

Thursday, January 5th, 2012

ASHEVILLE NC – ASAP’s Get Local initiative, which highlights one local food every month, will shine the spotlight on three new ingredients in 2012: ramps, mushrooms, and potatoes. Local favorites like tomatoes and apples remain on the new calendar, along with honey, which gets the new year off to a sweet start.

To celebrate January’s focus, Laurey’s Gourmet Comfort Food—an Appalachian Grown™ Partner and Get Local participating restaurant—will host A Taste of Honey on January 26 from 6 until 9 pm. The event will feature tasting stations of local and regional honey and accompanying hors d’oeuvres. At each station, attendees will be asked to record their honey thoughts to possibly be used in Every Third Bite, the forthcoming book from Laurey’s owner Laurey Masterton. Honey experts and producers will also be there to talk about beekeeping and their products. Tickets are $35 and can be purchased at the eatery in Asheville. A portion of event proceeds will support ASAP. 

Participating restaurants will feature honey, as well as sorghum, on their menus throughout January. Local honey and sorghum can be purchased during the winter at select area groceries, as well as direct from area farms. Visit ASAP’s Local Food Guide online at buyappalachian.org to search for producers and year-round roadside farm stands.

What else is new for Get Local in 2012? Special monthly events will continue throughout the year as part of Get Local’s makeover. Events can be found on ASAP’s community website, FromHere.org, as well as their social media sites. ASAP has also produced a 2012 Get Local wall calendar that features beautiful images of the featured foods taken at tailgate markets and farms. The calendars are free and available at ASAP’s office and events.  

For more information about the initiative, including the new 2012 schedule, visit the Get Local page of asapconnections.org. There, you’ll also find the 2012 Get Local school calendar

ABOUT APPALACHIAN SUSTAINABLE AGRICULTURE PROJECT (ASAP)

ASAP’s mission is to help local farms thrive, link farmers to markets and supporters, and build healthy communities through connections to local food. To learn more about ASAP’s work, visit asapconnections.org, or call (828) 236-1282.

Get Local With ASAP: Meat Month Returns This December

Friday, December 16th, 2011

ASHEVILLE NC – Meat is often the main dish of a holiday feast, whether enjoyed dining out or in. So, ASAP is turning the spotlight on the many meat options provided by area farmers this month in their Get Local initiative. From beef to chicken and lamb to rabbit, Western North Carolina farmers offer it all.

Local veal is even an option now thanks to Alan Lang and Clint and Thomas Shepherd,  who own and operate Headwaters Cattle Farm and Headwaters of Poverty Farm respectively. Lang raised his first veal earlier this year—without hormones or antibiotics, roaming free on mountain pastures—while nephews Clint and Thomas helped him market and sell it to a regional chef. Since then, local restaurants such as Table, the Admiral, Bouchon, Fiores, Cucina 24, the Market Place, Fig Bistro, and Posana have served their veal in creative preparations. The exact dishes they’ll create with veal and other local meats this month are surprises, as the eateries regularly change their seasonal menus.

Headwaters’ veal can also be found at the Chop Shop Butchery, another change on the local meat landscape since ASAP’s last meat month. The butcher shop opened this fall on Charlotte Street in Asheville. It carries almost all local, Appalachian Grown Certified™ meats from farms, like Headwaters, that are committed to sustainable, humane, and all-natural practices. In addition to veal, they also carry beef, pork, poultry, and lamb from Apple Brandy Beef, Three Arrows Farm and Cattle Company, Foothills Family Farms, Bluebird Farm, Which Came First Farm, Busy Bee Farms, and East Fork Farm.

For a list of participating restaurants, visit the Get Local page of asapconnections.org. There, you’ll also find the 2011 calendar of featured foods and a Get Local school calendar; participating schools are serving local apples this month. Visit ASAP’s Local Food Guide online at buyappalachian.org to search for meat producers. ASAP’s Get Local calendar will change for 2012; new featured products will include local honey, mushrooms, and ramps.


ABOUT APPALACHIAN SUSTAINABLE AGRICULTURE PROJECT (ASAP)

ASAP’s mission is to help local farms thrive, link farmers to markets and supporters, and build healthy communities through connections to local food. To learn more about ASAP’s work, visit asapconnections.org, or call (828) 236-1282

Area Consumers Vote With Their Wallets; Region Leader in Local Food Sales

Friday, December 9th, 2011

ASHEVILLE NC – Seven billion dollars. That’s the figure that local food sales are predicted to reach nationally in 2012 according to a report released last month by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. ASAP estimates that Western North Carolina consumers alone purchased $62 million of local food in 2010, a four-fold increase since the Asheville-based nonprofit’s Appalachian Grown™ certification and branding program began in 2007. The organization’s recent consumer survey explains the increase: understanding that local food benefits local communities.

“We are way ahead of the rest of the country when it comes to supporting local farms,” says Charlie Jackson, ASAP’s executive director. ASAP’s survey, conducted this spring in the greater-Asheville area (Buncombe, Madison, and Henderson counties) and the state’s six westernmost counties found that a majority (55%) of respondents reported spending over one-tenth of their food budget on locally grown products. More than 80% of respondents say they choose local food because the purchases help support local farms and contribute to the local economy.

In addition to farms, businesses benefiting from the increase include grocery stores and eateries in the region’s vibrant and growing independent restaurant scene. Three-quarters of survey respondents (77%) deemed local food a somewhat or very important consideration in choosing a grocery store, and roughly 6 in 10 (64%) viewed it as somewhat or very important when choosing a restaurant. Over 55% mentioned Ingles as their grocery store of choice for locally grown food.

How do those surveyed define “local?” Almost 40% feel food is local if grown in Western North Carolina. Roughly one-quarter consider food local if it’s grown in their county, and 19% define local as within 100 miles of their home.


ABOUT APPALACHIAN SUSTAINABLE AGRICULTURE PROJECT (ASAP)

ASAP’s mission is to help local farms thrive, link farmers to markets and supporters, and build healthy communities through connections to local food. To learn more about ASAP’s work in the region, visit asapconnections.org, or call (828) 236-1282.

Get Local With ASAP: Tomatoes Take Over This Month

Thursday, August 11th, 2011

ASHEVILLE, NC – Whether you like them in sauce, salsa, or straight up, area restaurants aim to satisfy your tomato cravings by featuring fresh local ‘maters on their menus now. ASAP’s Get Local campaign turns the spotlight on one local product each month when at its peak in the harvest, and August is the time for tomatoes in WNC.

In fact, just as the calendar left July, Asheville Get Local restaurants started sharing their local shipments and specials through social media. On August 3, Early Girl Eatery wrote via Facebook: “Local produce at Early Girl this week: tomatoes, green beans, sprouts, yellow squash, zucchini, eggplant, collards, green peppers, cucumbers, and blueberries. Thank you WNC farmers!” On August 5, West End Bakery posted: “We made roasted tomato soup and roasted tomato pesto sandwiches! Come by and get some (very) locally grown soups and sandwiches!”

HomeGrown shares that all of the tomatoes on their menu this time of year come from local farms, including Wool Branch Farm and Whispersholler Farms; find them featured as salsas in dishes like their Smoked Tempeh Burrito. At Neo Cantina, look for tomatoes dressed with cilantro lime vinaigrette. The Morning Glory Cafe in Black Mountain will whip up tomato gazpacho this month.

Growing you own? To celebrate the abundance, the Market Place has joined with ASAP to host a Homegrown Tomato Contest, August 25 from 3 until 5 pm. Local gardeners are invited to bring their tastiest, most exquisite tomatoes for the chance to win local food and gardening prizes. Home growers are also invited to bring an “ugly” tomato for a separate Ugly Tomato Contest. During judging, contestants can enjoy tomato appetizers and drinks prepared by Market Place chef William Dissen and get gardening advice and resources from fellow gardeners and area experts. An $8 entry fee benefits local farms and ASAP. Contest is limited to the first 30 entrants. To reserve a space, contact the Market Place at (828) 252-4162 or [email protected].

ABOUT APPALACHIAN SUSTAINABLE AGRICULTURE PROJECT (ASAP)

ASAP’s mission is to help local farms thrive, link farmers to markets and supporters, and build healthy communities through connections to local food. To learn more about ASAP’s work, visit asapconnections.org, or call (828) 236-1282. Browse more than 400 farms and businesses offering local ‘maters this month in ASAP’s Local Food Guide, online at buyappalachian.org.

Get Local With ASAP: Summer Squash Heralds Summertime

Tuesday, June 28th, 2011

ASHEVILLE, NC – Crooknecks, patty pans, zephyrs, and zucchinis: All varieties of summer squash are celebrated throughout June in ASAP’s Get Local campaign—a year-round initiative that brings together farmers, chefs, and community members in celebration of a featured local food. And, the veggies are ready for all cooking preparations.

Executive Chef Camp Boswell of The Junction, one of Asheville’s newest restaurants, is looking forward to starting summer by firing up the grill and throwing on local summer squash picked up at area farmers tailgate markets. The restaurant promises a constantly changing menu of in-season, local ingredients. Look for a grilled local summer squash salad with roasted red peppers, eggplant, spinach goat cheese cream, basil, and smoked tomato vinaigrette on their menu likely mid-month.

At the Red Stag Grill, Executive Chef Adam Hayes plans to highlight summer squash in a ratatouille along with other seasonal vegetables from Jolley Farms in Canton. And, of course, there’s the Southern must: squash casserole. Look for local squash casseroles at some of the area’s best-loved comfort food haunts: Early Girl Eatery and Luella’s Bar-B-Que.

Want to grill, sauté, or bake the summertime staple yourself? Find all types of local squash direct from the farmer at your neighborhood tailgate this month; they’ll remain a market constant through September. Also be on the lookout for local squash in the produce section of your favorite grocery.

For a complete list of participating restaurants, visit the Get Local page of asapconnections.org. There, you’ll also find the 2011 calendar of featured foods and a Get Local school calendar; participating schools are also serving local squash this month. Browse the nearly 400 farms and businesses offering local squash this season in ASAP’s Local Food Guide online at buyappalachian.org.