Did you know?

You can hear the voices of our region at Growing Local, a weekly audio series on Soundcloud about local food and farms in the Southern Appalachians. Sign on and learn more about the people in our region, the growers, the towns, the beauty and local foods, too.

Listen live on WNCW 88.7 each Monday at 8:45 a.m. or to all the archived tracks.

Produced by ASAP, the Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project.


And tune in to your Farmers Market each and every Saturday throughout the year. The summer outdoor season is closing down at Bridge Park on Oct. 29 when we will be moving to our winter quarters across the river at The Community Table building. Winter hours are 10-1pm. We’ll continue to provide quality, local produce, baked goods, hand crafts, herbs and botanicals so please join us there starting Nov. 5th!

October ate my garden…sigh

One morning, you look out over your garden and containers and swell with pride at all you managed to grow and harvest this season. In spite of pitiful rainfalls this summer, we’ve been harvesting a steady supply of  ripening tomatoes, peppers as they turn red, eggplant, chard and the expanding rows of fall crops in our low tunnel. It’s been such a delight to step outside with my produce basket and gather up those tasty offerings each day. And then, one day, it’s all gone. Not ‘critter ate’ gone. Just. Done. Dried up. Tired. It’s as if by moving from September to October you cross that invisible line of some sort that tells you garden season may be over…for this year at least.

So:  tomatoes all played out?  Here are some ideas for those tired and droopy plants. I know we just can’t stand the thought of waiting another 10 months for these lovelies, but just think: you now you have space for some winter crops.

There is still time to save seeds from the crops you have left. Here are some of the ways to save tomato seeds. Large seeds like pumpkins, butternut squash, etc., are easy. Remove the seeds and pulp from one of your finest, rinse and clean the pulp, spread out seeds on a plate or parchment paper and let dry completely. Then seal in a clean jar and keep cool till next season. Don’t forget to date and label.

This is a great site for learning how to save seeds. The Market also has several books on seed saving for you to browse at our  Information Booth. If you are a “Friend of the Market,” you may check them out from our library.

One food I experienced while teaching in Bulgaria several years ago was leutinitza or leutinitsa. It’s their idea of an end-of-the-season collaboration between the last tomatoes, roasted red peppers (Hungarian types,) roasted eggplant and a long simmer on the stove. OMG! I made a batch from a recipe gifted to me by one of my students handwritten by her grandmother and translated into English just for me. I guess you can say I use a ‘family secret recipe’ for my version. (And, NO, I’m not sharing.)  I will, however, offer a great video from Bulgaria of a couple making leutinitsa so you can see why it’s such a favorite with Bulgarians. Although time consuming, it is so worth it. Serve it on thick rye bread from Backwoods Bakery, of course, or with a slice of cheese or on eggs (farm fresh from our vendors) or any number of other ways. It’s so delicious and the flavors of all those roasted veggies is heavenly.

Got a favorite fall recipe you are willing to share? Send them in and we’ll post them on our website.

Saturday, October 8th is Octoberfest and our monthly fundraiser, Market Feast. Come down and enjoy Worley Farms bratwurst on Backwoods Bakery bread and then pick up a glass of home-town brewed ginger ‘ale’ from Innovation Brewing. It’s going to be another glorious day in the mountains at the Market and we hope to see you.

Afterwards, head up the Blue Ridge to enjoy October’s tapestry of leaves and see them at their peak. 







Apples and Onion Relish

This tasty condiment was prepared for our monthly Market Feast on Saturday, Sept. 10th, and several of our customers asked for the recipe. The blend of onion and fruit lends itself to so many possibilities you will want to whip up several batches to combine with crackers and cheddar cheese, or goat cheese or cream cheese or try it on pork or brats or chicken. We served samples on basic white bread provided by Backwoods Bakery. This fall combo was a real hit with our Market goers. We think you’ll like it too!

Here’s the recipe from www.food.com.0237451_854x480

Our chefstress supreme, Jennie Ashlock, made some important variations to our recipe. We used apple cider vinegar instead of wine, no butter…only oil, and in one batch fresh thyme was used rather than cayenne. And about that cayenne: you can definitely cut the amount in half. We also suggest trying other herbs such as rosemary or perhaps sage. It’s a great recipe for experimentation. Enjoy and let us know how you liked it. Hey, send us a picture and any new ideas you have for this delicious paring.  We’ll pass them along.


Thanks to Jennie and Joseph Nardello, our fabulous volunteer chefs and to Pineapple Sage, Pomme de Terre Farm, Bud’s Bees, Backwoods Bakery, Ron and Cathy Arp, for donating ingredients.

Next month is OctoberFest at the Market. What do these two have cooked up for us? Find out on October 8th.

Have you tried fermenting?

sauerkraut tutorial

Photo courtesy of marblemounthomestead.blogspot.com

By September, I’m frankly tired of making pesto, washing pint jars, slicing cucumbers for pickles or heating water for tomatoes or peaches. No, the pantry isn’t full but I need a break, another way to put food by without heating up pots of water. It’s time to dig out the 5 gallon crock and make sauerkraut. This is a beautiful blog with lots of photos and easy directions. Here’s a Russian version with similar steps but from a grandma’s point of view.

Humans have used fermentation to produce food and beverages since the Neolithic age. For example, fermentation is used for preservation in a process that produces lactic acid as found in such sour foods as pickled cucumbers, kimchi and yogurt as well as for producing alcoholic beverages such as wine and beer.

They often begin as whole foods, and with the help of microorganisms, their sugars and carbs are converted into compounds like lactic acid—the stuff that gives pickles and sauerkraut their signature sour taste. The process also turns these foods into probiotic powerhouses that boost levels of good bacteria in your digestive tract, improving the health and balance of your body’s collective microbiome, or bacterial community. A healthier microbiome, in turn, has been shown to aid in digestion, increase immunity, prevent disease, and—according to some preliminary studies—reduce blood pressure and keep you slim. What’s more, fermented foods are also easier to digest because they’re already partially broken down by bacteria, says Dana White, RD, a culinary nutritionist. And whatever nutrients are in there—say, vitamin C, in the cabbage that turns into sauerkraut—are actually enhanced during the fermentation process.

So, besides being a very simple way to preserve cabbage and other vegetables, fermentation is a healthy addition to your diet.

When I really wish to impress folks, I pick up some Napa cabbage, a few Thai hot chiles from the garden and whip up kimchi. Not to everyone’s taste but if you enjoy southeast Asian foods or Korean food you will need to learn how to make this favored condiment.

Sandor Katz, known as the king of fermentation, writes that kimchi typically includes red chili peppers, garlic, ginger, and scallions. Sauerkraut might include caraway seeds (his favorite), juniper berries, apples, or cranberries. Got a batch in the pantry right now. Now to get some rye bread from Backwoods Bakery this Saturday at the Market and some corned beef. There are ruben sandwiches in my future! YUM!


Curious to learn more? Come to Malaprops Book Store in Asheville, NC in September
and meet SANDOR KATZ !
 Malaprops is thrilled to welcome fermentation and living foods expert Sandor Katz back to Malaprop’s for the re-release of his classic, Wild Fermentation! This James Beard award-winning author has given hundreds of workshops and presentations across the world, inspiring a global audience to create delicious, healing foods. This book, a New York Times bestseller, has been hailed as starting the fermentation revolution, and Newsweek calls it “the fermenting Bible.”
Event date: Saturday, September 10, 2016 – 7:00pm]


September means…

…a fantastic time to get your plants and bulbs in for the following years. Check out this article.

Fall Planting Gives Your Landscape a Healthy Head Start

by Greg Moberg of Allisonville Nursery

The weather is turning cooler, which means it’s time to get out in the yard and do some planting – right?

While it might sound counterintuitive, the best time to plant a new tree, shrub or perennial actually is in the fall. When a plant is put into the ground in autumn, it may be facing the cold above ground; but in the Midwest, root growth continues until deep soil temperature drops below 40 degrees.

If you plant a shrub in spring, it must acclimate itself to its new home and begin growing immediately. At the same time, it has to produce leaves, flowers, and then endure the rapidly arriving summer heat.

Plant the same shrub in fall, and it will become happily dormant above ground soon after planting. But the roots will have several months to grow and become comfortable and strong in their new home.

When spring arrives, the plant is established and ready to put out strong leaves, new growth, and lots of flowers! Fall planting gives your plant’s roots a wonderful head start.

For newly planted and established plants, fall fertilization is very important. If you only fertilize once a year, do it in the fall.

Spring is still when you’ll find the greatest selection of shrubs and trees. But most nurseries and garden centers are beginning to recognize the value of fall planting and making special efforts to provide their customers with the best selection throughout the fall and early winter season.

When selecting those special plants for your landscape, look for healthy, well-grown plants. Always buy from a reputable nursery with an experienced staff. These nurseries are in the business of selling service year-round. In turn, they depend on loyal customers’ continued confidence in their business.

Plants come in a vast array of shapes, sizes, colors, but the most important thing to consider is the quality of what you’re purchasing. It’s important to inspect plants individually. Shopping by phone or looking for the cheapest price can be a costly mistake when it comes to buying new landscape plants. Many times you will find that not all nurseries and garden centers are created equal.

A new tree or shrub can be a large physical investment. Why not give your new plant the best possible chance of survival? Get outside and take advantage of this fall planting season!

(A version of this article has appeared on Allisonville Nursery’s website.)

And don’t forget native plants. Come on down to the Market this Saturday and pick up some perennial and native treasures from our vendors. Our knowledgeable growers can give you the planting and care tips for each plant you buy. Some of these won’t be around much longer so don’t wait another weekend to spruce up your garden and landscape. See ya at the Market!

High Tunnel Cool Season Workshop 8/23

htunnelHigh Tunnel Cool Season Crop Production &
Harvesting & Handling of Fresh Produce Workshop Series, Part 2
Tuesday, August 23, 2016
9 AM – 3:30 PM
TCCC Center for Applied Technology
2415 Airport Road
Marble, NC 28905
The morning session will include a farm vist to a local commercial organic farm. You will experience first hand best on­farm practices when Harvesting & Handling of Fresh Produce. Then you will return to the classroom and learn how to identify the following food safety risks:
  • On farm food safety hazards when harvesting & handling fresh produce.
  • Flow on the Farm the order in which you work on the farm. Identifying potential cross contamination risks in small farm production with multiple farm products.
The afternoon session will focus on Cool Season High Tunnel Crop Production including a hands on field trip to the Cherokee Co. CoOp Ext. High Tunnel Site.
  • Basic high tunnel management for cool season crops
  • Cool season crop/variety selections
  • Transitioning into warm season crop production
  • Bed construction including row spacing (hands on)
  • Proper planting procedures for transplants & direct seeding (hands on)
Class Instructors
Diane Ducharme ­-  NCSU Ext., Associate in Horticulture & Food Safety GAPs Program Coordinator
Gena S. Moore ­- Carolina Farm Stewardship Association, Organic Research Coordinator
Jon Miller ­- Miller Farms, USDA Certified Organic Farm, Marble, NC
This is no cost workshop & lunch is included. 
Seating is limited. Please RSVP to Christina Newhouse at 8283612266 or email:wnchightunnel@gmail.com
This workshop is the 2nd in a series of 3 workshops addressing the topics of marketing, multi season crop production, financial planning, and practical applications for fresh produce safety. The workshop dates are July 12, Aug. 23, and Dec. 6. The December workshop will close the series with a 3 county farm services and local resources Expo.
Partners:  Smoky Mountain High Tunnel Initiative; NC Cooperative Extension, Carolina Farm Stewardship Association, Tri County Community College

Sponsored by:  USDA, NRCS

Robert Craig Mauney, NC Extension Area Specialized Agent
Commercial Vegetable & Fruit Production
Western North Carolina Counties
Mountain Horticulture Crops Research and Extension Center
455 Research Drive
Mills River, NC 28759
Office phone: 828-684-3562, Extension 129
Cell: 828-989-7900
Fax: 828-684-8715

Summertime is the right time for (anything but) soda

Alright, but it has to be something cool and refreshing that involves a big glass with lots and lots of ice.

What about iced tea then, America’s favorite? I like blending different herbs, fruits and teas together just to experience new flavors. Pineapple Sage Herb Farm (one of our Market vendors) sells amazing blends of tea. We like to add fresh strawberries to their Ginger Lemon Tea. A few ice cubes and a sprig of mint and voila! The perfect way to shut out the heat and humidity.

Try these other blends from Pineapple Sage: Licorice Mint, Hibiscus (paired with lemon balm leaves or lavender) and Blue Eyes, a very special tea combining hibiscus, rose hips and citrus. So refreshing. Add to mineral water for a very different sensation.

And if you need more inspiration for these ‘dog’ days of August, try some additional ideas from Real Food Media to soothe a parched throat without resorting to the too sugary/too expensive option of soda.


Serves 3
  1. 3 cups seltzer water
  2. 1 lime
  3. 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  4. 1 cup blackberries (½ cup fresh, ½ cup frozen)
  5. 3 sprigs of fresh rosemary
  1. In a bowl, combine seltzer water, the juice of 1 lime, and maple syrup
  2. Mash ½ cup of fresh blackberries in a cup
  3. Then add the blackberry mash to a large jar, along with the seltzer water mix, and rosemary sprigs. Make sure to bruise some of the rosemary stems to release the flavors.
  4. When ready to serve, pour into glasses and top with frozen blackberries. Garnish with rosemary.

Click below to find more thirst-quenching ideas you can sip while you listen to the Real Food Media book of the month interview with Marion Nestle. Salut!

Soda Politics Header