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. […]

COFFEE CONNECTIONS: Dynamite Roasting Co. owners Josh Gibbs and Andy Gibbon, second and fourth from left, respectively, are hosting Honduran coffee suppliers Liliana Cardona and Oscar Omar Alonzo, pictured, for a Q&A and tasting event. The local roasters hope to foster a conversation between both ends of their supply chain. Plus, Gibbon says, "They get to see their coffee on the grocery store shelves. That's pretty cool.”

Small bites: Dynamite Roasting Co. hosts Honduran coffee suppliers in Asheville

A tasting event hosted by Dynamite Roasting Co., will bring together two Honduran coffee purveyors with the locals who drink their harvests; Chelsea Wakstein leads a workshop on fermented condiments at Villagers; Firestorm Books and Coffee hosts a vegan pressure cooking demonstration; and ASAP is awarded a $45,000 grants to assist farmers and markets.

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 […]

DINNER'S DONE: In partnership with Whole Foods across the Southeast, Smiling Hara Tempeh is releasing precooked, preseasoned products that cut down on meal prep time.

Small bites: Smiling Hara Tempeh’s multifacet­ed expansion

Smiling Hara Tempeh is bolstering its partnership with Whole Foods with the release of a new heat-and-eat product line in addition to opening a new factory; winter farmers markets are kicking off in Western North Carolina; MANNA FoodBank warehouse is sporting a new roof, thanks to several local businesses; and PennyCup Coffee Co. has a new downtown store.