Small bites: Eliada Farms Week

GROWING MINDS: Frank Taylor, Eliada's chief business development officer, interacts with two summer campers inside the grow dome at Eliada Farms. Photo courtesy of Eliada

Twenty restaurants, bars and eateries will participate in the inaugural Eliada Farms Week fundraiser, beginning Saturday Aug. 18. Proceeds from the week of ticketed dinners, specialty cocktail offerings, and small-plate and dessert specials will benefit Eliada Farms, the latest initiative from Eliada, a nonprofit that serves the children and families of Western North Carolina.

“We’re introducing a new concept to the community,” says Nora Scheff, the organization’s marketing director. Launched earlier this year, Eliada Farms includes a geodesic grow dome that currently produces three types of lettuce, cucumbers, tomatoes, carrots, beets, various herbs and sunflowers.

Along with supplying its students with healthy, homegrown food options (saving the nonprofit an estimated $10,000 per year), Eliada also plans to sell excess produce to local farm-to-table restaurants. “We’re known as a children’s organization, but this really gets us into sustainable farming,” Scheff notes.

As a way to introduce this new component of its mission, Eliada will supply produce to all restaurants and bars taking part in the inaugural Eliada Farms Week. Venues include Ambrozia Bar and Bistro, AUX Bar, Bonfire Barbecue, Buxton Hall Barbecue, Corner Kitchen, The Hop Ice Cream Café, Post 25 Kitchen & Lounge,  Post 70 Indulgence Bar, The Montford Rooftop Bar, Native Kitchen and Social Pub, Sovereign Remedies, Strada Italiano, Twisted Laurel, Vivian, The Waterbird, and The Wine and Oyster Bar.

“The community has supported Eliada for 115 years,” says Tami Ruckman, the nonprofit’s director of development. “Now we’re seeking to add to our community through sustainable farming.”

At the same time, Scheff adds, Eliada Farms also provides the nonprofit with a more holistic approach to its educational programs. “By focusing on nutrition and wellness and getting kids outside learning in an experiential way, we’re really driving home the fact that we’re serving the whole child,” she says.

Eliada Farms Week runs Saturday-Sunday, Aug. 18-26. Ticketed dinners cost $50-$100. For tickets and a complete schedule of events, visit

Slush Fest at Ben’s Tune Up

Slushies, frozen pops, shaved ice and snow cones will all be featured at the inaugural Slush Fest at Ben’s Tune Up on Saturday, Aug. 18. The menu will include both adult- and kid-friendly flavors. Prices will range from $4-$9. “We have created many recipes that feature our in-house-made sakes,” says owner Molly Clark. Additional choices include Jameson and ginger, Altos strawberry margarita and Absolut cherry limeade. Botanist and Barrel, Urban Orchard Cider, Eurisko Beer Co., Herbal Alchemy Wine, Devil’s Foot Beverage Co. and Zillicoah Beer Co. will also participate in the event.

Slush Fest runs 2-5 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 18, at Ben’s Tune Up, 195 Hilliard Ave. For more information, visit

Country Carnival at Hickory Nut Gap Farm

Hickory Nut Gap Farm will hold a County Carnival on Saturday, Aug. 18, featuring sliders and barbecue flights paired with Wicked Weed Brewing beers. The band Zydeco Ya Ya will perform, and the festivities will also include carnival games and prizes.

The carnival runs 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 18, at Hickory Nut Gap Farm, 57 Sugar Hollow Road, Fairview. Admission is $7; free for kids ages 4 and younger. To RSVP, visit

Summer Jam Festival

“Summer Jam Festival was created with the old-school block party vibe in mind,” says Quinn Asteak, executive director of the West Asheville Tailgate Market. Participating food vendors for this year’s Tuesday, Aug. 21, event include Foothills Food Truck, The Hop Ice Cream Café, King of Pops, Beeswax & Butter and Le Bon Café. The gathering will also feature a jam contest, live music, games, face painting and a $5 raffle. Along with community fun, Asteak says the event is a chance to “celebrate the summer bounty before settling back down into fall.”

Summer Jam Festival runs 3:30-6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 21, at the West Asheville Tailgate Market on Haywood Road. For more information and to enter the jam contest, visit

WelcomeFEST 2018

The Haywood Street Congregation and Chefs @ Downtown Welcome Table are coming together to host the inaugural WelcomeFEST 2018 on Wednesday, Aug. 22. Participating food trucks include Appalachian Chic, Bun Intended, Cecilia’s Kitchen, Gypsy Queen, Mountain View BBQ, Out of the Blue Peruvian Fusion and Root Down. According to a press release, lunch tickets will operate “on a buy one/give one philosophy, with each $20 ticket feeding a member of the Asheville community in need, as well as the purchaser.”

WelcomeFEST 2018 runs 10:30 a.m.-2 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 22, at Haywood Street Congregation, 297 Haywood St. For details and tickets, visit

Dhoopati joins Addison Farms Vineyard

Shruthi Dhoopati recently joined Addison Farms Vineyard as its vineyard manager and winemaker. In 2017, Dhoopati completed her Master of Science degree in viticulture and enology with courses at Montpellier SupAgro, Bordeaux Sciences Agro and Turin University. As vineyard manager and winemaker, Dhoopati says she looks forward “to making food-friendly wines that express our unique soils in North Carolina.”

Addison Farms Vineyard is at 4005 New Leicester Highway, Leicester. For more, visit

John C. Campbell Folk School Cookbook

The John C. Campbell Folk School recently released The Folk School Cookbook. Written and compiled by Nanette Davidson, the book features over 200 recipes pulled from the school’s dining hall. Arranged by the seasons, the cookbook includes both Appalachian classics as well as international fare. Along with recipes, The Folk School Cookbook also includes a history of the school, photographs by Keather Gougler and illustrations from former Folk School host Sara Boggs.

For more on The Folk School Cookbook, 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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6 thoughts on “Small bites: Eliada Farms Week

  1. Roberto

    “We’re introducing a new concept to the community…”

    What, the operation of a for-profit business by a non-profit organization on untaxed land with untaxed equipment and supplies?

    This is nothing new as there are several of these that operate in Buncombe County but no one audits them for compliance.

    How about you don’t SELL your produce but DONATE it to a local food bank like a good non-profit should?

    • Nora Scheff

      Hi Roberto – I appreciate your concern about nonprofits staying in compliance. Our annual audits for the last 4 fiscal years are posted on our website Eliada also goes through compliance audits for all our programs that receive public funding including Medicaid audits for our treatment programs. Many of our programs also go through a licensing process so that we can provide services like foster care. We take being in compliance very seriously. I’d be more than happy to meet up, give you a tour of Eliada, our programs, and the farm, and we can talk about how revenue from the farm (we’re working towards that–still aren’t there yet) will enable us expand programming and meet the needs the children and youth we serve here. My email address at Eliada is Please don’t hesitate to reach out!

  2. Sonya Leonard

    Hi Roberto,

    As a tax payer as well, I would urge to visit Eliada and evaluate the services they are providing to the kids in our community. These are services students are not getting anywhere else and the need in our community is so great, that it’s an overwhelming task. In order to have properly trained staff and a facility to provide those services, it takes revenue. I think this is a genius way to have children, staff, and community involved. I have toured the facility, attended events, and seen first hand what Elidada does for the kids in our community. I hope you will take the opportunity to do that as well. I would also encourage you to attend their annual Lunch & Learn event. It’s a free event and a wonderful opportunity to learn more about Eliada. If you are not willing to do that, then I hope you will not spread negativity about a program that you have no knowledge of.

    • Roberto

      Every dollar that Eliada Farms makes from selling their produce is a dollar that a local farmer doesn’t make.

      Kind of a catch-22, isn’t it?

      Eliada does good and necessary work, but to accomplish their goals they have decided to compete with those whose livelihood is farming.

      So the question is: Who has more right to that dollar? A well-meaning non-profit or someone whose existence relies on it?

      • Nora Scheff

        Hi Roberto,
        Again, I am extending a sincere offer to meet you with you, give you a tour of Eliada, and have a productive conversation about Eliada Farms. Feedback will only help make this a successful project. Your comment reinforces how important it is that we develop strong relationships with other local farmers-and that is certainly a priority for us. I hope we have the opportunity to speak further offline, so that this feedback can be constructive. Let me try to re-frame this conversation. Eliada, like many other nonprofits in town provides child care. With a 1% vacancy rate for child care, we don’t see others in town as competitors. The need is so great, that we welcome others to provide the same services as us to ensure that all families have access to child care. Similar considerations were made as we thought through Eliada Farms. Of course the #1 goal is feeding the kids here at Eliada and providing them experiential STEM education in the Grow Dome. As we reached out to others in the community, we felt as though there was room in the market for a small farm like us to also sell some of our produce to consumers. If the demand wasn’t there, then we wouldn’t be setting ourselves up to meet some of our long term sustainability goals. We also hope that we can be a part of a bigger community that is shining a light on all sustainable agriculture in our region. As the saying goes, “a rising tide lifts all boats.” Our Business Development Officer would be happy to speak with you about some of the market research he did. Please don’t hesitate to reach out. Thank you for being a highly-engaged member of our community. ~Nora

      • Brook Sheffield

        Hey Roberto! Eliada put more than $1000 last week in multiple local farmers hands! I could gladly give you their info if you want to confirm. We are working with local farms not in competition. Please come visit us if you want to better understand our efforts before you make assumptions about what we do!

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