Small bites: Pig Roast Picnic benefit at Native Kitchen

PIG RIBS ROASTING ON AN OPEN FIRE: All proceeds from Native's Pig Roast Picnic will go to Our VOICE, a nonprofit crisis intervention and prevention agency that serves victims of sexual violence, ages 13 through adult, in Buncombe County. Photo courtesy of Native Kitchen

Native Kitchen & Social Pub is no stranger to throwing fundraising parties, having hosted numerous events for local organizations, including Brother Wolf, Habitat for Humanity and ArtSpace Charter School. The Swannanoa gastropub will continue in this vein with its upcoming Pig Roast Picnic. All proceeds from the gathering will benefit Our VOICE, a nonprofit crisis intervention and prevention agency that serves victims of sexual violence in Buncombe County.

“Something that’s really important to the owners of Native is giving back to the community,” says Marissa Howard, the restaurant’s marketing manager. “When we started partnering with [Our VOICE] … a large benefit was something the owners wanted to do.”

At the outdoor roast, guests can anticipate picnic plates served with slow-roasted pork, mac n’ cheese, coleslaw, green beans, roasted veggies, summer salad and homemade barbecue sauce. “The generosity that is embodied in the event is really remarkable,” says Aiyanna Sezak-Blatt, the development coordinator for Our VOICE. Sezak-Blatt notes that outside of the event itself, Native’s owners, Casey and Sarah Watkins and Meredith and Brandon Ellison, make regular donations to the organization. “This business having such a stake in creating a safe community by supporting the rape crisis service is wonderful.”

In addition to food, the progressive folk band Fireside Collective will perform at the event. There will also be a raffle (which includes an iPad and a $100 gift card to Native), outdoor games and beer specials thanks to donations from Highland Brewing Co., Pisgah Brewing Co. and Green Man Brewing.

“Native is creating the platform and taking the lead,” Sezak-Blatt says. “But there are all of these other amazing local businesses that are supporting [the benefit].” These include Hickory Nut Gap Meats, Symmetry Financial Group, Molly Dockery Photography, Asheville Web Hosting and Bee Tree Hardwoods.

Eden Roorda, Native’s chef, will camp out on the property the evening before the picnic. “She’ll be out there all night roasting the pig,” says Sezak-Blat, adding, “There’s just a lot of love and heart going into the event.”

The picnic runs 3 p.m.-sundown Sunday, June 5. Adult plates cost $15, child plates (age 12 and younger) cost $6. Food will be served at about 5 p.m. For more information on the event visit  For additional information on Our VOICE, visit

Tephra Vegan Pop-Up Dinner

Cast iron-seared wild mushrooms, mixed radishes with pistachio, orange mint, lemon oil and orange zest and salt-roasted beets are among the items to be served at an upcoming vegan pop-up dinner to be hosted at Trade and Lore. Piedmont Culinary Guild member Shawn Harrison of Charlotte restaurant Tephra is the chef behind the event. In addition to being 100 percent vegan, the four-course dinner is gluten- and soy-free. Dessert will be a blueberry orange ginger cobbler, served with cultured vanilla coconut cream.

The dinner runs 7-9 p.m. Thursday, June 4, at Trade and Lore Coffee, 37 Wall St. Cost is $43. Visit for information or tickets.

Picnic series kickoff party at Sweeten Creek Brewing

With its Summer Picnic Series, South Asheville’s Sweeten Creek Brewing plans to host regular family- (and dog-) friendly events where guests can relax and have a beer and some food on the brewery’s spacious creekside lawn. At the Saturday, June 4, kickoff party, there will be free live music by local bluegrass bands Pants Party and Plain Folk. The brewery’s full food menu will be available, as will picnic-style specials that include fried chicken, catfish po’ boys and jo-jo potatoes. Cornhole, ladder golf and washer toss will be among the yard games available. The series will take place once a month throughout the summer.

The series kicks off 11:30 a.m.-9 p.m. Saturday, June 4, at Sweeten Creek Brewing, 1127 Sweeten Creek Road. Live music runs 2-8 p.m. There is no entry fee. Visit for additional information.

Hope Floats Sidewalk Sale

There will be $2 hot dogs, root beer floats and ice cream sundaes (regular and sugar-free) at The Fresh Market’s 22nd annual Hope Floats Sidewalk Sale. All proceeds will go to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation to support ongoing research efforts. According to the Fresh Market’s press release, it has helped raise over $4.5 million for the foundation through a series of fundraisers and corporate donations.

The Sidewalk Sale runs 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Friday-Sunday, June 3-5, at all area Fresh Market locations. For more information visit

Art and Pie: An Interactive Exhibit and Baking Demo

Buxton Hall Barbecue will host an afternoon of art, instruction, insight and pie on Saturday, June 5. Four bakers will join forces to lead this three-hour event. The day will be filled with cocktails, baking demonstrations and storytelling. The demonstrations will cover the impact that fats have on dough flavor, the various fruit pie fillings, different pie decorating techniques and much more.

Art and Pie runs from 2-5 p.m. Saturday, June 5, at Buxton Hall Barbecue, 32 Banks Ave. Tickets cost $75 and include complimentary drink, pie knowledge and a gift bag. Purchase tickets at 


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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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