New market and café coming to Asheville’s Oakley neighborhood

IN THE MARKET: Grace Corder offers a colorful selection of local fruits and vegetables, artisan granola and fresh juice drinks at Gladheart Farm's open-air produce stand on Fairview Road. In spring 2018, the stand will be replaced by a brick-and-mortar farm store and coffee bar. Eventually, a full-service café will be added to the property. Photo by Gina Smith

What was previously a kudzu-choked vacant lot on Fairview Road is showing signs of new life — and of bringing much-needed food access to the Oakley neighborhood. Gladheart Farm, a 7-acre growing operation and spiritual community off School Road in Oakley, acquired the property last year and now has plans to build a fresh-food market over the next few months, followed eventually by a café.

In the meantime, the farm has already launched an open-air produce stand in the space, selling fresh local vegetables, melons, berries, handmade granola and drinks. Project coordinator and Gladheart Farm resident Al Jayne says the stand will only be there until the end of this year, at which point attention will shift to construction of a permanent farm store.

That shop, he says, will carry organically grown fresh produce, baked goods, drinks, jam and other products from Gladheart as well as eggs and other “good-quality food items” from area farms and businesses. “We’re kind of open-minded about what we’re going to carry,” says Jayne. “But it’s not going to be like a convenience story — we’re not going to carry cigarettes and snack food.”

As a part of the global Twelve Tribes religious group, Gladheart will also be able to tap into its network of sister communities to offer a few things not produced in Western North Carolina, such as olive oil grown and pressed by a Twelve Tribes collective in Spain and yerba maté (a naturally caffeinated South American herbal drink) from a fellow community in Brazil. Knowing the sources of these items, Jayne notes, assures the quality of the products. “Olive oil, for example, is a big thing. A lot of times with these olive oil companies,  you don’t know what you’re getting. We like the idea of knowing the people we’re getting it from,” he says.

The farm store, which Jayne hopes will open in March or April, if all goes well with city permitting, will also have a small coffee and tea bar serving the farm’s Maté Factor yerba maté as well as other teas, coffee, baked goods and healthy snacks. A second phase of construction, tentatively slated to begin the following year, will add a 50-seat café, possibly connected to the market by an outdoor deck and seating area.

Based on the Twelve Tribes’ Yellow Deli model, the eatery would offer a menu of fresh, house-made sandwiches, salads, soups and desserts. There are 12 other Yellow Deli locations operating as far afield as Australia, Spain and Canada, with the nearest one in Hiddenite in Alexander County.

The addition of Gladheart Farm’s market and café will provide important food resources for the Oakley community. The predominantly low-wealth neighborhood, which currently has no central business district, grocery stores or social hubs such as coffee shops or restaurants, has been designated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture as an urban food desert.

Jayne says he is looking forward to helping alleviate the community’s food insecurity and creating a social space for residents. “We’re so happy to be able to launch that little farm stand and so excited about developing this thing and having it be a nice spot for the neighborhood,” he says. “We’re just looking forward to getting it open.”

Gladheart Farm’s produce stand and the site of its future farm store and café are at 578 Fairview Road, across from Asheville Fire Protection and Roots + Wings School of Art and Design. The produce stand is open afternoons every day but Saturday.


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7 thoughts on “New market and café coming to Asheville’s Oakley neighborhood

    • james

      That article from the beast is low-level muckraking. I lost all confidence in their reporting reading it. no preaching of either thing exists there. they have all races even!

      • Adam

        The “religion” is very well documented for its abuse. You can find many sources. If you don’t trust daily beast, look at any of the many other sources making the same claims of physical abuse, sexual misconduct, family separation, etc. You aren’t being told to make a decision, you’re being given information. Inform yourself, then make a decision.

  1. Lynda Smith

    I watched an open forum video and have read various articles related to this religious venue.
    I too will not be supporting this business.
    Wow James…ALL races? How 1950’s of you.

  2. Tim Scarborough

    HATE GROUP AND CULT, check out SPLC, or any number of other resources and articles in the United States and throughout Europe. They are anti-Semitic, they are racist, they are anti LGBTQ, women and children routinely abused.

  3. Smitherene

    I just visited the Gladheart Farm because I lived in the big brick home with the balcony and the huge front yard back in the fifties. Our dad was pastor at Reed Memorial. Such a wonderful growing-up place with so many growing up stories, like putting pennies for flattening flat as a flitter on the RR tracks, steam engines, cows, ducks, guineas, peacocks and peafowl. Until I grew up I never knew what those Piper Cubs were doing up there about a thousand feet in the blue skies above while I lay in the grass watching and longing to be flying too. They would cut off their engines, noses would drop, then they’d start to fall out of the sky, and then the engine would rev up and they’d start flying again. So fun! Them was the days! I didn’t know until after I was gone from that storied hill of apple trees and horses to ride what a paradise it was to live in!

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