Small bites: A Taste of Hemp

PLANT-BASED PROTEIN: Hemp cheese ravioli will be among the dishes featured by Plant chef Jason Sellers at the upcoming Taste of Hemp luncheon event at Highland Brewing Co. Photo courtesy of Plant

HempX Asheville publicist Jill Lieberman ticks off reasons why organizers of the upcoming event — two days focused on farming, cultivation, processing, uses and legal status of industrial hemp — are eager to have chef and Plant restaurant co-owner Jason Sellers return for this year’s gathering. “He’s an accomplished chef,” says Lieberman. “He is supercreative and loves to experiment.”

But perhaps the most important thing for Lieberman is something she learned about Sellers while planning last year’s inaugural function. “When we first approached him last year, he informed us he’d been cooking and experimenting with hemp for years,” she says.

Sellers will kick off the second iteration of HempX with a two-hour lunch event, A Taste of Hemp. Among items planned for the menu are hemp cheese ravioli, a vegan cheesecake with hemp crust and a dreamsicle — a creamy ice pop with a hemp twist. Throughout the meal, Sellers will offer guests insight on the benefits of cooking with hemp.

Lieberman notes the difficulties many vegetarians face when trying to meet their daily protein needs. “It can be challenging,” she says. “That’s why hemp seed is great. It has it all. It’s super healthy and a complete protein.” In addition to protein, hemp seed is loaded with 20 amino acids, omega fatty acids and fiber, she adds.

Proceeds from A Taste of Hemp (which is the only ticketed event throughout the weekend gathering) will benefit two organizations: Growing Warriors and Accelerating Appalachia. The former is a nonprofit organization that teaches farming skills to military veterans; the latter is an incubator that helps grow nature-based businesses.

Lieberman hopes folks will come for the food but stay for the speakers and panels. “It’s really aimed at bringing people together that are interested in the possibility of hemp,” she says. “It’s a great way for anybody interested in applying for industrial hemp [permits] to come and learn more about everything from the agricultural side of how to grow it to the legal side of what you’re going to have to do to apply to what you’d be able to do with the crop once you do grow it.”

A Taste of Hemp runs noon-2 p.m. Friday, Aug. 19, at Highland Brewing Co., 12 Old Charlotte Highway. Tickets are $20 and include all food and beverages. Tickets are available online at For details on HempX Asheville, visit

Brevard Bites Food Tours

“I’m excited to showcase the best restaurants in Brevard,” says Matthew Sharpsteen in a media release. The 16-year-old recently launched Brevard Bites Food Tours, a walking tour that leads guests through downtown Brevard highlighting the area’s history and architecture, while offering samples from a variety of local restaurants. Some of the food stops on the tour include Marco Trattoria, Jordan Street Café, Hobnob, Wine Down, Broad Street Wines, Blue Ridge Bakery, The Proper Pot and Kiwi Gelato. “My goal is to introduce the amazing cuisine we have here to both locals and visitors alike and encourage guests to slow down and truly enjoy the charm of downtown while learning about Brevard’s fun and entertaining history and culture,” says Sharpsteen.

Brevard Bites Food Tour takes place 2-4:30 p.m. Thursday-Saturday. Tickets are $39. For more information, contact Matthew Sharpsteen at

ASAP’s Local Food Experience

Looking Glass Creamery, Buxton Hall Barbecue, Hickory Nut Gap Farm, Sunburst Trout Farms, Imladris Farm, Green River Picklers, Waynesville Soda Jerks, Ultimate Ice Cream, French Broad Chocolates and HomeGrown are among the many local businesses that will be handing out samples and small plates at ASAP’s Local Food Experience on Thursday, Aug. 18. The gathering also offers visitors a chance to meet area farmers and features family-friendly activities and a silent auction with a local food theme.

ASAP’s Local Food Experience happens 5:30-8:30 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 18, at the Highland Brewing Co. Event Center, 12 Old Charlotte Highway. Tickets are $20 and include food and nonalcoholic beverage tastings. Tickets for children ages 12 and younger are $10 and are available at the door. Proceeds benefit ASAP. Buy tickets at

National Honors for Local Restaurants

In a recent article in Food Republic, writer Megan Giller lists French Broad Chocolates as one of the 12 best places in the United States and Canada for bean-to-bar chocolate ice cream. Giller writes that, much like craft beer and speciality coffee, chocolate is having a renaissance.”I highly advise that you prepare yourself before you walk into this adorable café in Asheville because it is truly a wonderland of scrumptious chocolate offerings,” she says in the write-up. Also, on Aug. 2, Bon Appetite manganese named Buxton Hall Barbecue to its list of America’s 50 Best New Restaurants for 2016. Acknowledging that country is in the midst of a “barbecue boom,” Andrew Knowlton and Julia Kramer write, “Old-school joints are finally getting their due, and new-school smokehouses — like Buxton Hall — are proudly carrying on the tradition while shaking things up a little.” The magazine will whittle down the group of 50 to a top 10 on Tuesday, Aug. 16

For the full Food Republic article, visit To view Bon Appetit’s top 50 list, visit


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About Thomas Calder
Thomas Calder received his MFA in Fiction from the University of Houston's Creative Writing Program. His writing has appeared in Gulf Coast, the Miracle Monocle, Juked and elsewhere. His debut novel, The Wind Under the Door, is now available.

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One thought on “Small bites: A Taste of Hemp

  1. boatrocker

    Ok, first, the smart aleck answer to my question in the paragraph below “why don’t you pay $20 to find out?”

    Now the question- what does hemp actually taste like by itself? Can you eat it by itself and will it taste good? Can you toss it into trail mix or grind it up to sprinkle on something?

    I think I’ve tried dishes that contain it (pie crusts and as a side with other veggies) but other flavors were more out in front so to speak. When I think hemp, I think of sailors pulling ropes on ships while singing a dirty sea shanty about a woman of ill repute.
    Maybe that’s just me.
    I honestly can’t even identify the hemp in the picture of the ravioli- I’m assuming it’s the green stuff? Yea, I actually asked.
    Gimme a break, I don’t cook with it- yet.

    So to answer my own question, maybe I will go try it myself.
    I already know what Highland beer tastes like, heh heh.

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