What’s new in food: Southside Community Farm continues to grow

INCH BY INCH: Roy Harris stands in the Southside Community Farm, which he founded as the Southside Community Garden in 2014. Photo courtesy of SCF

On the first Sunday of March, volunteers helped ready Southside Community Farm’s quarter-acre plot for the planting of spring crops, including potatoes, sugar peas and radishes, among others. But preparation for the site’s eighth year growing fresh produce for the Southside Community Kitchen and nearby low-income and food-insecure residents kicked off in mid-February with a GoFundMe campaign to raise $15,000.

“This is our first GoFundMe,” says farm co-manager Chloe Moore. “We have a lot of projects we have identified and that the community has expressed interest [in]. So, we’ll need additional funds to be able to bring more food to the community and take better care of the land.”

Roy Harris, a Southside resident and longtime community advocate, founded Southside Community Garden in 2014. The name change to Southside Community Farm, Moore explains, came about last fall to better reflect the operation. The heart of the mission, however, remains the same, even as the scope of the vision has expanded through the years.

“We started a farmers market last summer for BIPOC farmers and vendors to bring healthy food into the Southside neighborhood,” says Moore, referring to Black, Indigenous and people of color. “We also hold BIPOC-only garden days; a time for us to heal and have some joyful and consensual time with the land and each other.”

This year, in collaboration with Sow True Seed and Bountiful Cities, SCF launched a free Southside Seed Library for neighborhood residents. The farm will also resume its community potluck series, Fourth Sunday Dinners, next month.

Furthermore, the organization is in the process of expanding its Southside Grocery Program, which began in spring 2021.  Along with the initiative’s existing community refrigerator inside the Arthur R. Edington Education and Career Center, future additions will include a dry goods pantry outside.

“The veggiemobile is another goal we have identified, to get produce and food to people with mobility challenges,” Moore continues. “As Mr. Roy Harris always says, ‘We need to take the farm off the farm and bring it to where the people are.’ We hope the fundraising campaign will help us realize these goals.”

The next BIPOC-only garden day will be Sunday, April 10, 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Fourth Sunday Dinners relaunches Sunday, April 24, 2-4 p.m. The start of the 2022 Southside Farmers Market will be Sunday, May 1 (continuing every first Sunday through October), noon-3 p.m. in the Edington Center parking lot.

Southside Community Farm is at 133 Livingston St. To learn more about the GoFundMe campaign, visit avl.mx/bbi. For updates on upcoming events and volunteer opportunities, see avl.mx/bbg


To commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Older Americans Act Nutrition Program, Meals on Wheels of Asheville Buncombe County is participating in the nationwide March for Meals. The local Meals on Wheels, which has been delivering meals for over 45 years to homebound seniors, is seeking contributions to its Stock the Pantry initiative to supplement meal deliveries. Products such as tuna pouches/cans, instant oatmeal, canned soup, beans and dried fruit can be dropped at the agency office, 146 Victoria Road, Monday-Friday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m.

To learn more, visit avl.mx/bc2.

Sweet tea

In 2016, Ashley Haywood was a busy mother, wife and business owner living in Florida, desperately seeking the most direct route to a cup of sweet, hot tea to power her through mornings and meetings with minimal fuss. Online searches came up empty, so she took matters into her own hands — literally — by cutting open tea bags, adding sugar, resealing, then steeping.

In 2017, she launched Embrew, which specializes in sweetened artisan tea bags. As the company grew, so too did Haywood’s weariness of Florida’s hot weather, leading her to relocate her company (and family) to Asheville earlier this year.

“My husband went to high school in Candler, so we were familiar with the area,” she says. “I feel we were meant to be here.”

Embrew’s sweeteners include organic sugars, granulated maple, honey granules and smoked demerara sugar. The company’s most popular blend is creamy honey oolong.

To learn more, visit avl.mx/bbq.

Mountain brews

Asheville Tea Co. and Pisgah Coffee Roasters are collaborating to help raise funds for Pisgah Area SORBA, a local volunteer organization dedicated to improving technical off-road biking recreational opportunities through advocacy for quality trail systems. A portion of all sales for a $30 bundle that includes a box of Pisgah Breakfast Tea and bag of Trailblazer Roast will benefit the organization.

For more information, visit avl.mx/bbr.

Hole in one

When local chef and baker Lyndon Johnson first shared his bagel recipe with a former colleague, it did not go well.

“He told me my bagel was like a roll with a hole,” Johnson recalls. “That hurt my soul something fierce, and it was back to the drawing board.”

Before the disappointing bagel review, Johnson had been selling sourdough bread, brioche, challah and brownies through his Honey Badger Bakes Instagram account. But once he figured out the right bagel balance — somewhere between the blistered exterior and dense chew of a New York bagel and the tear-and-share of a Montreal interpretation — he added it to his menu and quickly discovered bagels were the business model to pursue.

Johnson recently launched Honey Badger Bakes Bagel Pop-ups, hosted at local coffee shops. The next bagel bash takes place Friday, March 18, 8 a.m.-noon at Trade and Lore Coffee, 37 Wall St. Johnson will offer several options: plain and everything bagels as well as three types of sandwiches including the BEC — bacon, fried egg, pimento cheese, greens and pickled onion.

“You can be as creative as you want, but people always want meat and cheese,” he says.

To keep up with Johnson’s bagel pop-up schedule, follow him at avl.mx/bbn.

Queens for a day

Asheville Drag Brunch celebrates the first day of spring with two shows, Sunday, March 20 at Banks Ave. Bar, 32 Banks Ave. 101. Mimosas-up for queens Katarina, Alexis, Calcutta, Quidynn and host Divine as they strut, sing, scatter sparkles and sequins to raise funds to benefit Homeward Bound, a local nonprofit that aims to prevent and end homelessness in the community through permanent housing and support.

Tickets start at $25 and include admission, brunch and show. Showtimes are noon and 2 p.m. For more information, visit avl.mx/bbp.

Green chilis

Sweeten Creek Brewing is presenting the Irish Chili Cook-off Sunday, March 20, 2-4 p.m. The heated competition will pit 12 amateur teams against one another. Prizes will be awarded in categories including Best Use of an Ingredient, Best Beer Pairing and Most Likely to Kill COVID. For $5, guests can taste all the chilis and vote for the People’s Choice; Sweeten Creek will donate all proceeds to World Central Kitchen and its ongoing work to feed Ukranian refugees in Poland. Specials from Bear’s Smokehouse BBQ will also be available to purchase.

Sweeten Creek Brewing is at 1127 Sweeten Creek Road. For more information, visit  avl.mx/bbs.

Good cheers

Capella on 9, AC Hotel Asheville’s rooftop bar and lounge, has launched its Cocktails for a Cause initiative to help support a rotating list of Asheville-based nonprofits. Each month, Capella on 9 will craft a philanthropic cocktail with $1 from each sale donated directly to a local nonprofit organization. This month’s special cocktails include a Boulevardier and a grapefruit cosmo with sales benefiting LEAF Global Arts.

Capella on 9 is at 10 Broadway. 

Bank on it

On March 1, MANNA FoodBank kicked off its inaugural virtual Fresh Food Drive, which uses online donations to purchase produce. The Rakay Family Foundation will match donations dollar-for-dollar up to $100,000 through April 1.

To contribute to the Fresh Food Drive, visit avl.mx/bc5.

Plant the seed

No pot roast for family supper on Sunday, March 20, which Mayor Esther Manheimer has officially proclaimed as MeatOut Day in Asheville, part of the world’s largest annual grassroots campaign to remove meat from meals and encourage plant-based eating. Sign on to the campaign and be eligible to win a $120 Next Meats vegan value pack. For more details, visit avl.mx/bcb.


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About Kay West
Kay West began her writing career in NYC, then was a freelance journalist in Nashville for more than 30 years, including contributing writer for the Nashville Scene, Nashville correspondent for People magazine, author of five books and mother of two happily launched grown-up kids. In 2019 she moved to Asheville and continued writing (minus Red Carpet coverage) with a focus on food, farming and hospitality. She is a die-hard NY Yankees fan.

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