Spring fling preview
Market season is right around the corner, and we at Xpresscouldn't be happier. Expect to see the pages of the food section stuffed with farmers-market reports, recipes and more.
We continue to collaborate with the Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project, an organization that shares our love of all things edible in Western North Carolina. Look for the first of ASAP's columns in next week's Eatin' in Season, where Rose McClarney will walk readers through the process of how to identify certifiably local food and provide reports of just when those farmers markets will be open for business.
West side represent
In the meantime, we have some market news to get you excited about the upcoming season: The West Asheville Tailgate Market begins its ninth year on Tuesday, April 20, in a bigger, better venue. You might remember this market as the one crammed into a too-small space near the Westville Pub and the West End Bakery. The WATM has outgrown that spot, and will now be located across the street from Burgermeister's in the parking lot of the Grace Baptist Church. The new location allows for twice as many vendors, as well as ample parking. Vendors will offer a large assortment of fruits and vegetables, baked goods, eggs, plant starts, local meats, N.C. coastal seafood, honey, dairy products, cultured foods and more. There will also be plenty of fun and games for the little ones and often live music. The WATM runs from 3:30 to 6:30 p.m. on Tuesdays. Contact market manager Jim Gordon at 545-2262 for more information.
Bringing the farm downtown
The Asheville City Market opens at 161 Charlotte St. in downtown Asheville on Saturday, April 17, at 8 a.m. There is, by the way, another location on the south side at Biltmore Town Square — that one doesn't open until Wednesday, May 5. The downtown market will feature gobs of great local produce, local meats and dairy and local artisan products of both the edible and nonedible variety. Expect to see bath and body goods, breads and other value-added items.
Smiling Hara Tempeh is one example of what can found at the City Market. Company owners Chad Oliphant and Sarah Yancey make their fantastic, nutty-tasting tempeh from locally sourced soybeans, and they plan to expand to use other legumes, like chick peas and split peas. Both Luella's BBQ and Rosetta's use their product.
Andrea Morrell's Pasta Wench Pastawill also be available. Morrell's wares — which include creative flavors of ravioli and fettucini as well as pasta sauces — are made with as many locally farmed organic ingredients as possible. Roughly 60 percent of the farms that she buys from are female-owned. Many of the herbs that she uses for her ravioli are grown in her mountaintop farm's organic-herb garden.
The eggs that she uses in her pasta dough come from the 60 wild-foraging chickens she raises on her farm. To maintain a fresh supply this winter, Morrell converted half of her garage into a passive-solar greenhouse. To learn more about Pasta Wench Pasta, visit www.pastawench.com.
Kid cooking curriculum
Want kids in your school to make salsa, mix up flavored goat cheese and taste all kinds of vegetables? They can — for free — with cooking demonstrations provided by ASAP's Growing Minds program. As a part of ASAP's work to give children positive experiences with fresh, healthy food, the nonprofit organization is now offering WNC teachers cooking demonstrations for pre-school and elementary-school classes.
Here's how the cooking demos work: A teacher contacts ASAP requesting a demo and is matched with a volunteer chef, who comes to the classroom prepared with food and supplies. The teacher only needs to provide the space and the students — as well as photos and anecdotes from the kids after the session, which normally ranges from one hour to one-and-a-half hours.
According to ASAP, cooking demonstrations have multiple benefits. "Children may think they hate vegetables or other healthy foods," says ASAP's Rose McClarney, "but when they cook those same foods themselves and feel invested in the process, kids are likely to taste anything." Also, according to McClarney, studies show that the foods that children are exposed to influence their future eating habits. Introducing kids to healthy choices at an early age can have a long-term positive impact.
If you would like a chef to teach your class about local food and how to prepare it, please contact ASAP at email@example.com or 236-1282 by April 16. As funding is limited, the demonstrations will be provided on a first come/first serve basis.
Chef Mo in Motion, indeed
Chef Mo’s Restaurant and Bar — the former Chef in Motion — has moved from its location in a fairly small historic building on Victoria Road near A-B Tech to 900 Hendersonville Road, Suite 201, the space formerly occupied by Wildflower Cafe and later, Amici. The new location allows for greatly expanded seating, as well as walk-in dining; the original location offered dining by reservation only.
Mauricio Abreu, aka Chef Mo, says that the restaurant has a seating capacity of about 70, with a private dining area that acts like a chef's table, which is closer to the concept of the original restaurant.
"We now serve lunch and dinner like any regular restaurant," he says, adding that the concept of the restaurant is American food with a Latin twist. "It's a little different," says Abreu.
Abreu also says that all menu items will cost less than $20; the most expensive of the entrees will be a beer-battered lobster tail with mashed sweet potatoes and a chipotle aioli. "We're trying to keep with the trend of reasonable prices," he says. "Right now, people are looking for value."
Chef Mo’s is open for dinner from Monday through Friday from 5 to 9:30 p.m., and until 10:30 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. Lunch is served only on weekdays from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. For more information, visit www.chefinmotion.com.