Nuts of all varieties — and a few squirrels — will take the spotlight at the Nutty Buddy Collective’s fundraiser, the Carnival of Nuts, this weekend at Toy Boat Community Art Space. From 4-8 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 20, local and regional restaurants, farms and organizations will highlight nuts in everything from hickory nut milk to Mexican posole with cooking demonstrations, food offerings and more.
“Nuts are some of the most nutritious and delicious foods that exist,” says Justin Holt of the Nutty Buddy Collective, a group of nut enthusiasts who are working to partner with conservation-minded Asheville-area landowners to establish and maintain orchards of native nuts. ” That’s why we’ve been working over the past three years to form long-term lease agreements and to plant diverse nut-centered orchards. And now we’re looking to the community for further help.”
The Nutty Buddy Collective defines what it does as “community-supported perennial agriculture.” Money raised from Sunday’s event will go toward purchasing nut processing equipment. “A large, powerful cracker that can bust up walnut and hickory shells at a fast rate is the linchpin of a nut processing system,” says Holt, adding that dehulling, drying and separating machines will also be necessary to eventually bring harvests to market. The equipment, says Holt, will help to move niche crops like black walnut and hickories toward the central place they deserve on farms and in regional cuisine.
“Tree crops are slow, land expensive, and margins are tight for farmers,” Holt explains. “So, we’re looking to our community to help us bring this vision into reality.”
- All ages are welcome
- Admission is a donation of $10, which buys one bag of tokens to spend on food, games and fun. Kids under 12 free
- Kids activities will be held 4-6 p.m., including Nut Putt-Putt; nut pie and cake walks; a nut milking stall, nut cracking, a nut scavenger hunt and carnival games.
- There will be a high-flying aerial squirrel performance
- Silent auction featuring a wild-foods hike with No Taste Like Home
- Cooking demonstrations
- Guest speakers will present on topics such as the economics of nuts and land access
Many area businesses who are a part of the community supporting the project will be on hand, including French Broad Chocolates, OWL Bakery, The Hop, Vortex Doughnuts, Useful Plants Nursery and more. Nutty goodies will be plentiful. For example, Cathy Cleary, president of FEAST and co-founder of West End Bakery, is making an apple-chestnut stuffing and chestnut-caramel popcorn. Osker and Amber Brown of Glorious Forest Farm in Mars Hill will prepare their fluffy, chewy gluten-free acorn cookies, The Hop is mixing up some black walnut ice cream and Gurum Bakery of Blacksburg, Va., will cook the main dish — posole (A Mexican soup made from hominy or hulled corn) with chestnut muffin. Dan Rattigan of French Broad Chocolates is being secretive, but he hints at a black-walnut chocolate creation.
The Nutty Buddy Collective is also planning to prepare traditional, Italian-style roasted chestnuts, pecan hot chocolate and hickory nut milk. “The restaurants that are contributing foods are excited to have a future local source of these high-value crops,” Holt says. The group’s fundraising goal is $10,000.
The Carnival of Nuts is 4-8 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 20 at the Toy Boat Community Art Space, 101 Fairview Road. For details about the Nutty Buddy Collective, visit nuttybuddycollective.com.