Watauga County Farmers' Market News

One of the things I miss now that I've returned from my virtual Valle Crucis vacation was spending time at the Watauga County Farmers' Market. The virtual meals I ate on this summer's trip were delightful if only because of the ingredients supplied at the Market (OK, in all honesty, every meal eaten with a view from the mountain is pretty dang good...Even hot dogs) . Yes folks my tongue is sticking so far into my cheek it's a good thing I'm typing and not speaking 'cause nobody could figure out what I was saying otherwise...The point I'm trying to make is, from my past visits it looks like ya'll have a great resource going here, you really should use it and get to know the folks raising the food you eat. Not every community has the option.

Third Week of August, 2007

One of the advantages of shopping at the Watauga County Farmers' Market is not only the number of varieties available, but that specific information is available about each variety directly from the grower. Tomatoes and peppers in particular have a wide range of tastes. You can select either sweet or hot banana peppers grown by Don and Roger Owens, or perhaps you would prefer their jalapeno or bell peppers. Roger and Don also offer grape tomatoes, Mountain Gold, Mr Stripey, and pink heirloom tomatoes, along with White Half-runner beans. Kenneth Oliver will have Early Girl, Better Boy and Mortgage Lifter tomatoes, green and purple bell peppers, and both red and white potatoes this weekend. Reba Green will not only have plenty of Pink Girl and Better Boy tomatoes for the market, but she should also have enough Silver Queen corn for everyone to get a taste of the homegrown goodness.

Richard Boylan will have lots of garlic in diverse types that are sure to include your favorites. Iva Lee Hayes will certainly have fresh kraut by the Saturday after this coming one, but in this warm weather it is possible it will be ready even sooner.

Landscape plants and shrubs are also available and blooming in variety, such as Alicia Breton's selection of Hydrangeas including Tardiva and Limelight. While you are comparing types you are invited to relax in one of Sheila Sherman's custom Adirondack chairs and see the matching accessories all in western red cedar.

The Woodlands Barbecue Restaurant will be on hand this Saturday offering up plates for your lunchtime enjoyment. Meals will be on sale starting at about 11:00, and they are expected to go quickly!

Watauga County Farmers' Market is open on Wednesday and Saturday mornings. We are at the Horn in the West, turn next to First Citizens Bank on Highway 105 Extension and go to the top of the hill. We will be there rain or shine!

Source: Watauga County Farmers' Market News

From just down the valley (virtually speaking) Tom Philpott has this to say at Grist about the new criticism being tossed at the local food proponents...

Attention farmers' market shoppers: Put that heirloom tomato down and rush to the nearest supermarket.
By seeking local food, you're wantonly spewing carbon into the atmosphere.
That's the message of a budding backlash against the eat-local movement. The Economist fired a shotgun-style opening salvo last December, peppering what it called the "ethical foods movement" with a broad-spectrum critique.
Among the claims: organic agriculture consumes more energy than conventional, and food bought from nearby sources often creates more greenhouse-gas emissions than food hauled in from long distances.

I really like his reasoning behind the criticism...
The sustainable-food movement's achievements have thus far been largely cultural. In other words, despite all the attention from celebrity chefs, best-selling authors, and, ahem, environmental webzine columnists, the vast bulk of food consumed in this country still travels gargantuan distances, consumes unspeakable amounts of fossil fuel in its production and distribution, and leans heavily on poisons and water-polluting artificial fertilizers.

Followed by...
And while the sustainable-food movement's power may be causing vapors within the pages of the Economist and the New York Times op-ed page, Wall Street hasn't gotten the memo. In the stock exchanges, shares in agribiz powerhouses Monsanto, Archer Daniels Midland, John Deere, Smithfield, and Tyson are all trading at or near all-time highs. That means that the "smart money" isn't quite as impressed by the rise of buy-local campaigns as commentators on either side of the food-miles debate are. For unsentimental investors, the profit prospects for industrialized agriculture, geared for long-haul distribution, are rosier than ever.

If you haven't discovered Tom's thought provoking pieces at Grist yet, click on over and read some of what this Valle Crucis farmer has to say. I think you'll be glad you did.

Source: If buying locally isn't the answer, then what is? | By Tom Philpott | Grist | Victual Reality | 16 Aug 2007

Land for Tomorrow: A coalition to guard North Carolina's natural and cultural resources

I ran into a link to this site over at Hillbilly Savants...Go check them out. Maybe they can keep the North Carolina Mountain Dream alive until I get there.

Land for Tomorrow is a statewide partnership of conservationists, farmers, business leaders, local governments, health professionals, and community groups urging the General Assembly to provide $1 billion over five years to protect the state's land, water, and special places before they are irreversibly lost.

Protecting North Carolina’s critical land will provide:

  • Clean drinking water
  • Clean air
  • Thriving farms and forests
  • Places to hunt, fish and watch wildlife
  • Places to exercise and enjoy the beauty of North Carolina
  • Less damage from flooding
  • Places of historic significance and ecological value
  • Preservation of North Carolina’s natural and cultural heritage
  • Strengthened communities
  • Jobs and a sustainable economy

Source: Land for Tomorrow: A coalition to guard North Carolina's natural and cultural resources

America's Roadside Bloomery

It's been a while since Fred First came up with this idea...contest? So I thought I'd throw out another mention just to see if I could push it about a bit...
It would be neat for contributors from all over the country to offer their images to an aggregate gallery called Unplanted Gardens: America's Roadside Bloomery, I thought. And here it is!

All images should include in their composition a road of some kind, just to place it, and then the wildflowers that grow there unplanted. Highway department wildflower beds don't count.

Each image should be 72 dpi, max size of 800 pixels on the largest side. Information should minimally include the location, if possible some ID on the flowers, and any other pertinent or interesting information. Please give your image files descriptive names, e.g., BlackEyesSusan.jpg. or Virginia_Backroads.jpg

Go check out the rest of the requirements and check out the submissions at America's Roadside Bloomery - powered by SmugMug. When you send in a shot, tell him Gary sent ya...

Here's the shot of mine he chose to highlight...

Todd, North Carolina

Todd, North Carolina is one of the few places I haven't managed to trek through in my western North Carolina mountain stomping grounds to be. I read about Todd before our first trip and it's been on the short list of places to visit ever since. But for some reason, we just haven't made the trip yet. A link on Fred's Fragments From Floyd about a chance conversation with the author Lee Smith at Hindman Settlement School led to her Op-Ed at the NY Times.

WHEN we bought our mountain cabin here two decades ago, Todd was almost a ghost town. Only the General Store (established 1914) had stayed open since Todd’s heyday back in the early 1900s.

But this summer evening, I find a traffic jam when I head into town (population only 50, but 900-plus in the area) to hear some old-time music at the store’s Friday jam, and check out the dance at the old Mercantile building.

Source: Fiddling for Dollars - New York Times

A while back, Marie Freeman did a series of photos in Todd on her BlueRidge blog. You can find them here...Todd, North Carolina. I see Marie caught the latest news from New York also...

If you hurry down to Todd today, they are having their "Storytelling" at 6pm every Tuesday. This week (today, Aug 7) it's Charlotte Ross; next week, Aug 14th has Orville Hicks on the schedule. You can check their calendar at the website Todd General Store.

On the second Saturday in October Todd hosts the New River Festival on the banks of the New River‚ which flows beside the town. Once a bustling railroad center‚ the town of Todd is now a quiet hamlet. This festival offers an old-fashioned gospel sing‚ a checkers playoff‚ a horseshoe toss‚ craft displays‚ storytelling‚ and bluegrass music all day.

Local Food - Mountain Style

Yesterday I began reading "Animal, Vegetable, Miracle" by Barbara Kingsolver. It is seldom that I am captured on the preface by the writing style of an author the way this book captured me...

We wanted to live in a place that could feed us: where rain falls, crops grow, and drinking water bubbles right up from the ground.

That is the way my thinking started when my North Carolina Mountain Dream first began to manifest itself. I had just returned from a Colorado trip and decided that I wanted mountains round me when I settled into "retirement". But the one thing my trip brought home was the relative dryness of the West. As my dream began to form, I realized the Blue Ridge Mountains I had visited for the first time a couple of years earlier were calling. Research on the internet led to the discovery of Valle Crucis and the surrounding area. Once found, it was the story of the place that kept me returning and exploring until initial dram was realized and I brought the family into the mountains to try and share my dream, my vision of a future.

In line with my reading of "Animal, Vegetable, Miracle", here's the Watauga County Farmers' Market announcement for this week. If you are actually living my dream, head on over and support your local farmer. It'll help you, too.

Watauga County Farmers' Market is open on Wednesday and Saturday mornings. We are at the Horn in the West, turn next to First Citizens Bank on Highway 105 Extension and go to the top of the hill. We will be there rain or shine!

All the good things of summer are becoming available. Farmers will have fresh sweet corn, ripe tomatoes, and there will plenty of fresh cut flowers to decorate the table. Bill Moretz will be harvesting the first of the cantaloupes from his garden, and there will be watermelons as well to help with the summer heat.

Joan Knox of sourdough bread fame is announcing her new bread mixes. She will have 6 varieties available. The mixes come with complete instructions. They are so easy any "sweetheart" can bake fresh bread. Joan will also have no sugar added fried apple pies for customers who have to watch their sugar intake.

The first ever Bamboo Valley Farm Festival will be held this Friday, August 3 at Hickory Lane Gardens. Activities will include live music and a barbecue. Proceeds will benefit the Blue Ridge Land Trust, the High Country Conservancy, and the National Committee for the New River. Call 964-5189 for more information.

The 2007 High Country Farm Tour & Garden Tour is also this weekend, and you can save on admission by buying your button in advance at the Watauga County Farmers' Market this Saturday. Volunteers are still needed, and volunteers will receive a free button to take the tour on the day they are not volunteering. For more information or to sign up as a volunteer, contact Peggy at 919-542-2402. Volunteer training will take place at this Saturday's market.

Source: Watauga County Farmers' Market Message

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