The Buchi buzz
Asheville's Buchi Kombucha is gaining ground. Kombucha, for the unfamiliar, is a beverage of black tea fermented with sugar. It's been used for centuries as a health-giving elixir that is said to balance the mind and body it also makes a darn good hangover cure.
I recently had the chance to sample the locally brewed Buchi on tap at the LEAF festival it's truly fantastic. Buchi is naturally sweet, without any of the vinegary taste that other kombucha brands often have. In my limited experience thus far, Buchi is much better on tap than in the bottle though the bottled type is still the best I've tried.
The indie band, Vampire Weekend, thinks so, too. When they visited Asheville recently, one of their requests was to have the drink delivered to them backstage at the Orange Peel. Before leaving Asheville, they ordered several cases of Buchi to take home with them.
Fortunately for us, there are plenty of places to sample Buchi on tap around Asheville; Rosetta's and Green Sage both keep the beverage flowing. The Laughing Seed does as well they make a "Buchirita" that Buchi brewer and owner Sarah Schomber says is delicious. "Instead of sweet and sour, they use kombucha," she says. "It's something we've been doing for a while."
Schomber also recommends a drink that she and co-owner/brewer Jeannine Buscher developed, which they call the "Fuzzy Buchi," made with peach schnapps, vodka and Buchi.
Schomber is happy to report that the demand for Buchi Kombucha has allowed them to begin work on a new brewery, which will enable them to turn out more kombucha and toy around with some new flavors. Since the recipes are still in the development stages, Schromber couldn't quite share what new flavors we should expect. She did, however, hint at the likely possibility of a ginger Buchi.
For more information about Buchi Kombucha, visit www.drinkbuchi.com
Pick your chicken
Arthur Morgan School in Yancey County is gearing up for the Family Farm Tour on Saturday, June 26, and Sunday, June 27. Hosted and coordinated by the Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project, the tour allows participants to visit area farms for a behind the scenes look at the agrarian life. Arthur Morgan is pleased to fling open its barn doors, so to speak, for a peek inside.
Arthur Morgan is a both a boarding school and day school for seventh, eighth and ninth graders, who receive a traditional curriculum-oriented education plus much more. "We have a pretty significant wilderness outdoor program, as well as sort of a self-sufficiency work program," says admissions director Meghan Lundy-Jones. We're sort of like the Warren Wilson for middle-schoolers."
The school directors and their students have decided to showcase some farm skills education into their farm tour, making a stop to this Yancey County school a rather unique learning experience. On Saturday morning, the school will host the "Pick Your Own Poultry Workshop," where participants will have the opportunity to choose then kill and dress their own chickens. "We're excited to teach other people how to process chickens," says Lundy-Jones. On each evening of the tour, from 5:30 p.m. until 7:30 p.m., the school will host a dinner cooked solely from food grown on the farm; the chickens killed on Saturday morning will be served at that dinner.
The children who attend Arthur Morgan are no strangers to the process of raising and processing their own meat. Students work on the farm, raising food for the school and the slaughter of the animals is often included in their education. Lundy-Jones says that the kids are always given the option to take part in the killing, only if they so choose.
How do the kids react to killing the animals? Some of them, she says, grew up in an environment where they hunted and fished, so they are used to the process. Those kids, she says, "make really awesome mentors for the other kids. For most all of us, it's a pretty emotional thing. What's really fascinating going through the whole process is that is that you start out very conscious that you're killing something and take note of that. But by the end, you're going through this sort of assembly line, so a lot of that emotion changes to where you feel that you are just creating food. It's fascinating."
Lundy-Jones reports that they've had some pretty compelling conversations about vegetarianism as a result of the process. "Some of the kids are very excited and feel very capable," she says. "Then some say, 'OK, I think I'll be a vegetarian now.' It's a really cool educational tool. We try to make it clear. We think that if you're going to eat meat, you might as well know what goes into it."
Though the chicken workshop is the centerpiece of the farm tour at Arthur Morgan, visitors to the farm can also view the one-acre garden, the collection of livestock that lives on the farm and the school as well, says Lundy-Jones.
Arthur Morgan School is located at 60 AMS Circle in Burnsville. For more information, call 675-4262.
Want to know more?
ASAP's Family Farm Tour is an invitation to visit 37 farms and gardens throughout six counties in WNC. WNC is home to agriculture of all kinds, ranging from century farms cultivated by the same family for generations, to certified organic farms, to urban gardens. Here's your chance to tour your choice. Visit www.asapconnections.org to find out more about how the tour operates, and to download the official 2010 Family Farm Tour guide book.