What’s new in food: MANNA FoodBank hosts latest Outpace Hunger campaign

SETTING THE PACE: Pam Eveland, left, and Becky Haaksma celebrate the completion of their 2021 Outpace Hunger goal: hiking 67 miles in five days from Mount Pisgah to Mount Mitchell. Photo by Lynn Saul.

“MANNA is serving an average of 100,000 people per month through our network of 200-plus partner agencies,” says Kelly Schwartz, MANNA FoodBank’s special events manager. “With the rising cost of groceries, the need is still critical, especially for working families, seniors and veterans on a fixed budget.”

With that in mind, MANNA is preparing for its second consecutive Outpace Hunger campaign, kicking off Sunday, June 26, 1-4 p.m. in the Meadow at Highland Brewing Co.

The Outpace Hunger initiative was founded in 2021 to help meet an ever-increasing need for healthy, nutritious food among Western North Carolina residents, during a time when MANNA was unable to gather in person for usual fundraising events. This campaign allows participants to support their community while enjoying the bountiful nature and outdoor opportunities abundant in this corner of the world.

To get started, participants must register to be part of MANNA’s Outpace Hunger community either on the day of the event or before the gathering. Participants must select their favorite physical activity and set a goal (activity-based, fundraising-based or both). Finally, participants have the opportunity to invite their family and friends to support their fundraising efforts through personalized Outpace Hunger webpages, through Friday, Sept. 30.

“In 2021, we raised $16,000, which means MANNA was able to provide the equivalent of 64,000 meals for neighbors in the 16 counties of WNC,” says Schwartz. “This year, we’re setting our sights on a goal of $25,000 to provide fresh fruits and vegetables, proteins, dairy and healthy pantry staples that everyone needs to thrive.”

At the event, Highland Brewing will release its Community Harvest Tart Fruit Ale — the latest from its Pints with Purpose series. A portion of all sales from the new beer benefits MANNA.

Highland Brewing Co. is at 12 Old Charlotte Highway, No. 200. Registration for Outpace Hunger is $20. For more information, visit avl.mx/boa

Wheelin’ and Mealin’

A new mobile meals truck from Food Connection — the local organization striving to ease hunger, reduce waste and support Asheville’s food industry through redistribution — is aiming to be fully mobile and ready to feed local communities come July.

Operating as a “food rescue vehicle,” the latest initiative will pick up surplus leftovers from local donor partners and repackage the cuisine into individual heat-and-serve meals. The complimentary food truck will then make its way to low-wealth neighborhoods and underprivileged rural communities to distribute the meals for free.

“We continue to believe that access to delicious, nutritious meals is a human right. With the rising cost of rent, groceries and gas, many working families are finding themselves struggling to make ends meet,” says Flori Pate, Food Connection co-founder and leader of community engagement. “These mobile meals will provide a fun and equitable culinary experience to the greater Asheville community.”

Visit avl.mx/bob for more information, including volunteer and fundraising opportunities.

Oaxacan cuisine

On Sunday, June 26, 4:30-7:30 p.m., chef Luis Martinez and Tequio Foods will host a pop-up culinary celebration of traditional Oaxacan cuisine in collaboration with Old North Farm.

“Tequio” is the Zapotec people’s concept of the community joining to accomplish a goal for the betterment of all. Born in a small Zapotec pueblo in Oaxaca, Mexico, Martinez formed Tequio Foods in 2021 to empower Indigenous farmers and support their communities by paying farmers directly for heirloom corn and beans.

At the upcoming pop-up, lamb barbacoa and consommé, ceviche, tostada verde and nicuatole are among the items that will be paired with vegetables and herbs picked fresh from the farm.

Dedicated to helping the historically underserved and merging his passions for honest cooking and social justice, Martinez seeks to uplift his heritage and honor his ancestors with every meal.

“For me, it’s not just about the food but everything else going on around the food,” says Martinez in reference to the importance of fair trade and paying homage to Mexico’s rich agricultural history.

Jamie Swofford, Old North Farm’s chef-turned-farmer, previously worked in Oaxaca and fell in love with both the people and the food during his time in the area. Now, Swofford uses his family farm to grow a number of native Mexican plants rarely seen in the mountains of Appalachia.

“It feels good to have someone to relate with that appreciates Oaxacan cuisine and technique,” says Martinez.

Tickets to Tequio Sunday cost $100 per person. An optional $25 donation to Tequio Foods is available for those interested. Visit avl.mx/boc for tickets and information.

Backyard BBQ

Terra Firma Culinary Co. and Mount Patisserie (formerly Patisserie by Austin) will host a summer barbecue busking pop-up event at Turgua Brewing Co. on Saturday, June 25, 3-8 p.m.

Offering gourmet barbecue pulled pork sandwiches, sides and more, Vince Hogan and partner Austin Whitty seek to honor Southern cuisine’s grand tradition while adding a touch of modern styling and techniques.

“I want to make a downright delicious pulled pork sandwich for you, share our passion for thoughtful, inspired menus and concepts, and build momentum for future endeavors,” says Hogan. “Hopefully, these pop-ups will encourage other young or up-and-coming chefs to get out there in any way they can to cook for others.”

Whitty, pastry chef and cake baker for her company Mount Patisserie, will be crafting a peach shortcake with fresh whipped cream to accompany Hogan’s barbecue and Turgua’s brews.

Turgua Brewing Co. is at 3131 Cane Creek Road, Fairview. For more information, visit avl.mx/bon

Fostering farm and food relationships

A free grower-buyer event organized by EmPOWERING Mountain Food Systems and Western Carolina University will be held Tuesday, June 28, 2-4 p.m., at the Health and Human Sciences Building on WCU’s Millennial Campus.

With a goal of increasing farm and food business income and raising awareness for environmental sustainability, this event will help local food producers network through a “speed-dating” format assessing suitable matches for procurement and sales.

All local growers and food artisans looking to build connections and sell their products with local shops, restaurant owners and food buyers are invited to attend.

“As a regionally engaged institution, WCU strives to foster collaboration and engagement within our community, especially when it comes to environmental sustainability,” Lauren Bishop, WCU’s chief sustainability officer and director of sustainability and energy management, says in a university press release.

Visit avl.mx/bo7 for additional information and to RSVP. The WCU Health and Human Sciences Building is at 3791 Little Savannah Road in Cullowhee.

Get to know Jamie Wade

Sand Hill Kitchen’s owner and head chef, Jamie Wade, is enjoying a year of well-deserved recognition in 2022.

In March, she was dubbed the “Fried Chicken Champ” of North Carolina by Our State magazine. That same month, she was crowned the winner of AVL Today’s March Madness-style fried chicken sandwich bracket competition.

On Wednesday, June 22, 4-5 p.m., the Enka-Candler Library invites Wade to participate in a meet-and-greet event designed to share her expertise and experiences in the restaurant business.

“This is an introduction to Sand Hill Kitchen and the brains and talent behind the restaurant,” says Erin Parcels, branch manager at the Enka-Candler Library. “Jamie Wade will be discussing how she got started, what her favorite things about the business are, hardships she may have encountered and fun facts about Sand Hill Kitchen for people in our community to get to know her and her business better. Jamie plans to bring in samples of her food as well.”

The Enka-Candler Library is at 1404 Sand Hill Road, Candler.

Asheville’s big showing at the James Beard Awards

WINNERS: Both Chai Pani and Curate took home James Beard awards at the 2022 ceremony. Pictured, from left, are Katie Button, Meherwan Irani, Felix Meana and Molly Irani. Photo courtesy of Chai Pani Restaurant Group

Chai Pani (Outstanding Restaurant) and Cúrate (Outstanding Hospitality) both took home awards at the 2022 James Beard Awards, held at the Lyric Opera of Chicago on June 13.

Benne on Eagle’s Cleophus Hethington (Emerging Chef), OWL Bakery’s Susannah Gebhart (Outstanding Baker) and Nani’s Piri Piri Chicken (Best New Restaurant) were also honored with nominations in their respective categories.

The 2022 James Beard Awards were the first held since the James Beard Foundation conducted an audit of its policies and procedures, establishing a code of ethics and an independent review process in an effort to add more diversity and inclusion to its proceedings.

Visit avl.mx/bok for a full list of 2022 James Beard Award winners.


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