GET ON THE BUS: Tara Whitsitt, founder of Fermentation on Wheels, will bring her mobile cultured-food education project to Asheville in April. Photo courtesy of Tara Whitsitt

Fermentation on Wheels

Traveling food-preservation-education project Fermentation on Wheels will bring its mobile classroom and fermentation lab — a converted 1986 International Harvester school bus — to Asheville for a donation-based food starter-culture exchange, workshop and community potluck the weekend of April 5-6. The visit is one stop on a joint tour with the nonprofit Fermenters Club that will end in mid-April in Nasheville, Tenn.

The tour's events, says Fermentation on Wheels founder Tara Whitsitt, are meant to “serve as a way to bridge communities and restore a genuine fascination and interest in local, traditionally preserved foods.” 

Whitsitt created her mobile workshop in 2013 in Eugene, Ore. and has since traveled the country presenting vegetable-ferment classes. Both Fermentation on Wheels and Fermenters Club aim to teach and encourage people to make and share their own living, probiotic foods.

A fermentation workshop will be held at 2:30 p.m. Saturday, April 5, and a fermented-foods potluck will be held 4-8 p.m. Sunday, April 6, both at Green Hill Urban Farm, 30 Green Hill Ave., Asheville. Details:,, RSVP: — Gina Smith

Dean Ornish dinner event

Mountain Area Health Education Center (MAHEC) will host Dr. Dean Ornish at 6 p.m. Thursday, March 27, at Asheville Community Theatre for an event centered on educating the community about food, chronic disease and aging. Ornish, a best-selling author and a clinical professor of medicine at the University of California, will discuss sustainable nutritional practices that are good for the health of both humans and the planet.

The event will also serve as an introduction to the professional catering world for Dava Melton, founder of Blessed 2 Cook, who will provide a locally sourced, small-plate menu designed to correspond with Ornish's lecture.

Ornish's lecture is part of the Integrative Health Conference held by MAHEC and will be followed by a book signing. Tickets are $45. Meal begins at 6 p.m., lecture begins at 7:15 p.m. Thursday, March 27, at Asheville Community Theatre, 35 E. Walnut. Tickets: Hall

New territory for French Broad Chocolate Lounge

French Broad Chocolate Lounge recently announced plans to move from its bursting-at-the-seams original location at 10 S. Lexington Ave., where it has been for most of its six years in business. Lounge owners Dan and Jael Rattigan have signed a 10-year lease on the first floor of the historic Legal Building, previously Sun Trust Bank, at 10 S. Pack Square and are beginning renovations on the space this spring. Plans for the new location include scratch-made ice creams, a separate retail space for takeout items, greater seating capacity (including outdoor seating on Pack Square) and an expanded chocolate selection.

Tupelo Honey keeps growing

With Tupelo Honey Café's $330,000 renovation project on its downtown location slated to be completed this week, the restaurant has also announced plans to expand into the Atlanta market. Tupelo Honey's first Georgia location, scheduled to open sometime in 2015, will be part of a 21-acre, mixed-use development being constructed in Sandy Springs, just north of Atlanta. The restaurant already has five other out-of-market locations in Charlotte, N.C., Greenville, S.C. and Knoxville, Chattanooga and Johnson City, Tenn., in addition to its two original Asheville stores. The revamped College Street restaurant will reopen at 9 a.m. Friday, March 28, and an open house will be held to celebrate the upgrades 3-5 p.m. the same day. Free appetizers will be offered, and the first 25 customers will receive a copy of the restaurant’s new cookbook, Tupelo Honey Cafe: New Southern Flavors From The Blue Ridge Mountains. The first 100 customers will receive a free pint glass. Info: — Gina Smith

Farmer and Chef Asheville cookbook

Farmer and Chef South, a media resource on Southern food trends, has a cookbook in in the works for late 2014 that will focus on Asheville's food culture. According to Christine Sykes Lowe of Farmer and Chef, the cookbook will feature “farmers who preserve Appalachian mountain heritage and the chefs who make the city of Asheville a ‘Foodtopia’ destination, as branded by the Asheville Convention and Visitors Bureau.” The Asheville cookbook project is Farmer and Chef South's first in a planned series of publications aimed at spotlighting Southern cities with thriving food communities. Farmer and Chef also hosts quarterly events focused on food, drinks and sustainability, among other activities. — Gina Smith


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