THE LONG VIEW: “It’s a real treasure — for Buncombe County, for the city of Asheville, for the state of North Carolina," says Sandy Mush Farm owner Dave Everett of his historic, conserved property in northwest Buncombe County. "If we’re successful in ruining these vistas, it will be a truly sad turn of events.”

Buncombe County’s Farm Heritage Trail supports an agricultur­al legacy

Out-of-towners who flock to Asheville for mountain views, world-class dining and a taste of Appalachian culture probably don’t often make a point of including a drive to northwest Buncombe County on their travel itineraries. Sparsely populated rural communities like Sandy Mush, Leicester, Newfound and Alexander tend to be pretty far off the radar for tourists — and even for […]

PLENTIFUL PLANTS: With over 65 vendors at this years Asheville Herb Festival, there is no shortage of medicinal and culinary herbs, native herbs, flowers and heirloom vegetables. Photo by Carrie Eidson

Farm & Garden: Spring herb festival brings together people, plants and products

With our growing season just getting underway in the mountains, we lucky enough to have the largest herb festival in the country about to take place right in our backyard. The 27th annual Asheville Herb Festival has been billed as the biggest herb focused event of its kind in the Southeast for the past 15 […]

Tailgate shopping strengthens relationships: When you ask people why they shop at a tailgate market, everyone has a slightly different answer, says Molly Nicholie of the Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project. "Everyone has their own reason for shopping at their particular market. I think a lot of it is really based in relationships — and wanting a direct connection with who is growing your food." Photo courtesy of ASAP

Fresh food connection­s at your local tailgate market

(Go to the bottom of this article for a listing of local tailgate markets) With springtime and warmer weather finally underway here in the mountains comes the opportunity to head outdoors to our local tailgate markets. While some of them won’t set up their tents until mid-May, most tailgate markets have already begun their season. […]

2014 WNCOS Orchid Show attendees enjoy hundreds of orchid exhibits. Photo by Julie McMillan courtesy of WNCOS

Farm & Garden: Asheville Orchid Festival will draw thousands

The 18th Annual Asheville Orchid Festival is expected to be the biggest ever, thanks to a joint effort among the North Carolina Arboretum, the Western North Carolina Orchid Society (WNCOS) and the American Orchid Society. The festival — which is being held in conjunction with AOS’ 2016 national spring meeting — is expected to attract […]

garden wtrclr

Farm & Garden: Get growing with gardening classes

Whether you are an experienced or first-time gardener, the fifth annual “Get Growing” gardening series — offered by the Organic Growers School, Fifth Season Asheville Market and the Dr. John Wilson Community Garden — is here to help you step up your gardening skills. The four-part series will focus on the main aspects of organic gardening: […]

Cultivating Ginseng: Photo by Priya Jaishanker courtesy of Flickr (flic.kr/p/oPtFo8)

Farm & Garden: Growing ginseng and celebratin­g spring with UNCA’s Greenfest

Learn to grow ginseng and goldenseal The Southern Appalachian School for Growing Medicinal Plants will host a ginseng and goldenseal workshop at Eagle Feather Organic Farm in Marshall on Sunday, April 10, from 1 to 4 p.m. The workshop will be facilitated by Robert Eidus, who operates Eagle Feather and owns the North Carolina Ginseng […]

MUSHROOM INOCULATION: Learn the basics of growing mushrooms on logs with Trout Lily Deli and Market in Fairview. Photo of log being inoculated with shiitake sawdust spawn courtesy of Flickr (flic.kr/p/6UjfdL)

Farm & Garden: Fun with fungi and virtual workshops

Upcoming mushroom log-inoculation workshops A mushroom log-inoculation workshop this month will offer participants the opportunity to learn how to grow mushrooms using proven methods. The outdoor workshop at Trout Lily Deli and Market in Fairview will also cover how to select prime growing locations, preferred equipment for mushroom growing and the best strains of mushrooms. […]

ShoePlanters

Container gardening contest seeks elementary classroom participat­ion

Elementary school kids in Asheville and Buncombe County will have the opportunity to get their hands dirty and learn some basic gardening skills during the fifth annual Container Garden contest, sponsored by the Men’s Garden Club of Asheville. More than 30 classes participated last year, according to contest organizer Ed Heidel, and the group is […]

CROP ROTATIONS: Once a dominant crop across WNC, tobacco production in the mountains has all but disappeared in the wake of the Tobacco Transition Payment Program, commonly referred to as the "Tobacco Buyout," which did away with the long-standing federal quota system and changed the landscape of farming in the region. Photo via North Carolina Collection, Pack Memorial Public Library, Asheville, North Carolina

Smoke and mirrors: the death of tobacco in WNC

Few crops have been as central to North Carolina’s economy and culture — or as controversial — as tobacco. Historically, its high market value and the relative ease of growing it made tobacco a staple for many Western North Carolina farmers. As late as 2002, 1,995 mountain farms grew tobacco. The crop’s prevalence, however, was […]

PAINT THE TOWN: Dozens of artists will contribute to a collaborative mural-painting event in the River Arts District this May.

Faces in the crowd: WNC crowdfundi­ng initiative­s

Each week, Xpress highlights notable WNC crowdsourcing initiatives that may inspire readers to become new faces in the crowd. This week features the collaborative project more than 50 mural artists have planned for the River Arts District plus a Burnsville-based family farm’s business expansion.