Small bites: Third annual WNC Fermenting Festival

BACK IN THE MIX: Lori Jenkins, owner of Sister of Mother Earth, is one of several vendors returning to the third annual WNC Fermenting Festival. Photo courtesy of Meg Chamberlain

When Meg Chamberlain launched the WNC Fermenting Festival in 2017, she wasn’t sure anyone would show up. But to her surprise, over 1,000 people attended. When she brought the festival back in 2018, she worried the inaugural event’s success would turn out to be fluke. Her concern was unfounded — once again, over 1,000 people showed up.

On Sunday, Nov. 3, the third annual free festival returns to the Madison County Cooperative Extension Center featuring, as in years past, local and regional fermenters, vendors and farmers, along with demonstrations, talks and a raffle benefiting local Madison County food pantry, Beacon of Hope.

Feeling more grounded this time around, Chamberlain says one of the main goals for the 2019 happening is “to start having fun with things.” Part of that fun, she explains, involves collaborations between vendors, such as The Hop Ice Cream and DoughP Donuts, who will partner to offer a unique, probiotic-rich ice cream and doughnut sundae.

“I call it the NASCAR effect,” says Chamberlain. “When multiple businesses come together to bring a special product that you wouldn’t find elsewhere. I really wanted to foster that this year and create a space for more of that to happen.”

The event will also include a two-hour demonstration and talk about microbes by authors Meredith Leigh and Kirsten Shockey. The pair will spotlight the role these organisms play in making fermented foods, including cheeses, sourdough, sauerkraut, tempeh, kombucha, mead, wine and beer, to name a few.

Chamberlain says fermenters, who are part-foodie, part-mad scientist, share a common trait: curiosity. Those who attend are encouraged to bring questions and share ideas. Because if there is something that has yet to be fermented, Chamberlain promises, “this group of people will try to find a way.”

The festival runs 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 3, at the Madison County Cooperative Extension Center, 258 Carolina Lane, Marshall. For more information, including a complete list of vendors, visit

Murder mystery and costume contest

Point Lookout Vineyards in Hendersonville will celebrate Halloween on Thursday, Oct. 31, with a murder mystery dinner and costume contest. The buffet-style meal will include dishes such as bloody spinach and cherry tomatoes, zombie short ribs and roasted baby chickens. Guests will also receive a glass of Point Lookout wine. Attendees are encouraged to wear Halloween costumes, and awards will be handed out to the best dressed. Tickets are $55.

Dinner runs 6:30-9:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 31, at Point Lookout Vineyards, 408 Appleola Road, Hendersonville. To purchase tickets, visit

Halloween candy buyback

Foothills Butcher Bar Black Mountain will host its third annual Pre-Trick-or-Treat Party on Halloween. A hot dog cart will be set up on the back patio, and the event will feature a candy buyback deal: For every pound of sugary treats brought in, Foothills Butcher Bar will offer a pound of ground beef or a voucher for a kid hot dog or burger.

The event runs 3-9 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 31, at the Foothills Butcher Bar Black Mountain, 107 Black Mountain Ave. To learn more, visit

Free sweet treats at Rise

Rise Southern Biscuits and Righteous Chick will offer free sweet treats to those who visit the Tunnel Road location dressed in their Halloween costumes on Thursday, Oct. 31.

Rise Southern Biscuits & Righteous Chicken is in the Peaks Shopping Center on Tunnel Road. Hours are 7 a.m.-3 p.m. For more information, visit

All Hallows at Hole

Fall flavors will be served at Hole Doughnuts during its All Hallows at Hole event on Friday, Nov. 1. Flavors include hard apple cider, black garlic, pumpkin sorghum and black walnut. The same flavors will be available as vegan and gluten-free options.

The event runs 2-8 p.m. Friday, Nov. 1, at Hole Doughnuts, 168 Haywood Road. To learn more, visit

Asheville Food Truck & Craft Beer Festival

The third annual Asheville Food Truck & Craft Beer Festival returns to the Asheville Outlets on Saturday, Nov. 2. The event will feature 25 trucks, including Lil Pete’s BBQ, Sweet Plantain and The Usual Suspects. New Belgium Brewing Co., Hi-Wire Brewing and Highland Brewing Co. are among the participating breweries. The event will also feature live music, games and an artisan village. Entry is $5 for ages 13 and older, free for kids age 12 and younger, first responders and active or retired military personnel.

The festival runs noon-5 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 2, at the Asheville Outlets, 800 Brevard Road. To learn more, visit

Sunil’s Japanese supper

Sunil Patel will host a three-course Japanese supper at the Asheville Beauty Academy on Saturday, Nov. 2. The menu includes goma tofu (sesame tofu, no soy), teishoku (tonjiru, mushroom-chestnut rice, mixed pickled vegetables, catfish kabayaki, miso glazed kabocha and spinach ohitashi) and mizu yokan (red bean and chestnut sweet treat). Tickets are $38.

Dinner runs 7-10 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 2, at Asheville Beauty Academy, 28 Broadway. Tickets are available at

Vegan Vietnamese pop-up

Throughout November, Gan Shan Station will offer a Vietnamese vegan menu on Wednesday nights. According to a recent newsletter by chef and owner Patrick O’Cain, the menu is inspired by the “chay” food of Vietnamese Buddhists. “We are very excited to explore this type of food and eager to shatter some general thoughts that vegan food is boring and bland,” O’Cain writes.

The new menu is available Wednesday nights throughout November at Gan Shan Station, 143 Charlotte St. To learn more, visit


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About Thomas Calder
Thomas Calder received his MFA in Fiction from the University of Houston's Creative Writing Program. He has worked with several publications, including Gulf Coast and the Collagist.

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