Small bites: WNC Garlic Fest returns

ON THE TRAIL: Attendees at last year’s WNC Garlic Fest partake in the event’s annual WNC Garlic Trail. Vendors line the street offering free samples to those adventurous enough to try. The free festival is back at Sow True Seed on Saturday, Oct. 5. Photo courtesy of the WNC Garlic Fest

There’s no getting around it: If you eat garlic, you’re going to smell like garlic. But if everyone else around you is also eating garlic — well then, party on! Such will be the case at the sixth annual WNC Garlic Fest, taking place Saturday, Oct. 5, at Sow True Seed.

For event organizer, Chris Smith, the festival’s unique recipes are what keeps him excited about the annual gathering. “Something that surprises people is that you can use garlic in sweet dishes,” he says, noting the garlic ice cream, garlic honey and garlic cookies that have become staples at the event. More recently, Smith adds, Fonta Flora Brewery began brewing a garlic beer for the yearly celebration.

Blunt Pretzels, Roots Hummus, Fermenti, The Hop Ice Cream Creamery and No Evil Foods are among this year’s participating food vendors. Farmers will also be in attendance, offering tips for growing the allium.

Also, the event’s WNC Garlic Trail activity invites attendees to seek out and keep track of the free garlic samples, both to educate consumers and encourage adventurous palates.

Though Sow True Seed hosts the event, this year’s gathering will be managed by Utopian Seed Project, a local nonprofit committed to supporting diversity in food and farming. All proceeds from the day’s raffle will benefit the organization.

The festival’s ultimate mission, says Smith, is to encourage people to embrace new ideas and flavor combinations: “If we can approach food with an open-minded, adventurous spirit, then I feel like we’ll be at a better place to redefine our food system and make it more interesting and nutritious and fun.”

Festivities run noon-6 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 5, at Sow True Seed, 243 Haywood St. Free to attend. For more information, visit

Kitchen Ready Showcase Dinner

Green Opportunities Kitchen Ready training program will host its next showcase dinner on Thursday, Oct. 3. The five-course meal will feature tropical dishes prepared by the organization’s latest graduating class. Menu highlights include shrimp kebabs with pineapple, sea scallops with crispy pork belly and Thai curry sauce, and coconut flan with mango sauce. Vegan and vegetarian options are also available. Suggested donation is $10. Seating is first-come, first-served.

Dinner will be served at 5:30 and 7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 3, at the Arthur R. Edington Education & Career Center, 133 Livingston St. For details, visit

DIY dips, dressing and spreads

Asheville YMCA and the YMCA of WNC Nutrition invite residents ages 16 and older to participate in an evening cooking class on Thursday, Oct. 3. According to the event’s Facebook page, dietitian Lauren Furgiuele will lead students in learning to make dips, dressings and spreads with healthy and natural ingredients. Students are asked to wear close-toed shoes. Tickets are $15 for members and $25 for nonmembers.

The class runs 5:30-7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 3, at Asheville YMCA, 30 Woodfin St. To purchase tickets, visit

Dig in! Empty Bowls Dinner

Dig In! Yancey Community Garden will host its ninth annual Empty Bowls Dinner on Friday, Oct. 4. Soups will be served in handcrafted bowls made by local artists, alongside homemade bread and desserts. Tickets are $30, and proceeds will benefit Dig In!, which provides fresh foods to residents of Yancey County.

The dinner runs 4:30-7 p.m. Friday, Oct. 4, at Burnsville Town Center, 6 S. Main St. For more information, including locations to purchase tickets, visit

Cooking with Plants

On Wednesday, Oct. 9, Wine Sage and Gourmet will host a fall-themed culinary class, Cooking with Plants, led by Mark and Loretta Zedella. Participants will learn how to make maple-roasted squash over seasonal greens, creamy sweet potato and apple soup, apple stir-fry and pumpkin-banana soufflés. Samples will be available during the event, along with wine pairings. Tickets are $50 plus tax. Seating is limited to 16.

The class runs 6-8:30 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 9, at Wine Sage and Gourmet, 416 N. Main St., Hendersonville. To purchase 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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