ASHEVILLE NC – Farmers are planting and starting to pick from their hoophouses and fields, tailgate markets and roadside farm stands are opening with garden starts and early produce, and Appalachian Grown™ partner restaurants are featuring local spring veggies on their menus. In other words, the harvest season has arrived in the Southern Appalachians. To celebrate, ASAP will host their first Local Food Fest Saturday, April 27, from 2 until 6 pm on Wall Street in downtown Asheville. The free family-friendly event also marks the release of ASAP’s 2013 Local Food Guide.
“In the past, we’ve hosted a Local Food Guide release party,” explains Scott Bunn, ASAP’s development director. “This year, we wanted to create an event where local food supporters of all ages could come together to celebrate not only the guide, but also this exciting time of bounty and many of the key players that make up our thriving food community.”
A farmers market at the event will feature farmers and artisan food producers who sell to Wall Street restaurants, including Sunburst Trout Farms, Rise Up Rooted Farm, Looking Glass Creamery, Farm & Sparrow, Imladris Farm, and Hickory Nut Gap Farm. Wall Street restaurants—all Appalachian Grown partners: Early Girl Eatery, The Market Place, MG Road, Cucina 24, and Laughing Seed Cafe—will whip up delicious local specials during their regular hours on April 27. Early Girl and Laughing Seed are open throughout the fest. The Market Place will open early for the event, offering a special local taco from 2 to 5 pm; they will serve their regular menu with local specials beginning at 5 pm. Cucina 24 and MG Road open at 5 pm; MG Road will also offer goodies outside of their restaurant throughout the event. A percentage of the day’s sales at these eateries will benefit ASAP.
The fest will also feature live music by Galen Kipar of Galen Kipar Project from 2:30 to 4:30 pm; a children’s area with a local food tasting, face painting, and story time once an hour from Malaprop’s, Spellbound, and Buncombe County Library; a countertop chopping block demonstration from local artist Steven Tengelsen; and the opportunity to enter raffles with prizes ranging from a free pass to ASAP’s Farm Tour to a free night’s stay at Hawk & Ivy B&B, and gift certificates to Asheville City Market and Livi’s Pantry to a gift box of salsa and hot sauce from Smoking J’s Fiery Foods.
Of course, the fest is also a chance to grab ASAP’s 2013 Local Food Guide hot off the press, as well as an opportunity to talk with the organization about their work and learn how to get involved. The twelfth edition of the Local Food Guide contains 800+ listings of farmers markets, CSAs, u-pick farms, restaurants, groceries, and more—the most to date—along with articles from area food and farming experts. Those unable to make it to the event can browse the 2013 guide online at appalachiangrown.org. Print copies are also distributed to 400+ locations around the region; find these locations at asapconnections.org.
ABOUT ASAP (APPALACHIAN SUSTAINABLE AGRICULTURE PROJECT)
ASAP’s mission is to help local farms thrive, link farmers to markets and supporters, and build healthy communities through connections to local food. To learn more about ASAP’s work, visit asapconnections.org, or call (828) 236-1282.