“We will be taking this farm to table thing all the way to the creative end product,” says Jamie Ager, owner of Hickory Nut Gap Farm. The Fairview farm and its on-site store are currently undergoing construction as part of expansion plans that will bring some major changes to the Asheville-area staple.
Plans for the project include a new addition to the farm’s current retail store, as well as office spaces and an inspected kitchen. “We’ve always been frustrated here because we sort of have this whole farm-to-table scene in Asheville, but you can’t actually eat when you come to the farm,” Ager explains.
Ager aims to have the updates completed in time for the farm’s autumn festivities. “We’ll pour concrete next week, and we’ll be framing right behind that,” he says. “We’re hoping, semi-optimistically, that we’ll be ready for customers by this fall.”
Visiting Hickory Nut Gap is a favorite seasonal outing for many local families. The addition of food service will mean that visitors will be able to continue their berry picking, culvert sliding and horseback riding adventures without having to power through hunger or cut out early to go eat lunch. Hickory Nut Gap has tried to have food trucks come out on busy weekends, but being off the beaten path in Fairview, it has proved challenging for them to offer them consistently.
The kitchen will begin by offering a lunch menu daily and dinner on select busy-season dates. Ager envisions the menu incorporating an assortment of burgers, soups, salads and sandwiches. “We are excited to be working with whoever ends up being head chef and let them kind of take it where it needs to go,” says Ager.
Food will be served take-out style, and customers can either grab their grub and go or settle themselves in to enjoy a picnic on the farm. Hickory Nut Gap offers various spots perfectly suited for a picnic — visitors can eat alongside the horses or while watching children frolic through the berry patch.
Ager plans on partnering with area farms to ensure that everything on the menu is obtained locally and satisfies Hickory Nut Gap’s farm-to-table ideal.