Since the the end of March 2020, Meals on Wheels of Asheville Buncombe County has added 103 seniors to its program and incorporated two new meal delivery routes for a total of 40 across Buncombe County. While calls for services have increased, securing funding to meet that urgent need has been challenging. “Like other nonprofits, the pandemic put a halt to our in-person fundraising events,” says Executive Director Debbie Sprouse.
In January, a staff and board brainstorming session birthed an idea that turns outdoor activities many locals are already engaged in — walking, running, hiking, biking or skating — into Miles for Meals. “We know everyone is not a runner or cyclist, so we included all types of movement,” Sprouse explains.
Miles for Meals invites participants to register for a virtual 5K, 10K or marathon for $25, then use a virtual platform to log miles as they accumulate throughout May. Groups can register for the 660-mile Mega Mile Challenge, which represents the total square miles Meals on Wheels serves in Buncombe County. All participants receive a Meals on Wheels T-shirt. For more information, visit avl.mx/9bd.
Since its founding in 2020, local nonprofit We Give a Share has paid Western North Carolina farms and producers to provide fresh food to the Southside Kitchen at the Arthur R. Edington Education & Career Center. Southside Kitchen in turn uses those products to prepare 1,500 meals per week that are offered free of charge to homebound and senior Asheville Housing Authority residents. WGAS recently expanded its base of farm partners from the original two to a dozen, including Sunburst Trout, Olivette Farm and Looking Glass Creamery.
Eagle Market Streets Development Corp. has joined the coalition to support WGAS with bookkeeping, grant writing and administrative services and to act in the short term as its fiscal agent until WGAS is approved as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit. “They will also play an important role in shaping the future of WGAS by broadening our outreach and involvement with a wider swath of the community,” says WAGS co-founder and board member Elizabeth Sims, adding that EMSDC’s business development programming will be invaluable to both WGAS and the Southside Kitchen.
A-B Tech’s acclaimed culinary program has also joined the effort, partnering with Southside Kitchen to provide skills training. Additionally, WGAS has plans underway to add distribution to new clients this fall, including the Verner Early Learning Center in Swannanoa and the new Peak Academy. For more on We Give a Share, visit avl.mx/9bg.
Many local breweries whose taprooms were closed last spring by state order met the undeterred craving for their product by implementing curbside pickup. With some restrictions lifted and safety protocols in place, many are beckoning customers back to sit and enjoy a pint.
The taproom at Sierra Nevada Brewing Co., 100 Sierra Nevada Way, Mills River, has been closed since March 2020, but it’s now polishing the bar, restacking glasses and hooking up the kegs for a planned reopening on Wednesday, May 12. Tables have been rearranged to accommodate 50% capacity indoors, and reservations are required for dining. avl.mx/9bf
Southern Appalachian Brewery, 822 Locust St., Hendersonville, celebrated its 10-year anniversary on April 30 by opening its taproom for the first time in over a year. The microbrewery will be pulling its pilsners and other brews starting at 4 p.m. Wednesday-Friday and weekends beginning at 2 p.m. avl.mx/9be
New Belgium Brewing Co., 21 Craven St. — celebrating its fifth year in Asheville — has resumed outdoor table service on the Liquid Center taproom’s covered outdoor patio overlooking the French Broad River. (The indoor taproom space remains closed.) Tables are first-come, first-claimed noon-8 p.m. Thursday-Monday, and orders can be placed using a QR code. Food trucks are on-site daily, indoor restrooms are open, and masks are required when not seated. avl.mx/9bj
Run of the mill
Jennifer Lapidus is well known and celebrated as a baker, miller and founder of Carolina Ground flour mill in Asheville. With the publication of her new book, Southern Ground: Reclaiming Flavor Through Stone-Milled Flour, add writer to her impressive resume. Though it offers over 80 recipes arranged by grain for everything from the 2020-ubiquitous sourdough bread to galettes and hand pies, it is more than a cookbook. Lapidus tells stories of the Carolina Ground mill, explains the process of milling and highlights the value of sustainable and artisanal products, bakeries and bakers throughout the Southeast. Photographs are by Rinne Allen.
Peace, plants and pizza
Talk about a pandemic pivot! Two Guys Pizza and Ribs, which has been serving pizza and ribs in Hendersonville for 14 years, has pulled the pork — as well as beef, chicken and seafood — from its menu in favor of plant-based and planet-friendly alternatives. With a little nudge from son Christian, owners Melody and John Crawford have rebranded, reconceptualized and reopened as Peace Pizza. In a press release announcing the big switcheroo, the couple say, “We’ve been thinking of making this change for a few years now and decided to go for it when we realized that the devastation of the pandemic is actually an opportunity to help make the world a better place.” Peace Pizza’s menu will be primarily vegan with varying daily specials.
Peace Pizza is open 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Monday-Saturday with outdoor seating and 50% capacity indoor seating.
Peace Pizza 1307 Seventh Ave. E., Hendersonville, avl.mx/9bh.