Since Mark Holmes started the Asheville Pride Bowling League in the summer of 2016, he has witnessed three members bowl a perfect game. But the big winner over the past six years has been Loving Food Resources, the recipient of APBL’s food drives and donated prize money.
Loving Food Resources, now in its 30th year, is a nonprofit agency that provides food, health and personal care items to clients across Western North Carolina living with HIV/AIDS. On average, 90-plus people utilize the Loving Food Resources’ food pantry each week, serving an ongoing total of over 225 people.
Holmes, who has been bowling since he was a kid, moved to Asheville from Orlando, Fla., in January 2016 and says his initial goal in starting the league was to make friends. “I didn’t know a soul here, and a Florida friend kept telling me I should start a gay bowling league,” he recalls. “We started at Sky Lanes with five teams basically made up of people who had no bowling experience but a shared desire to meet people. I had to explain to most how league bowling works, but everyone was very enthused.”
They were also receptive to his vision of donating money to a nonprofit. Each week league bowlers pay $14: $10.50 to the bowling center; 50 cents for administrative league costs; and $3 contributed to the end-of-season prize fund for the top finishing teams. An additional 50/50 weekly jackpot is funded by the sale of tickets — two for $1, 12 for $5 and 36 for $10. One ticket is pulled at the end of each week’s game; the winner must bowl a strike in order to keep 50% of what is in the jackpot (with the other 50% designated to LFR). If the ticket holder does not clear the pins, he or she gets $1 per pin knocked down, with the rest of the money remaining in the prize portion of the pot.
Holmes says most teams and individuals opt to keep all winnings in the pot for LFR. The group presents a check to the nonprofit at the end of each season.
In its second season, APBL moved to AMF Star Lanes on Kenilworth Road and made an ongoing commitment to LFR. When COVID ended the winter/spring season in March 2020, the league was up to 16 teams and 64 bowlers. Locked out of Star Lanes, the bowlers gathered in the parking lot for a food drive and to give a check to Brent Wyatt, LFR’s executive director. “Between prize money and individual donations, we gave Brent a check for over $2,000 and weighed our most amount of food ever,” says Holmes.
On April 26, at the conclusion of the winter/spring season, APBL donated $830 and 447 pounds of food to LFR.
The summer league, which runs 12 weeks as opposed to the two 15-week winter/spring seasons, kicks off Tuesday, May 17, at 7 p.m. Holmes says all levels of bowlers and all people are welcome to join. “We call ourselves the LGBT and friends Bowling League,” he clarifies. “You don’t have to be gay or a good bowler. I guarantee you will have fun and make friends.”
Aging in place
On Feb. 15, MetroWines closed its flagship store on Charlotte Street to walk-in customers, as renovations were underway to restore the small building to its century-old bones. (The shop continued to accept online orders and offer curbside pickup throughout the process.) “We took off all the drywall to expose the original brick and removed the drop ceiling to reveal the original tin ceiling,” says store manager Zach Eidson. “That added about 2 feet of height and really brightened things up.”
When the store opened to the public again on April 22, customers saw not only the refurbished old but also some new additions, including flooring, racks and lighting.
What has not changed, assures Eidson, is the layout. “Regular customers walk in and are blown away by the look, but glad to see their favorite wines in the same places.”
On Saturday, May 14, 1-5 p.m., MetroWines will celebrate its official grand reopening with a tasting of DAOU Vineyards wines, paired with small bites by chef Sam Etheridge.
Metro Wines is at 169 Charlotte St. Tickets for the drop-in event are $20 and can be reserved by calling 828-975-9525 or registering online at avl.mx/bj4.
With the launch of Sunday brunch service on April 10, Ben’s Tune Up is offering a morning-after remedy for Saturday night sake revelry. Chef Chris Langdon has introduced what may be Asheville’s most untraditional brunch menu with items such as Korean breakfast sandwich, beef and carrot steamed bun, New Jersey pork roll sandwich, a tofu scramble bowl and an over-the-top chocolate bun oozing Nutella and peanut butter, encircled with fresh banana coins and topped with fresh whipped sweet cream and walnuts.
Ben’s Tune Up is at 195 Hilliard Ave. Sunday brunch runs 11 a.m.-3 p.m.
In October 2020, mother-daughter partners Michele Clark and Sydney Keating opened The Wild Violet in a renovated building on Main Street in Mars Hill. Their zero-waste organic grocery store operates out of the first floor, selling eco-friendly home goods, herbs, bulk items and locally made products and gifts. Tea lattes, juice and smoothies are sold from a small counter.
More recently, the pair launched The Wild Violet Vegetarian Café and Teahouse, now open on the second floor, with a vegetarian, organic and gluten-free menu of small plates, soups, salads and additional items.
The Wild Violet is at 4 N. Main St., Mars Hill. The market is open Tuesday-Saturday 10 a.m.-6 p.m. The second-floor café operates the same days from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. For more information, visit avl.mx/alu.
The 20th annual Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project Local Food Guide is hot off the presses. The 80-page publication is packed with listings for farms, farmers markets, restaurants, groceries, artisan producers and travel destinations. It also features charts for finding farms offering u-pick, farm stands, lodging, visitor activities and Community Supported Agriculture shares. Furthermore, the 2022 edition contains stories looking back at 20 years of ASAP, as well as profiles of local farms.
The print version of the 2022 guide is free and can be found in local libraries, grocery stores, farmers markets and other local businesses. For the online version, visit avl.mx/bj5.
Produce to the people
Community Supported Agriculture is a seasonal subscription service of weekly boxes of locally grown produce. Five years ago, the N.C. State Extension and Tourism Extension introduced Vacationer Supported Agriculture. Through its online partner, People-First Provisions, VSA coordinates the sale of weekly produce bags to vacationers over the summer tourism season. VSA works with nonprofit groups and select farms to aggregate and distribute the fresh bags.
On April 27, the N.C. State Extension and EmPOWERing Mountain Food Systems announced the expansion and early opening of the VSA program, working with the Jackson County Tourism Development Authority and the Haywood County Tourism Development Authority to promote the program of delivering local produce from farms operating in a 50-mile radius to vacationers in their regions. The 2022 delivery schedule kicked off the first weekend of May and will continue to the last weekend of September.
To link to the program, visit avl.mx/bj6. Jackson and Haywood County partners can be found in the Smoky Mountains region.
Friends of Ben
The Asheville chapter of Ben’s Friends, dedicated to supporting members of the food and beverage industry on their sobriety journey, has a new meeting day — Tuesdays at 10 a.m. — in the same place, Avenue M restaurant, 791 Merrimon Ave.
In 2014, Mike Woliansky and Sadrah Schadel founded No Evil Foods, the plant-based meat substitute made from sustainable and animal-free ingredients and packaged in compostable materials. Based in Weaverville, the product line can be found nationally at Whole Foods, Wegmans, Sprouts and Walmart stores.
On April 18, Shadel, previously chief creative officer, assumed the role of CEO, and Woliansky, who has served as CEO for four years, took over as chief operating officer. Shadel will continue to guide the overall direction of the brand’s marketing.
In early 2022, No Evil Foods introduced Best Life Beef, its first entry into the plant-based beef category.