Small bites: Pedal to Plate cycles back through Madison County

POST-RIDE FEAST: Cyclists from last year's Pedal to Plate replenish their resources with a gourmet, locally sourced meal at Madison County's Root Bottom Farm after the day's ride. Photo courtesy of Pedal to Plate

It seems fitting that the concept for Pedal to Plate was created by a pair of farmers while cycling across the Natchez Trace Parkway — a 444-mile bike ride from Nashville, Tenn., to Natchez, Miss. During the monthlong journey, Morgan and Sarah Jones Decker, the husband-and-wife owners of Root Bottom Farm, discussed the possibility of marrying their two passions. “We thought: ‘Man it would be so cool to combine our love of farming with our love of bicycling,’” Sarah says.

Last year the couple did just that with the launch of the first Pedal to Plate event. For the gathering, 50 cyclists followed a scenic route through the backroads of Madison County, stopping along the way to tour neighboring farms. The event concluded with a dinner at Root Bottom Farm.

On Sunday, Sept. 17, the couple plans to host its second go-around. This year’s ride offers a new route and can accommodate up to 60 riders and diners (with additional, half-price tickets available to those who want to cycle and tour the properties without the dining experience).

Beginning and ending at Root Bottom Farm, the 33-mile loop through Madison County will include visits to East Fork Farm, The Farmer’s Hands, Wendy Town Farms and Double Tree Farm. At each stop, participants will have the choice of a guided or self-guided tour of the property with the option to buy produce. Purchases will be delivered to Root Bottom Farm for pickup at the end of the event.

Warm showers will be available to the cyclists after the approximately three-hour ride, followed by dinner. Sarah describes the menu as a “100 percent Madison County meal.” All items are sourced from the five visited farms, including poultry and meats from East Fork Farm. The dinner itself will be prepared by Asheville chef Dava Melton of Blessed to Cook and Sebastiaan Zijp of The Farmer’s Hands.

Menu highlights include blackberry barbecue grilled chicken drumsticks, roasted garlic and herb golden potatoes, butternut squash and kale with molasses-cider dressing and fresh corn, and a pear and oat crisp with cinnamon whipped cream for dessert.

“We like to have people come out and see the farms and see how we make a living on our properties,” says Sarah. “Hopefully, [riders] leave with a full stomach and an ongoing relationship with these farms in the future.”

Pedal to Plate begins at 9 a.m. Sunday, Sept. 17, at Root Bottom Farm, 1201 East Fork Road, Marshall. Tickets are $75 per person in advance; 10 percent of all sales will be donated to Friends of Madison County Animals. For tickets, visit

Coffee for Champions

For a second year, the volunteer-driven, donation-funded Buncombe County Special Olympics is teaming up with local shops to help raise money to support its programming. In a press release, volunteer Karla Furnari says, “It is important to our athletes to know they have a whole community behind them. … We look forward to engaging our athletes yet again with community members over the next month.” This year’s participating businesses include King Daddy’s Chicken and Waffles, Ivory Road Café and Kitchen, Fill My Cup Café, Vortex Doughnuts, Dynamite Roasting Co., City Bakery (Charlotte Street and Biltmore Avenue), Biltmore Coffee Roasters, Mosaic Café and Coffee House, Corner Kitchen, and Trade and Lore. Shops will donate a penny for each cup of coffee sold throughout September.

Coffee For Champions runs throughout September. Businesses can join the campaign at any time during the month by reaching out to or by visiting

North Asheville Food Truck Festival

Asheville Catholic School will host the North Asheville Food Truck Festival on Saturday, Sept. 16. Participating food trucks include Afternoon Delight, Appalachian Chic, Bun Intended, Grateful Roots, The Grubbery, Latino Heat, Mobile Global Bistro, Purple People Feeder, Tia B’s, Sackett Street BBQ and Sri Cred. Foothills Brewing will supply the beer. The event will also feature a kids zone with inflatables, ice cream and face painting. Jason Boyer of WLOS, Joe Scully of the Corner Kitchen and Chestnut, and Sam Etheridge of Ambrozia will judge the competition along with guests, who will vote for the People’s Choice Award. The $20 Very Important Taster ticket allows access to an air-conditioned dining area and free dessert bar, $1 off beer purchases, a ticket for each hourly 50/50 raffle and free nonalcoholic beverages.

The North Asheville Food Truck Festival runs 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 16, at Asheville Catholic School, 12 Culvern St. Premium parking passes are $5 and are first-come, first-served. For details and tickets, visit

Ole Shakey’s Pig Out Luau

Ole Shakey’s Getaway will debut its new tiki bar and celebrate the final days of summer with a Pig Out Luau on Sunday, Sept. 17. The event will feature tiki drinks, live music and a whole-hog barbecue prepared by The American Pig, a local boutique charcuterie business.

The Pig Out Luau runs 4-7 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 17, at Ole Shakey’s Getaway, 790 Riverside Drive. The event is for ages 21 and older. Tickets are $25 and include a full meal and a tiki drink. For tickets, 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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