You can lead corn to water…

My popcorn crop is in — picked, shucked and drying — all five tiny ears of it. The mouthful of peas I harvested has already been plucked, eaten — and enjoyed. This draws to a close my first foray into hydroponic gardening. And while it was an interesting experiment, a look at the numbers raises […]


On behalf of our board of directors, welcome to the 2004 Mountain Sports Festival presented by RBC Centura! This year, for the first time, we are partnering with the Asheville Parks and Recreation Department to bring you a festival that’s bigger and better than ever. Check out this official MSF guide and you’ll see that […]


If you look like a duck and act like a duck, then whet your quacker on these: two eight-mile canoe races, one a flat-water river run for paddlers of any skill level, plus a raft race featuring class IV rapids. It’s all part of the fun at the Mountain Sports Festival presented by RBC Centura. […]

The geology of sport

When protohumans first wandered away from home in search of a meal — or beat a hasty retreat, pursued by something that saw them as a meal — sooner or later they came to the mountains. (The first mountain sports festival, in fact, may have spontaneously occurred when a primitive bear chased a family of […]

Team Savoy

The image of the chef as temperamental, egotistical, effete tyrant is well established in the public perception, however unfair it may be to more congenial kitchen artists. And the celebrity chef, complete with cookbooks and TV shows, is a cultural fixture. So meeting Brian Canipelli, the executive chef at Asheville’s Savoy Cucina Italiana, is something […]

Out, standing in my field

I suppose I could gloat. While all my gardening friends are still waiting for delivery of the stuff they ordered last month as they drooled over seed catalogs, I’m about to harvest corn. No, not sweet corn, which would surely deliver more pleasure than a mortal soul could handle this early in the season. But […]

A better mousetrap

To begin with, it wasn’t originally conceived as an annual event, or even aimed at the general public. The first Organic Growers School, convened in 1994, targeted several dozen commercial farmers who wanted to learn how to tap the growing market for healthy food. But the idea proved too timely to quietly fade away, and […]

Squanto in the hydro-condo

Growing up, most of us were taught pleasant myths about the European invasion of North America, like the one about the Pilgrims coming here in search of religious freedom (which they already enjoyed in Amsterdam — and which they immediately denied to all comers in Massachusetts). It might seem puzzling that this myth would depict […]

The river on Patton

Salsa’s success is the stuff of Asheville legend. An entrepreneur with a great idea and culinary flair cooks up an unorthodox business plan with a little help from the Mountain Microenterprise Fund, sets up shop in a tiny but strategic location, busts his butt, scores huge success — but doesn’t forget how it happened. Owner […]

Out of left field

Experiencing Momix always reminds me of Harrison Bergeron, the protagonist in Kurt Vonnegut’s classic short story of the same name. Bergeron is an athlete and a dancer in a future world where equality is absolutely enforced by a Handicapper General. Smart folks are dumbed down with sonic implants that prevent sequential thought, handsome people are […]

Cats, corn and condos

The proposal from Julia Brooke Childs, co-owner of the New Age Garden Center in Swannanoa, proved irresistible. Childs would provide hydroponic gardening equipment to an Xpress garden writer who might then write about the subject. Her suggestion dovetailed perfectly with the frequent suggestions from readers and writers alike that we abandon our last-frost-to-first-frost garden reporting […]

What you don’t know might hurt you

It’s rare to find a book that’s as easily judged by its cover as Censored 2004 (Peter Phillips, ed., Seven Stories Press, 2003). The image is of Picasso’s masterpiece Guernica — arguably the world’s most famous artistic treatment of the horrors of modern warfare — partly covered by a curtain. A tapestry reproduction of the […]

13 vie for 3 Council seats

Next Tuesday, Asheville voters will cast their ballots in a primary election designed to winnow the field of candidates for three City Council seats. The six survivors among the 13 contenders will slug it out on Nov. 7. In the primary, each eligible voter may choose three candidates. In order to help our readers cut […]

The drive toward cleaner air

Last week’s megablackout in the Northeast couldn’t have been more timely for this week’s Southern Energy & Environment Expo. The catastrophe proved no problem for folks living off the grid and relying on stand-alone electrical power systems. It was probably only a minor annoyance for others who were Y2K-ready and had held onto gas-powered generators […]

To SEEE and do

Backhome Chapters Across America: Who they are, what activities and projects they’ve already accomplished, and how you can become involved by getting together with like-minded folks in your community. Batteries for green power systems: Safety precautions, sizing, maintenance and types of batteries for solar, wind and micro-hydro systems. Citizen Action for Clean Air: Canary Coalition […]

Buncombe justice on trial

[Editor’s note: Sheriff Bobby Medford did not respond to written questions concerning the allegations reported in this story. And despite repeated attempts over a period of months, Xpress has been unable to contact Jeffrey Medford.] The lack of action following a State Bureau of Investigation probe of an alleged domestic-violence incident involving the son of […]

Oh deer, what can the matter be?

The lengthy legal wrangle over control measures for Biltmore Forest’s burgeoning white-tail deer population was probably unnecessary. At least that’s my take after reading Solving Deer Problems (The Lyons Press, 2003) by local garden guru Peter Loewer. “Don’t plant it and they won’t come,” is the major message I gleaned from this comprehensive, highly readable […]

Keeping Asheville’­s past alive

For 15 years, The Preservation Society of Asheville and Buncombe County has celebrated National Preservation Week (the second week of May) with the Griffin Awards. Named for the mythological creatures that grace the north entrance of the Grove Arcade, the awards go to individuals and companies that have done the most to restore and burnish […]

There and back again

It’s difficult to calculate Thomas Wolfe’s value to the city of Asheville — as tourist bait. The peddlers of Wolfeiana clearly set great literary store by him, though I suspect few enough read his wearying works once they leap clear of high school English. However that may be, Wolfe is the emblematic expatriate Asheville-born writer, […]