Small bites: Weaverville Tailgate Market hosts salsa contest

CELEBRATING SALSA: Tomato season has arrived. To celebrate, Weaverville Tailgate Market President Brenda Dillingham organized a salsa making competition to take place July 31 at the market's new location at Reems Creek Nursery. Photo by Thomas Calder

Salsa aficionados take heed: The Weaverville Tailgate Market will celebrate tomato season with a salsa contest on Wednesday, July 31. The event’s two featured categories are best salsa recipe and salsa with most local ingredients. “Fresh tomatoes at market is always an exciting and vibrant time,” says Weaverville Tailgate Market President Brenda Dillingham. “In having the contest, we get to showcase a product that everyone loves.”

Dillingham is also hopeful the event will help promote the market’s new location and interim home at Reems Creek Nursery. The move came about earlier this year due to the temporary shutdown of the market’s former location at the Weaverville Community Center (the town is in the process of building a new center on the site). Though the partnership with the nursery has been positive, Dillingham says many of the market’s regular customers are unaware of its new Wednesday afternoon location, which Dillingham anticipates will remain the market’s home through 2020.

The competition is free to enter, but preregistration is required via the event’s Facebook page. Competitors are asked to bring a quart of homemade salsa to the event. Tickets to taste all the entries and vote for the winners are $8. All proceeds will benefit the market, which has seen an increase in expenses due to its move. The top three vote-getters per category will be announced on the market’s social media accounts. Prizes (yet to be determined) will be awarded to first-place finishers.

“A contest like this brings the community together and also gives us the financial support that we need right now,” says Dillingham. “It’s also just a great way to have fun at the market.”

The salsa contest runs 2:30-6:30 Wednesday, July 31, at the Weaverville Tailgate Market, 76 Monticello Road. To learn more and to register to compete, visit

Smoking ribs

The Chop Shop Butchery will team up with Shelton Steele for a new series that aims to help participants elevate their smoked meats game. Steele, whose youth was spent on a beef farm in Statesville, is a regular competitor in Asheville’s KnuckleDeep BBQ event. He has also catered Beer City Festival and Brewgrass, in addition to hosting an annual barbecue fundraiser at Hall Fletcher Elementary School. “The classes will cover the fundamentals of slow and low barbecue, while also sharing the competition tricks and techniques that create consistency every time you cook,” reads the event’s Facebook page. Three additional classes are planned for later this year. Tickets are $75.

The class runs 6-8 p.m. Thursday, July 25, at The Chop Shop Butchery, 100 Charlotte St. To purchase tickets, visit

Summer Cook Along: Eggplant edition

On Thursday, July 25, The Lord’s Acre will demystify the eggplant with a free Summer Cook Along cooking class that covers two recipes: broiled eggplant salad and tomato eggplant salad. Both recipes come from Leanne Brown’s 2013 cookbook, Good and Cheap: Eat Well on $4/Day. According to the event’s Facebook page, folks are encouraged to “come cook, learn, laugh and snack with us.”

The demo runs 7-8 p.m. Thursday, July 25, at the Fairview Christian Fellowship, 596 Old U.S. Highway 74, Fairview. To learn more, visit

EmpTea Bowls

The Dr. John Wilson Community Garden in Black Mountain will host its seventh annual EmpTea Bowls event on Sunday, July 28, in partnership with Spiral Roots Sanctuary, a local company that specializes in herbal teas and elixirs. For $20, participants will receive a locally made tea bowl with an endless supply of tea. All proceeds from ticket sales and an accompanying $5 raffle will benefit the community garden’s internship program. Garden manager Diana McCall says the event is open to all. If guests cannot afford the $20 bowl, free compostable teacups will be available to sample the beverages. “We want people to come and participate and get involved and find out about our program,” she says. “If you’ve never been to the community garden, then we invite you to come and experience it and maybe go away inspired to do this work in your own community and to realize the importance of connecting to soil, connecting to place and working together as a community.”

EmpTea Bowls runs 6-8 p.m. Sunday, July 28, at the Dr. John Wilson Community Garden, 99 White Pine Drive, Black Mountain. To learn more about the event, 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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