Small bites: Asheville VegFest returns

FUN AND FILLING: This year's VegFest highlights a smorgasbord of local vegan eats, including food from Plant, left, among many other meal options. And live entertainment from bands like Warm the Bell, bottom right, will aim to keep the principled festival light and fun.
FUN AND FILLING: This year's VegFest highlights a smorgasbord of local vegan eats, including food from Plant, left, among many other meal options. And live entertainment from bands like Warm the Bell, bottom right, will aim to keep the principled festival light and fun. Photos courtesy of Plant and Asheville VegFest

After launching in 2011, Asheville VegFest took a four-year hiatus. “But this year, we decided to bring it back and see what we could do,” says Ann Green, president of the Asheville Vegan Society, which produces the free outdoor event. This second iteration takes place on Saturday, May 15.

Plant-based edibles — offered both as free samples and for sale a la carte — will take the spotlight, with a lineup of mostly local vendors, including No Evil Foods, Plant, Scott’s Knots, Eden-Out, The Hop, Firestorm Café and Books, The BLOCK Off Biltmore, Udderly Not Cheese, Medea’s Espresso and Juice Bar, Addissae Ethiopian Restaurant and many more. Attendees can also visit the tents of Catawba Brewing Co., Sanctuary Brewing Co., Urban Orchard and Lenny Boy Brewing Co. (a Charlotte-based company that’s bringing its line of organic kombucha and gluten-free beers) for a creature-conscious buzz.

While a key goal of the festival is helping consumers plot a mental map of vegan-friendly eateries for their own future reference, the expanse of food and beverage tents will be broken up by “an et cetera section,” according to Green, who lists pottery, soap and candles among the goods for sale. For kids, there’s an area with face painting, hula hooping and balloons, and musical acts Warm the Bell, Chris Sanchez, Lake Lawn and Leslie Blackshear Smith will play live sets above the sounds of munching and mingling.

VegFest marks the last day of Vegan Awareness Week, which Mayor Esther Manheimer recently signed into existence after some prompting from Asheville Vegan Society. The group’s former president, Joe Walsh, drafted the proclamation that Manheimer later approved — an act that nudged veganism toward the mainstream, says Green.

“During that week, we’re going to have various film screenings and speakers and invite the public to attend,” she says, noting a showing of documentary PlantPure Nation, a “Pig”nic party and pre- and post-VegFest concerts.

VegFest is 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Sunday, May 15, at Pack Square Park, 121 College St. Visit ashevillevegfest.com for more information on the festival and Vegan Awareness Week events, which take place at various times and venues. 

Turkey Tail Wine Festival

Situated less than an hour from Asheville near Morganton, the inaugural Turkey Tail Wine Festival will feature local and regional products from Belle Nicho Winery at Howling Dog Farm, Grassy Creek Vineyard & Winery, Lake James Cellars Winery, Linville Falls Winery, Shadow Line Vineyard, Silver Fork Vineyard & Winery, South Creek Vineyards & Winery, Southern Charm Winery and more. Between tastings and paid full pours, guests can enjoy live music from City Rhythm (big band jazz) and Roadside Attraction (folk/Americana)  and peruse candles, jewelry, stained glass, antiques and other art — some with a wine theme. Poor Man’s BBQ Food Truck and My Local Bakery will provide food at the outdoor event, where lawn chairs and blankets are welcome.

The wine festival happens noon-5 p.m., Saturday, May 14, at The Inn at Glen Alpine, 105 Davis St., Glen Alpine. Tickets are $20/$25. Visit facebook.com/turkeytailwinefestival for more information. 

No-till gardening class

While many gardeners begin their growing season with a hard day of tilling, others subscribe to a method that’s easier on the back and the upper earth’s ecosystem. “Minimal disturbance is a key to thriving soils that are supportive of the best plants,” reads a description of Living Web Farms’ upcoming course on the gardening strategy. Patryk Battle will share no-till techniques that can be used on small plots, including information on equipment, cover crops, planting schedules and more.

The workshop runs from 1:30-7 p.m., Saturday May 21, at Living Web Farms, 176 Kimzey Road, Mills River. $10 suggested donation. Visit livingwebfarms.org for details or to register.

River Arts District Farmers Market

The grassy field beside All Souls Pizza will again fill with produce, meats, cheeses, breads, sauces, chocolates, spices, soaps, herbal medicine and beauty products, plant starts, fine crafts and more, as the weekly River Arts District Farmers Market springs back into action this month. Patrons can browse the artisan items to the sounds of live music acts Blue Ribbon Healers (May 11), Searra Jade (May 18) and Asher Leigh (May 25). “We are a producer-only market,” reads the website. “Please excuse the dirty fingernails.”

The market is open 2-6 p.m. Wednesdays at All Souls Pizza, 175 Clingman Ave. Visit radfarmersmarket.wix.com/rad-farmers-market for more information.

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About Kat McReynolds
Kat studied entrepreneurship and music business at the University of Miami and earned her MBA at Appalachian State University. Follow me @katmAVL

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