Mills River native Bradley Johnston has worked with cows all his life, but his newest venture — Mills River Creamery — is a departure from the high-volume wholesale dairy trade he used to practice. Johnston’s small herd of Jersey cows eat non-GMO feed and produce a type of milk that many find easier to digest than the usual supermarket fare.
Four of Bullington Gardens’ many displays have a special significance this year: Each was designed by a team of Henderson County students as part of the BOOST job skills training program. Developed to give high school sophomores with special needs real-world work experience, the Hendersonville program blooms with the promise of future success.
Moss gardeners have it made in the shade when they visit Mountain Moss Enterprises in Brevard, where local author and moss promoter Annie Martin offers education and sells mosses to plant in your own low-light spots. The shop, which is open Mondays through September, also offers Martin’s book, The Magical World of Moss Gardening.
Pack up your car with friends and family this Saturday and Sunday, June 24 and 25, and head out on Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project’s annual Farm Tour, an opportunity to get up close and personal with more than 20 WNC farms and the farmers growing your food and fiber.
The native pawpaw tree plays an important role in this region’s ecology, attracting pollinators with its strong-smelling fruits, says Heather Rayburn, a staff member at the Botanical Gardens at Asheville. Rayburn will lead a discussion on the pawpaw and other native plants at the garden’s monthly book club on June 21.
Project Genesis is a pioneering longitudinal study that is mobilizing more than 150 volunteers to study and collect data on the health of 20 research bee hives in West Asheville. Project founder Carl Chesick hopes to gain insight into the factors that are endangering the survival of honeybee colonies.
The Buncombe County Extension Master Gardener Volunteers offer up a chance to visit six private gardens via their biennial tour, the Hidden Gardens of Asheville. And the selection of secret gardens couldn’t be more varied, organizers share — all offering much more to see than just pretty perennials. The tour takes place on June 3 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
The 2017 Garden Jubilee in downtown Hendersonville May 27 and 28 will feature more than 250 regional vendors along Main Street, offering their gardening tips and tricks along with their plants. Expect to see thousands of annuals, perennials, vegetables and herbs, including rare selections, along with outdoor furniture and decor.
Learn about walk-behind tractors, a simpler, cheaper and surprisingly versatile alternative to full-sized farm tractors, at a special workshop presented by Living Web Farms in Mills River on May 27. Participants will also learn about specialized hand tools.
Brewing your own beer is all the rage, but for those who prefer the road less traveled, making mead at home is a more offbeat alternative. Marisa Percoco will offer up instruction for aspiring mead masters on May 14 at Villagers in West Asheville.
Microgreens are increasingly big business, with local restaurant diners and home chefs embracing the tiny, yet flavorful, leaves. Xpress talked to growers to find out where you can try the greens — and even how you can grow them at home.
The Garden Helpline of the Buncombe County Extension Master Gardener Volunteers is now open to provide information, advice and and even a little handholding for anyone with a gardening-related question. The service is free, and volunteers are available by phone or in person at the Buncombe County Cooperative Extension office.
Slow Food Asheville recently announced the Cherokee Purple heirloom tomato as the focus of their 2017 Heritage Food Project. The organization will disseminate 1,700 Cherokee Purple seedlings to area individuals, as well as school, church and community gardens.
Through their Jewel of the Blue Ridge teaching vineyard, Chuck and Jeannie Blethen share their knowledge of growing cold-hardy grapes in the mountains. The vineyard is offering on-farm classes each month through the fall.
After the annual show of tulips at Biltmore fades, another floral exhibition bursts into bloom, this time with plants native to the Southeast. Biltmore’s 15-acre Azalea Garden is the largest on the grounds and features one of the country’s most extensive collections of the multicolored shrubs.
The Organic Growers School’s Spring Conference is hardly a new event: The annual gathering of farmers, gardeners, homesteaders and assorted sustainability seekers turns 24 this month. But organizers say those attending this year’s edition, whether they’re newbies or longtime conference regulars, will surely dig up some novel information.