What’s new in food: Food Waste Solutions Summit seeks action

FIGHTING FOOD WASTE: The first WNC Food Waste Solutions Summit since 2019 takes place Thursday, Nov. 9, at the Mission Health/A-B Tech Conference Center. Photo courtesy of Cathy Cleary

WNC Food Waste Solutions hosts the third WNC Food Waste Solutions Summit at the Mission Health/A-B Tech Conference Center on Thursday, Nov. 9, 9 a.m.-4:30 p.m.

The summit, held for the first time since 2019, will address the food waste issues facing WNC communities. A number of local businesses, organizations, educational institutions, community leaders and interested individuals will provide information and programming focused on four topic areas: business opportunities, equity and access, how public policies impact food waste, and how food waste impacts climate change.

Elizabeth Biser, secretary of the N.C. Department of Environmental Quality, will provide the event’s opening remarks. Presenters and panelists will include representatives from the Harvard Food Law and Policy Clinic, the Natural Resources Defense Council, Biltmore Estate, 12 Baskets Café (Asheville Poverty Initiative), Food Connection, DirtCraft Living Soils, CompostNow, UNC Asheville, Bounty & Soul and more.

“People need to know the facts about food waste,” says Cathy Cleary, Bountiful Cities outreach coordinator and Asheville Buncombe Food Policy Council member. “They also need to know what they can do in their spheres of influence to make changes.”

According to WNC Food Waste Solutions, food waste is the third-largest contributor to climate change in the United States, and 40% of food produced in this country ends up in landfills. Additionally, nearly 33,400 residents out of 271,000 in Buncombe County are experiencing what the county defines as food insecurity, lacking reliable access to nutritious food in the amount they need to survive and thrive. Buncombe County’s 2022 Waste Characterization Study revealed that 22.1% of the county’s residential waste stream and 28.5% of its commercial waste stream are composed of unconsumed food.

“Tackling food waste and finding solutions is one of my personal passions, and I’ve been focused on it for most of my career in different ways,” says Cleary. Previously a restaurant owner, Cleary gained invaluable insight into the prevalence of food waste throughout the culinary industry while taking steps to address the problem.

“Now I am getting to see from a nonprofit perspective the creative ways that programming and governmental policies can have an impact on what happens to food that might otherwise get wasted and how collaboratively we can make a difference.”

Summit registration is on a sliding scale starting at $35 per person. Volunteer and work-trade opportunities are also available to community members interested in participating directly.

All food and beverages are included in the registration fee. Chefs from DJ’s Pickles, White Labs and Vivian will be on-site cooking meals from food and produce donated by Flying Cloud and other local farms. Gluten-free, vegan and meat options will be provided for breakfast, lunch and snacks. All service ware will be either compostable or reusable. Danny’s Dumpster will pick up all compost at the end of the summit.

“I hope people take away some new knowledge, resources and personal/professional next steps,” says Cleary. “We can all make choices that have an impact.”

The Mission Health/A-B Tech Conference Center is at 16 Fernihurst Drive. Visit avl.mx/cxk for registration and additional information.

7th annual WNC Fermenting Festival

The annual WNC Fermenting Festival, presented by Fermenti Foods, returns for its seventh year to the Madison County Fairgrounds on Sunday, Nov. 5, 11 a.m.-5 p.m.

A celebration of all things fermented, the gathering features local and regional fermenters presenting their products and educating participants on the benefits of probiotic-rich foods.

“Everyone’s enjoyment and anticipation of this event is very rewarding,” says Fermenti CEO Meg Chamberlain. “I love how our vendors collaborate and work together to create memorable flavors for the guests.”

A variety of free fermenting demonstrations and skill-sharing sessions will explore how to prepare beneficial fermented food and drinks, such as jun, kimchi, sourdough, cheese and mead. Dirty Gertie’s Taco Stand will be on-site featuring a new kimchi taco created for the event. Commemorative T-shirts printed especially for the festival, ceramic artists, farmers and local resources will also be available in support of fermentation, food preservation and food security.

“I hope our community embraces fermenting in the home and incorporates its benefits in their daily lives,” says Chamberlain. “We hope to provide an example of how delicious and accessible fermentation really is.”

The Madison County Fairgrounds are at 330 Carolina Lane, Marshall. Visit avl.mx/8ji for a full list of vendors and additional information.

Decorative Thanksgiving cookie class

Looking to bone up on your baking before the holidays arrive? Sweet and Southern Bakery hosts a Thanksgiving-themed sugar cookie decorating class on Sunday, Nov. 5, 4-6 p.m., at Haw Creek Commons.

Sweet and Southern Bakery owner and operator Keri Hernandez, alongside her assistant Tonia Allen, will lead the class step by step in decorating six different cookies in a variety of styles. Intended for beginner decorators and those curious about the practice, the class will explore piping, icing strategy and general decorative concepts. Cookies in seasonal forms such as turkeys, pumpkins, footballs and slices of pie will be baked and prepped prior to the start of class, allowing participants to focus solely on the art of decorating. All icings, decorative tools and supplies will be provided.

“It’s so fun to see how each person brings their own creativity to each set,” says Hernandez. “We create a supportive atmosphere in our groups because the majority are decorating for the first time, so you will often hear the students compliment and encourage each other. I love seeing how proud the students are of their creations at the end of class.”

Tickets cost $47 per person. Take-home kits including the supplies and instructions from class are also available for an additional $25.

Haw Creek Commons is at 315 Old Haw Creek Road. Visit avl.mx/d40 for tickets and additional information.

Buxton Hall Barbecue to close

After an eight-year run serving award-winning smoked meats on the South Slope, Buxton Hall Barbecue has announced plans to close. The final pulled pork plates, fried chicken sandwiches and fresh-baked pies will be served on Wednesday, Nov. 22.

“Buxton Hall has helped to revitalize Carolina barbecue, paying respects to hallowed traditions while adding its own innovative approach, a process rooted in a respect for the barbecue craft and for people,” says Jordan Culberson, a spokesperson for the Chai Pani Restaurant Group representing Buxton Hall Barbecue, in a statement.

Buxton Hall Barbecue opened in 2015, melding Meherwan Irani‘s business acuity with Elliot Moss pitmaster know-how. The collaboration was an immediate and enduring hit. In just its second year, the restaurant was named one of Bon Appétit’s “Top 10 Best New Restaurants” and garnered praise for having the “Fried Chicken Sandwich of the Year.” Numerous accolades continued to roll in throughout the restaurant’s life span, including recognition from The Washington Post, Rolling Stone, The Food Network, Eater, Food & Wine, Garden & Gun and more.

There has been no indication that Buxton Chicken Palace, the fried chicken sandwich-focused spin-off shop that opened in 2021, will be affected by this news, but the situation remains fluid.

“This is an evolving situation, and we will have more news to share from the Chai Pani Restaurant Group in the coming months,” says Culberson in the statement. “We are so proud of Buxton’s eight-year run. We hope the community comes out to support our Buxton team and local producers in this last month of service. We are rallying behind our team during this incredibly hard time to support them through financial and employment resources.”

Buxton Hall Barbecue is at 32 Banks Ave. Visit avl.mx/d3z for news and updates.

Asheville Pizza & Brewing Co. to sell

Following 25 years of award-winning pizzas and independent cinema, the owners of Asheville Pizza & Brewing Co. have announced plans to sell their location at 675 Merrimon Ave.

“We are not closing,” clarifies the company in the social media announcement. “It will be business as usual for us and for as long as it takes for us to find the next caretaker of our North Asheville landmark.”

The owners also made clear that only the Merrimon location, referred to by locals as the “Brew ‘n View,” is up for sale. Asheville Brewing Co. downtown at 77 Coxe Ave. will continue to run as currently operated. Asheville T-Shirt Co. (owned by Asheville Pizza & Brewing Co. co-owner Mike Rangel) will also remain open. Rabbit Rabbit (a collaboration with The Orange Peel) and the new distillery Ninja Spirits, launched earlier this year by Rangel and Chall Gray of Little Jumbo, are both unaffected by this news.

“Our hope is that whoever is to become the new director of this amazing story has the same love for movies, a passion for great pizza, a spirit of fun and a desire to create a sequel that’s even better than the original,” says the company in its post.

Those interested in becoming the next owner(s) of Asheville Pizza & Brewing Co.’s Merrimon location should contact brewnview@ashevillebrewing.com.


Thanks for reading through to the end…

We share your inclination to get the whole story. For the past 25 years, Xpress has been committed to in-depth, balanced reporting about the greater Asheville area. We want everyone to have access to our stories. That’s a big part of why we've never charged for the paper or put up a paywall.

We’re pretty sure that you know journalism faces big challenges these days. Advertising no longer pays the whole cost. Media outlets around the country are asking their readers to chip in. Xpress needs help, too. We hope you’ll consider signing up to be a member of Xpress. For as little as $5 a month — the cost of a craft beer or kombucha — you can help keep local journalism strong. It only takes a moment.

Before you comment

The comments section is here to provide a platform for civil dialogue on the issues we face together as a local community. Xpress is committed to offering this platform for all voices, but when the tone of the discussion gets nasty or strays off topic, we believe many people choose not to participate. Xpress editors are determined to moderate comments to ensure a constructive interchange is maintained. All comments judged not to be in keeping with the spirit of civil discourse will be removed and repeat violators will be banned. See here for our terms of service. Thank you for being part of this effort to promote respectful discussion.

Leave a Reply

To leave a reply you may Login with your Mountain Xpress account, connect socially or enter your name and e-mail. Your e-mail address will not be published. All fields are required.