NEW MOON: Modern day distillers in WNC are bringing the region's most-storied spirit into the 21st century. Photo by George Etheredge.

Bottled lightning: Appalachia­n moonshinin­g in the 21st century

Western North Carolina is now home to a growing number of craft distillers making legal moonshine. Blending traditional recipes with new technology and methods, these pioneers are bringing Appalachia’s most fabled and misunderstood product into the 21st century, changing cultural perceptions even as they adapt to shifting economic realities.

Not only will local photographer Ken Abbott's pictures of Hickory Nut Gap Farm make it into his forthcoming book Useful Work, but the artist's visuals will also be on display at the Asheville Art Museum from Friday, July 24, until Sunday, October 11. Photo of longtime farm employee Clarence McAbee by Abbott

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 a photo book capturing Hickory Nut Gap Farm’s storied past and present, a “Barnraiser” to help the farm build a kitchen and butchery on-site and a mobile app for mental wellness information hub MindPod Network.

Still from Wings of Life documentary.

Wings of Life documentar­y explores the lives of pollinator­s

In its continuing recognition of Asheville’s Pollination Celebration week, Bee City USA hosted a screening of Disneynature’s Wings of Life at the Fine Art Theatre on Thursday, June 19. The screening, which served as a benefit for Bee City USA, offered attendees a chance to understand the mysteries of pollination as told from the perspective of several types of flowers.

Cigarette butts ready to be shipped for recycling pile up in Rowdy Keelor's garage.

Friends Against Butts aims to capture and recycle cigarette butts

Even though his organization is called Friends Against Butts, make no mistake, Rowdy Keelor wants your butts. Cigarette butts, that is. An Asheville environmentalist and host of Asheville FM’s “Best Day Ever,” Keelor and three others founded the venture earlier this year with the goal of recycling as many cigarette butts as possible

Buzzing with activity: Sage Turner, urban beekeeper and finance manager for the French Broad Food Co-Op, keeps hives in her West Asheville backyard and on the roof of the co-op building. Turner is one of a growing number of Ashevilleans who have taken up beekeeping to protect pollinators from threats including habitat loss and pesticides.

Pollinator week creates a buzz for the bees

Bee City USA will host its third annual Pollinator Celebration, a week of pollinator-centric events — held from Thursday, June 11, until Sunday, June 21 — designed to invite the public into the world of pollinators. The Asheville celebration aligns with National Pollinator Week sponsored by the North American Pollinator Protection Campaign.

Firefly Gathering 2014 at Bell's Cove, a 300-acre, private lot in Barnardsville. The Gathering will be held here for the 3rd year. Photog: Oliver Fleming.

Firefly Gathering teaches primitive skills as a culturally transforma­tive experience

This year’s Firefly Gathering, being held June 25-28 in Barnardsville, aims to take its transformation potential a step further, putting cultural transformation at the forefront. The gathering, now in its eighth year, has always been geared toward changing participants’ lives through a variety of classes based on radical ideas and concepts, but this summer, directors are working to make that goal explicit instead of implicit.

Standing before the board: Parker Cove resident Nancy Nehls Nelson speaks before the Buncombe County Planning Board.

Weavervill­e residents voice concerns about subdivisio­n developmen­t

The Buncombe County Planning Board initially approved the plans for the Maple Trace subdivision in November 2014. At that time, the design called for 140 household units to be built in a rural Weaverville community with traffic directed through two exists. However, revisions to the plan have residents concerned that poor visibility and high traffic may result in dangerous driving conditions.