Small bites: Hickory Nut Gap Farm hosts a new Friday Night Barn Dance series

GRAB A PARTNER: The Spring Mountain Shiners played at Hickory Nut Gap Farm's first Friday Night Barn Dance on May 20. Photo by Kelsey Winterbottom

For the last century, the Ager family has worked the land at Hickory Nut Gap Farm, a 90-acre property in Fairview. Creeks, apple trees, mountains and pastures make up the landscape. In recent years, Jamie Ager and his wife, Amy, have added cattle, pigs and chickens to the operation, selling the meat at local tailgate markets, in their on-site farm store and café and to more than 50 local restaurants.

Beyond this, the Hickory Nut Gap Farm hosts private events, holds classes and recently added a weekly public gathering to its calendar — the Friday Night Barn Dance. A stage and dance floor were recently added to the event’s venue, the farm’s big barn, which is behind the farm store. “It’s something we’ve never done before,” says Kelsey Winterbottom, the farm’s director of marketing and customer relations.

Each week during the summer, local bands will perform a variety of styles of music to dance to, including bluegrass, swing, old-time, Cajun, jazz and zydeco. Those who are curious but unfamiliar with the type of music need not worry. “A lot of the music will have dances that are led,” explains Winterbottom. “Of course the square dances will have a caller, but we’ll also have a swing dance teacher; we’ll have a zydeco dancer. There will be dance instructions at the beginning of each show.”

A dinner menu will also be available during the events. Certain items, such as the pork barbecue sandwich, cheese burger and sausage dog, will be included each week. Ever-changing seasonal entrees will be featured as well. In addition, local beers from breweries such as Highland Brewing Co., Pisgah Brewing Co. and Catawba Brewing Co., along with a variety of wines will be for sale.

“We are trying to pull out the family crowd,” says Winterbottom. “Although I’m sure we’ll pull some different crowds [each week]. Especilly with the swing-type music and the jazz music. We’ll see.”

Hickory Nut Gap Farm is at 57 Sugar Hollow Road, Fairview. The music plays from 6-9 p.m. every Friday this summer. Dinner is available 5-8 p.m. Admission is $5 for ages 10 and older, free for younger children. Admission does not cover the cost of food and drink. For more details, visit

Ambrozia Bar and Bistro adds lunch

Ambrozia Bar and Bistro is now serving lunch 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Tuesday-Friday. “The demand for lunch has been increasing over the past year, with several requests from guests and other local businesses,” says a media release from the restaurant. The lunch launch coincided with the restaurant’s three-year anniversary on Saturday, June 4. While Ambrozia’s menu is seasonal, there will be a handful of afternoon staples, including a grilled cheese sandwich with tomato bisque, the Cubano sandwich and an all-day breakfast special.

Ambrozia Bar and Bistro is at 1020 Merrimon Ave. For details, visit


Little Sparrow Coffee and Kitchen set to open in Woodfin

Little Sparrow Coffee and Kitchen, a new café and bakery, opened Monday, June 6. “We’re using Penny Cup Roasting and we’ll have homemade baked goods,” says owner and operator Tina Crain. In addition to cakes, pastries and pies, the café offers breakfast and lunch menus. “We’re going to do simple breakfasts with homemade biscuits and croissants and homemade subs and pimento cheese,” Crain says. Food items and drinks are served in vintage china and teacups that Crain has collected over the years. Little Sparrow also offers catering for events, including dessert bars for weddings.

Little Sparrow Coffee and Kitchen is at 50 N. Merrimon Ave, Suite 103, Reynolds Village, Woodfin. Hours are Monday-Friday 7 a.m.-6 p.m., Saturday 8 a.m.-5 p.m. and Sunday 10 a.m.-3 p.m. For details, look for Little Sparrow Coffee and Kitchen on Facebook.  


Barbecue competition at Blue Ridge Barbecue & Music Festival

Take a drive to Tryon and try out an assortment of North Carolina’s finest barbecue at this year’s Blue Ridge Barbecue & Music Festival. According to the event’s website, the festival is considered “one of the most popular sanctioned barbecue competitions in the United States.” In addition to food, the two-day event will feature live music from The Marcus King Band, The Steepwater Band, the Trongone Band and more. There will also be a juried craft show and classic cars.

The festival runs 10 a.m.-11 p.m. Friday and Saturday, June 11-12. Admission is free 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Friday. All other times, adult tickets are $8, with children ages 12 and younger admitted free. For additional information, visit


Thanks for reading through to the end…

We share your inclination to get the whole story. For the past 25 years, Xpress has been committed to in-depth, balanced reporting about the greater Asheville area. We want everyone to have access to our stories. That’s a big part of why we've never charged for the paper or put up a paywall.

We’re pretty sure that you know journalism faces big challenges these days. Advertising no longer pays the whole cost. Media outlets around the country are asking their readers to chip in. Xpress needs help, too. We hope you’ll consider signing up to be a member of Xpress. For as little as $5 a month — the cost of a craft beer or kombucha — you can help keep local journalism strong. It only takes a moment.

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.

Before you comment

The comments section is here to provide a platform for civil dialogue on the issues we face together as a local community. Xpress is committed to offering this platform for all voices, but when the tone of the discussion gets nasty or strays off topic, we believe many people choose not to participate. Xpress editors are determined to moderate comments to ensure a constructive interchange is maintained. All comments judged not to be in keeping with the spirit of civil discourse will be removed and repeat violators will be banned. See here for our terms of service. Thank you for being part of this effort to promote respectful discussion.

Leave a Reply

To leave a reply you may Login with your Mountain Xpress account, connect socially or enter your name and e-mail. Your e-mail address will not be published. All fields are required.