Agriculture keeps Kendall Huntley busy. “I’m a local native. I’ve been farming most of my life,” he says.
In addition to growing predominantly organic meats and produce through his company, Whispersholler Farms, Huntley manages 20 acres with animals, veggies and non-GMO feed crops. In 2010, to diversify and round out personal finances, he also launched a produce brokering service. And now, Huntley is adding a new food venture to the mix: Whispersholler Farms Market.
“I’m here hoping to offer affordable, local [food] for everyone,” Huntley says of the project.
The market, which is located within the relatively new Asheville Food Park on Amboy Road, will hold its grand opening in conjunction with the park’s Equinox Spring Fest Saturday and Sunday, March 19-20. The store will draw upon several aspects of Huntley’s existing businesses, making it a hybrid of sorts — part farmers market and part traditional grocery store. Much of the inventory will come directly from Whispersholler, which also operates a store at the Western North Carolina Farmers Market.
Additional shelves will be lined with items from Mills River Creamery, Ashe County Cheese, Asheville City Bakery, AppalaChai, Green River Picklers, Smokin’ J’s Fiery Foods, Roots and Branches, and more local purveyors. Though his focus is on being a small local grocer, the produce businessman also recognizes the demand for foods that simply don’t grow in WNC.
“I’m trying to see what everybody wants, but I know I want to carry avocados, bananas, oranges and things of that nature that aren’t local,” he says.
To cater to various budgets, the market will carry both organic and nonorganic goods in addition to running plenty of specials. “We do a really big plant business as well,” Huntley says, such as decorative and edible garden starts.
As an added benefit, the opening of another brick-and-mortar spot widens the possibilities for Whispersholler’s community supported agriculture program. Participants can subscribe to pick up a traditional, weekly “surprise box” of goods at one of three locations, including the market. Or they can make a one-off box purchase, curating the order from an emailed list of available products, including anything that’s carried in-store (delivery or pickup available). For complete control, buyers can assemble their own CSA box at the new market.
Asheville Food Park also includes local café Edna’s at the River, full-service bar Cascade Lounge and space for three rotating food trucks — some of which will now be able to park just a few feet from their newest supplier.
Whispersholler Farms Market is in Asheville Food Park, 219 Amboy Road. Hours are 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Monday-Friday and 8 a.m.-7 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Visit facebook.com/WhispershollerFarmsLLC for more information.