Nerves of steel needed by food pioneers

I would like to add to the conversation about Asheville’s food pioneers [“Blazing the Trail: Asheville’s Food Pioneers,” Oct. 22, Xpress].

My husband, John Rowland, has been farming organically in Weaverville since 1980. He was one of the first in the area to sell organically grown products, and he continues to do so, providing products to stores, restaurants, and community supported agriculture customers.

He initially sold to the few places in town where shoppers eagerly sought healthy, wholesome food, including Dinner for the Earth, Nothing But Natural and Stone Soup, and he was one of the original sellers at the North Asheville Tailgate Market.

At a time when people were afraid of “organic,” worried that they might find a worm in their apple or a slug in their salad, and when our own parents questioned the practicality of farming without the use of chemicals, he continued to work hard to demonstrate his skills and to educate potential customers about the value of his products as well as his practices.

It has not been easy. Unlike the romantic image of “life in the country,” the vagaries of the weather make this profession one that requires nerves of steel. So I’d like to thank not only John but all of those who continue to make the choice to provide the community with delicious and healthy food as well as to provide opportunities for the next generation to learn and practice the invaluable skills of sustainable agriculture.

Karen Osborne-Rowland


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