What’s new in food: Asheville Cider Crawl expands

DO THE CRAWL: Lyndon Smith and Amie Fields, co-owners of Botanist & Barrel's Tasting Bar, will be participating in the citywide Asheville Cider Crawl. Photo by Emilie Kapp

Along with its new name, the Asheville Cider Crawl (formerly known as the West Asheville Cider Crawl) will have a freshly expanded focus for its Saturday, Aug. 28, happening.

Established in 2018 by Urban Orchard Cider Co. marketing director Jeff Anderson with help from Lyndon Smith, co-owner of Botanist & Barrel Cidery in Cedar Grove, the original crawl did not spotlight additional local cideries. Instead, the event encouraged West Asheville bars, breweries and restaurants to reimagine how they used the product  through pairings, food recipes, cider-based cocktails and canned and bottled cider from more than a dozen North Carolina cideries.

“We hit the streets of West Asheville and started inviting people and businesses to join in, and the thing took off,” Smith recalls.

Now, with the city’s local cider industry continuing to grow, the event has expanded to a citywide crawl organized by the N.C. Cider Association. Three downtown cider taprooms will be featured — Botanist & Barrel Tasting Bar + Bottle Shop, Urban Orchard Cider Co. – South Slope and Noble Cider Downtown Taproom. Additional stops include Burial Beer Co., Cellarest Beer Project, The Whale, DSSOLVR and Haywood Common. The crawl will run noon-10 p.m. (depending on each venue’s operating hours).

As for the crawl’s offerings, Smith says Botanist & Barrel’s featured beverage is a delicious result of serendipity. On a whim, while participating at a recent Chow Chow dinner, Smith combined his blackberry cider with a scoop of The Hop Ice Cream Cafe’s blackberry sorbet. “All the chefs in the staging area loved it, so I knew we had our crawl drink,” he says.

For a complete list of participants and featured menu items, visit avl.mx/a8u.

Hair of the dog

On Saturday, Aug. 28, Metro Wines will donate 10% of the price of any bottle of wine purchased in its store to Mountain Pet Rescue Asheville, a pet foster nonprofit founded by Joelle Warren. The store’s owners will also personally match the day’s total with an additional donation.

“We are all pet lovers here,” says co-owner Gina Trippi. “Everyone has a four-legged buddy, and we have a Facebook page for people to post photos of their fur babies. We like Mountain Pet’s approach in fostering pets before being placed in their forever homes. Saturday is our busiest day in the shop, and we’re happy to help them in their mission.”

Throughout the day, Metro will be pouring Hogwash rosé  for tasting, and Mountain Pet intends to bring several well-behaved dogs available for adoption.

Metro Wines is at 169 Charlotte St. To learn more, visit avl.mx/6ob.

In the house

After a virtual exhibition in 2020, the Omni Grove Park Inn has sweet news for fans of the National Gingerbread House Competition. The 29th annual gathering will return this November to its historic home with a hybrid event incorporating virtual elements, an in-person final judging and displays open to the public.

In 2020, over 100 photo and video entries were submitted for the first round of judging; the top five in each category — adult, teen, youth and child — made it to round two, where the top three in each field were determined. One was revealed each day on Facebook and Instagram in the 12 Days of Gingerbread presentation.

In 2021, the first round of judging will again be done through digital content; the second round will be judged in person in the hotel’s grand ballroom, with the winners announced during an awards ceremony on Monday, Nov. 22.  For the first time since 2019, the gingerbread houses will be on display throughout the hotel for registered guests with specified viewing times available as well for visitors not staying on the property. Houses will be on display Nov. 28-Jan. 2.

As in years past, a portion of the parking fees collected on display dates will go to eight local nonprofits, including Asheville Museum of Science, United Way of Asheville and Buncombe County and Asheville City Schools Foundation.

For more information on the event, dates and how to enter, visit avl.mx/a8y.

Working up an app-etite

The N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services has developed Visit NC Farms, an app intended to be used as a one-stop shop to find farms, food, drink, farm tours and lodging, local events and more in Buncombe County.

The project aims to provide a platform for businesses and events related to agriculture. The Shop Local Food & Drink feature spotlights businesses using local products on their menus, in production and in stores. Agritourism opportunities can be found through the Special Events tab.

The mobile app is free. To learn more, visit avl.mx/a90.

Farm aid

Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project has expanded its Appalachian Grown Farmer Relief Fund to assist local farmers impacted by Tropical Storm Fred. To donate funds to the initiative, visit avl.mx/ab0.


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About Kay West
Kay West was a freelance journalist in Nashville for more than 30 years, contributing writer for the Nashville Scene, StyleBlueprint Nashville, Nashville correspondent for People magazine, author of five books and mother of two happily launched grown-up kids. To kick off 2019 she put Tennessee in her rear view mirror, drove into the mountains of WNC, settled in West Asheville and appreciates that writing offers the opportunity to explore and learn her new home. She looks forward to hiking trails, biking greenways, canoeing rivers, sampling local beer and cheering the Asheville Tourists.

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