USING EVERYTHING: "If you're going to eat meat, I think it's really important to take responsibility for the suffering that goes into it [while] embracing the fact that we're omnivores and understanding the depth of that," says Natalie Bogwalker.

Sacred sacrifice: Upcoming workshop embraces conscious butchering practices

“If we are disconnected from our food and where our sustenance comes from, it’s a very dangerous thing for humanity,” says Natalie Bogwalker, founder of Wild Abundance. In November, Bogwalker teaches a two-day workshop that focuses on humane, reverent and conscious slaughtering and butchery practices.

“If you don’t want to own a small business, don’t try and make a living as a farmer,” says William Lyons. He and Marie Williamson own Bluebird Farm in Morganton. Photo by Amelia Fletcher Photogaphy. Courtesy of Organic Growers School

Survey findings may help stem the loss of farms in WNC

Making a living as a farmer is tough anywhere, but it’s particularly true in the North Carolina mountains. Western North Carolina lost 18 percent of its farms — more than 2,800 — in the 15 years between 1997 and 2012. And the majority of existing WNC farmers today are nearing retirement age — many of them without heirs who plan to keep the farm going.

VentureLocal

One of a kind: Venture Local Fair celebrates Asheville’­s unique character

There’s a crossroads between Buxton and Banks avenues, even though they don’t intersect. These blocklong, parallel, South Slope streets are lined with places to buy things, eat, drink and make merry: a chocolate factory, a doughnut shop, three breweries, two bars, a beer-and-wine store and the newest barbecue joint in town, among other businesses. The […]

BREWPUBS TO BIG BUSINESS: Over the past decade, craft breweries have taken the state of North Carolina by storm, pulling in nearly 800 million dollars in 2014 alone. However, with bigger profit margins comes more scrutiny from state alcohol regulators and a stricter adherence to N.C. statutes. Photo by Gina Smith.

Growing pains: Craft brewing comes of age

North Carolina has always had a complicated relationship with alcohol. However, alcohol has consistently been an economic driver in North Carolina, as it still is, with 130 craft breweries as of 2014 – the most of any Southern state. As the craft brewing industry in the region grows into a multimillion-dollar business, the desire to review the statutes and improve communication with state officials has come to the forefront.

NEW MOON: Modern day distillers in WNC are bringing the region's most-storied spirit into the 21st century. Photo by George Etheredge.

Bottled lightning: Appalachia­n moonshinin­g in the 21st century

Western North Carolina is now home to a growing number of craft distillers making legal moonshine. Blending traditional recipes with new technology and methods, these pioneers are bringing Appalachia’s most fabled and misunderstood product into the 21st century, changing cultural perceptions even as they adapt to shifting economic realities.

TELLING THE STORY: Accented with reclaimed furniture, wood and stained glass, Cam MacQueen's new vegan bar and coffee shop, The Block off biltmore, is designed to pay tribute to the historic YMI Cultural Center and the neighborhood in which it is located. “This bar is about telling the story of this space," says MacQueen.

The Block off biltmore: New vegan bar celebrates diversity, history

Reminiscent of an Prohibition-era speakeasy with its cream and burgundy walls, vinyl club chairs, old church pews and dark brown circular tables, the bar and event center pays homage to the history of the building and its surrounding neighbors. “This is an event concept bar,” says owner Cam MacQueen. “This bar is about telling the story of this space, of this block, of bringing people together.”

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