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Register Now for the 18th Annual Organic Growers School

Monday, February 14th, 2011

ASHEVILLE, NC – The 18th Annual Organic Growers School will be held on March 5 and 6 at UNCA.

This unique event provides practical organic growing information for both gardeners and farmers on topics ranging from vegetable, fruit, livestock and poultry production to landscaping. There are even classes on cooking and food preservation. Here is a list of class sessions and track names.

The event has expanded to two days and will be held on the campus of UNCA in Asheville. You can really learn a lot – there will be 56 lectures each day, plus 11 half day workshops.

Single day registration is $55 at the door.

Register here

Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project Announces Holiday Tailgate Market Schedule

Tuesday, November 30th, 2010

ASHEVILLE, NC – It’s that time of year again when some area farmers tailgate markets wrap up their season. Don’t worry too much, though; many remain open into November and December for all of your holiday cooking and shopping needs! Select ‘Read more’ for details.

Final Market Dates (and Holiday Market Details)

ASHE COUNTY

Ashe County Farmers Market: Reg season has ended. (Annual holiday markets November 20, 26, and 27 and December 4, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. each day; selection of handmade arts and crafts for holiday gift-giving.)

BUNCOMBE COUNTY

Asheville City Market: South: October 27 (Produce, cheeses, meats, baked goods, plants, home goods, and more; 2-6 p.m.); Downtown: December 18 (Holiday markets November 27 and December 4, 11, and 18; holiday market hours will change from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and will feature live music as well as a holiday bike drive in December to collect unwanted bikes or parts for recycling; the bike drive will also feature bike repair demos and used bikes for sale.)
Big Ivy Tailgate Market: October 30
Black Mountain Tailgate Market: October 30 (Holiday market, 2nd annual, November 20; regular food vendors plus a wide variety of craft and artisan vendors for gift shopping. 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.)
Greenlife Sunday Market: October 31
Mission Hospital Tailgate Market: October 1
North Asheville Tailgate Market: December 18 (Regular hours November 20 and 27, with a special Thanksgiving market November 20. The 9th Annual Holiday Bazaar will be held December 4, 11, and 18 at the North Asheville Tailgate Market from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. The market will feature produce, crafts, gifts, meats, cheeses, baked goods, chocolate, cider, coffee, and more.)
Riceville Tailgate Market: September 18
Victory Tailgate Market: September 29
Wednesday Co-op Market:  November 24
West Asheville Tailgate Market: November 9 (Holiday event Tuesday, December 7 from 2:30 to 5:30 p.m.)
Weaverville Tailgate Market: October 27 (Season finale celebration; cookie decorating, scavenger hunt, and pumpkin decorating from 3-5:30 p.m. Costumes are optional but encouraged.)

HAYWOOD COUNTY

Haywood’s Historic Farmers Market: October 30 (Fall Harvest Party on October 30; details soon. Special winter markets November 20 and 24 and December 8 and 11 from 9 a.m. until noon; markets will offer fall and winter vegetables, apples and cider, farm-raised eggs, meat, cheese, NC seafood, baked goods, preserves, and heritage crafts.)

HENDERSON COUNTY

Flat Rock Tailgate Market: October 28 (Special Christmas Market December 4 from 2-5 p.m. Usual vendors from tailgate market plus new additions, Christmas trees, handspun scarves, dried Henderson County apples, handmade furniture, herb baskets, pizza kits, and more. For more information, call 828-697-7719.)
Hendersonville Community Co-op Tailgate Market: October 18
Henderson County Tailgate Market: Operating on regular schedule until further notice.
Henderson County Curb Market: Operating on regular schedule until further notice.

JOHNSON COUNTY, TN

Johnson County Farmers Market: Reg season has ended. (Second Annual Holiday Market December 4th, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m; vendors include local meat, veggies, jams and jellies, wreaths, crafts, baked goods and more. The Christmas Parade starts at 3 p.m.)

MACON COUNTY

Franklin Tailgate Market: November 20 (Final market 9 am to noon.)

MADISON COUNTY

Madison County Farmers & Artisans Market: November 20 (Special winter markets held inside at Fiddlestix the Saturday after Thanksgiving until the Saturday before Christmas.)

MCDOWELL COUNTY

Historic Marion Tailgate Market: October 26

POLK COUNTY

Christmas Farmers Market: December 4 at the Mill Spring Agricultural Center (4 School Rd) from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.; trees, winter vegetables, crafts, and more.

TRANSYLVANIA COUNTY

Transylvania Tailgate Market: December 18 (Open Saturdays only in December from 9 a.m. until noon.)

WATAUGA COUNTY

Blowing Rock Farmers Market: October 14 (Holiday markets November 23 and December 21, 4-6 p.m.)

Watauga County Farmers Market: October 30 (Third annual holiday market November 20 and 27 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.; trees, wreaths, and seasonal items along with homemade crafts and goodies of all types.)

YANCEY COUNTY

Yancey County Farmers Market: October 30 (Special holiday market/event December 4 in conjunction with Burnsville’s Winterfest activities. More details to come.)

Local Food Institute Almost Here, Registration Deadline Oct. 7

Tuesday, October 5th, 2010

ASHEVILLE, NC – This year’s Local Food Institute will be held October 13 and 14 in Asheville, NC. Build your local food economy with the two-day program designed to share information about and strategies behind Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project’s (ASAP) innovative approach to creating environments where local food economies thrive. The cost of attendance is $300. You can register online by October 7th.</p>

The Program:

This two-day program is designed to share information about and strategies behind ASAP’s innovative approach to creating environments where local food economies thrive.

On Day One: Learn proven steps from ASAP and other community leaders and organizers through guided instruction, panel discussions, and networking.
On Day Two: Visit local farms and businesses that illustrate how entrepreneurs are successfully accessing local markets.

What You’ll Do:

– Learn from ASAP and other leading innovators through structured instruction.
– Examine specific aspects of the local food market and learn about initiatives that have helped farmers and local food entrepreneurs experience success.
– Interact with farmers, economic development specialists, farmers market planners, and community organizers.
– Apply what you have learned to your own work and area.

What You’ll Take Home:

– A solid understanding of and talking points on the benefits of developing your local food economy.
– Knowledge of the key resources, community assets, and partners needed in order to undertake local food initiatives.
– Resources to use in your community.
– Models for successful entrepreneurship.

Find a PDF of the tentative agenda here. For speaker bios, click here.

Cost and Registration:

The program runs from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. on October 13th and 14th, and ASAP provides lunch both days. The cost of attendance is $300.

Click here to fill out a registration form, pay online, and find more information about sign-up. The registration deadline is October 7. If you have questions about the event or registration process, contact administrator Allison Perrett.

Directions and Accommodations:

This year’s Local Food Institute will take place in and around Asheville. Day one will be held downtown at Jubilee! Community. A central meeting location at the start of day two will be announced shortly.

2010 Family Farm Tour Destinations Announced

Tuesday, June 22nd, 2010

ASHEVILLE, NC – The 2010 Family Farm Tour will open thirty-seven farms in six WNC counties to the public on June 26 and 27, from 1 p.m. – 6 p.m. Destinations on the tour range from century farms cultivated by the same family for generations, to certified organic farms, to urban gardens. Whether you want to learn who grows your food or get ideas for producing your own, go on an outdoor family activity or taste our area’s finest foods, you can plan a tour to suit your interests.

Here’s how it works: Get a farm tour map and button. One button admits everyone in your car. Gather your friends, choose the farms you want to visit, and plan a route. You can visit as many farms as you like over the weekend, and there are more than enough choices to fill a schedule for Saturday and Sunday.

Come with a cooler and your appetite. A variety of vegetables, fruits, meats, cheeses, and preserves will be available to sample or for sale. Crafts and plants will be offered as well.

Visit www.familyfarmtour.org for details on each farm, suggested routes, listings of farms selling food, and to purchase admission. Buttons cost $25 plus $2 shipping at www.familyfarmtour.org, or see the website for stores and restaurants selling buttons. One button admits everyone in your car. You may also purchase buttons at farms on the day of the tour for $30. If you only wish to visit one farm, pay $10 on-site.

Farms on the Tour:

Buncombe:

– Blue Ridge Bison

– Flying Cloud Farm

– Gladheart Farms

– Good Fibrations Angora Goats

– Hawk and Ivy

– Hickory Nut Gap

– Hominy Valley Farms

– Hop’n Blueberry

– Imladris Farm

– Long Branch Environmental Education Center

– Pearson Drive Community Garden

– Round Mountain Creamery

– Ten Mile Farm

– Venezia Dream Farm

Haywod

– Boyd Mountain Christmas Tree Farm

– Sunburst Trout Company

Henderson:

– Fields of Gold Farm

– Holler Ministries

– McConnell Farms

– Stepp’s Plants, Etc.

Madison:

– Bee Tree Farm and Vineyard

– East Fork Farm

– Elk Knob Farm and Gardens

– Farm House Beef

– New Direction Farm

– Philosophy Farm

– Spinning Spider Creamery

– Sunswept Farm

Wake Robin Farm

Transylvania:

– Everett Farms

– Queen’s Produce and Berry Farm

Yancey:

– Arthur Morgan School

– Firefly Farm

– Maple Creek Farm

– Mountain Farm

– Mountain Gardens

– Wellspring Farm

What Makes a Food “Organic?”

Friday, May 14th, 2010

ASHEVILLE, NC – Organic farming is among the fastest growing segments of U. S. Agriculture. In December 2002, the National Organic Standards Board of the U. S. Department of Agriculture established a national standard for the term “organic.”

Organic foods must be produced without the use of sewer-sludge fertilizers, most synthetic fertilizers & pesticides, genetic engineering (biotechnology), growth hormones and/or antibiotics.Organic food is defined by how it cannot be made rather than how it can be made. Organic foods must be produced without the use of sewer-sludge fertilizers, most synthetic fertilizers and pesticides, genetic engineering (biotechnology), growth hormones and/or antibiotics. Any produce, grains, meat, dairy, eggs and processed foods can be produced organically.

Before a product can be labeled “organic,” a government approved certifier inspects the farm where the food is grown to make sure the farmer is following the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) “organic” guidelines.

Keep these factors in mind:

– NUTRITION – The USDA makes no claims that organically produced food is safer or more nutritious than conventionally produced food.

– QUALITY & APPEARANCE – The difference in organic food is how it is produced, processed and handled. Organic foods may spoil a little quicker because they are not treated with waxes or preservatives. It may also vary some in appearance, but not always.

– PESTICIDES – Conventional growers use pesticides to protect their crops. This can leave a residue on produce. Some people buy organic foods to limit their exposure to these residues. Most experts agree that the amount of pesticides found on fruits and vegetables poses very little health risk.

– ENVIRONMENT – Organic farming practices are designed to benefit the environment by reducing pollution and conserving water and soil.

– COST – Organic foods often cost more than conventional foods. However, there are cost efficient ways to make organic foods work into your budget. Venture beyond the grocery store by shopping at farmers markets, joining a food co-op or a Community Supported Agriculture farm (CSA).

– TASTE – Taste is a personal consideration, so decide for yourself. Finding the freshest food available may have the biggest impact on taste.

Whether you become a fan of organic foods or not, shop wisely and handle your food safely. Read food labels carefully. Buy fruits and vegetables in season.

Wash all fruits and vegetables thoroughly with running water to reduce the amount of dirt and bacteria. If you are concerned about pesticides, peel your fruits and vegetables and trim outer leaves of leafy vegetables in addition to washing them thoroughly.

For more information, call Buncombe County Cooperative Extension at 255-5522.

North Asheville Tailgate Market Open for Season

Tuesday, April 27th, 2010

ASHEVILLE, NC – The North Asheville Tailgate Market, a Saturday morning tradition for those who love fresh produce, herbs and flowers, is open for its 30th season on the UNC Asheville campus.

The area’s oldest producer-only farmer’s market continues to expand, adding two more permanent vendors this year and a larger selection of cheeses, fruits, and gourmet foods. The market is open from 8 a.m. to noon every Saturday and offers plenty of convenient parking.

The market has nearly 50 local food producers this year offering organic and conventional fruits, vegetables and herbs; artisan bread and cheeses; local honey; fresh baked goods and gourmet deserts; free-range meat and eggs; fresh seafood; homemade jams and ice cream; plants and flowers; and locally roasted coffee. Another exciting addition to the market this year will be a Holiday Bazaar beginning in December and running through Christmas.

To visit the North Asheville Tailgate Market, enter the UNC Asheville campus at the traffic circle on W.T. Weaver Blvd. Travel up the main drive and take the first right at the blue sign that reads “Commuter/Faculty-Staff Parking Lot C.” A campus map is available online at: www.unca.edu/campusmap.