Small bites: Taste of Sylva supports town’s development

About a dozen eateries — including Lulu's on Main, pictured — will participate in this year's Taste of Sylva. Some will serve from their downtown locations, while others cater an activity center down the street. Photo courtesy of Main Street Sylva

Hosted by The Main Street Sylva Association, the sixth annual Taste of Sylva is a foodie excursion with a side of amusement, and it’s “aimed at anyone who wants to come enjoy all of the great culinary options Sylva has to offer,” according to organizer Russ Harris.

A majority of participating restaurants will serve samples from the comforts of their own downtown kitchens. Those include City Lights Cafe, Cosmic Carry-out, Guadalupe Cafe, Lulu’s on Main, Mad Batter Food & Film, Evolution Wine Kitchen, Signature Brew Coffee Roasting Co., Papou’s Wine Shop & Wine Bar, and Sylva Convenient Market and General Store. Additionally, Eric’s Fish Market will host a fish and beer pairing at Tonic

“The tour is self-guided,” Harris says, adding that previous vendors have exceeded the 3-ounce minimum portion size by leaps. “Each participant gets a ticket with a map on the back and a list of the establishments so that it can be marked as they go. The event lasts from 1-5 p.m., so participants have time to fully enjoy the event without feeling like they have to rush.”

But the hub of activity is at McGuire Gardens, where Jack the Dipper and Harris Regional Hospital will hand out their samples alongside kid-friendly activity areas, including a healthy eating game and community-sourced youth art display called The Art of Healthy Eating.

Rounding out the entertainment are ongoing live performances provided by “local, traditional musicians who wander the street and play,” according to Harris.

Taste of Sylva is at McGuire Gardens, 553 W. Main St., and surrounding restaurants on Saturday, Oct. 3, from 1-5 p.m. Information and tickets ($20/$25 for adults and $10 for kids 12 and younger) are available at mainstreetsylva.org. Proceeds from the event will be used by The Main Street Sylva Association for economic development initiatives in downtown Sylva.

Organic Growers School’s Farm Beginnings training course

In a recent survey by Organic Growers School, 65 percent of participating farmers called lack of business training a significant barrier to farming in Western North Carolina. The school’s new Farm Beginnings program, a yearlong crash course in sustainable commercial agriculture, aims to help eradicate that barrier to entry into the industry. In addition to hands-on training excursions, the course offers business planning support, networking and classroom sessions.

The deadline for applications to the pilot program, which costs $1,500 before potential scholarships, is Thursday, Oct. 15. Aspiring and experienced farmers from WNC, Tennessee, Virginia, Georgia and South Carolina are welcome to apply at organicgrowersschool.org/farm-beginnings.

Ambrozia and Fisher Vineyards’ wine dinner

Wine Country-based, family business Fisher Vineyards is “small in size but great in scope with both mountain and valley estate vineyards,” according to proprietor Fred J. Fisher. And Asheville’s Ambrozia Bar & Bistro holds a similar ethos, focusing on a seasonally rotating, locally focused menu. The two are pairing up for an elaborate five-course dinner, with Andy Hale of Metro Wines presenting Fisher’s libations from 2012 and 2013. Wild boar flank steak with pinot noir, anyone?

The collaborative dinner is at Ambrozia, 1020 Merrimon Ave., on Monday, Oct. 5, from 6-9 p.m. Call the restaurant at 350-3033 to reserve a seat, which costs $75 plus tax and tip.

Taste of Asheville tickets on sale

Tickets are on sale now for Asheville Independent Restaurant’s Taste of Asheville. Forty AIR-affiliated chefs bring a mix of traditional and modernized bites to the food festival in addition to wine, hard cider and beer from friends of AIR. Proceeds from the event support the Chefs of Tomorrow scholarship fund at A-B Tech.

Taste of Asheville is at The Venue on Thursday, Nov. 19, from 6-9 p.m. Tickets cost $75 for general admission ($100 for VIP) and are available at airasheville.org.

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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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