Last weekend, we toured the Asheville area, where they source a tremendous amount of local farm products at almost every restaurant, as well as create beautiful artisan food products. This is a locavore’s paradise. On Friday, we tabled at two small markets: Warren Wilson College’s campus farmer’s market (with a quick visit to the on-campus “piggery.” Squeal!) and the East Asheville Tailgate Market (still steady with loyal customers despite a big storm).
The next day, we spent a cool, brisk morning at the North Asheville Tailgate Market, located on UNC-Asheville’s campus. We weren’t at all surprised to find creativity at work at almost every stand — tastings of Luscious pear (that’s the fruit’s name), a fresh tempeh fry courtesy of Smiling Hara, the whirl of Mountain Harvest Organics’ pepper roaster (and a bag of perfectly-charred peppers to take home), healthily-stuffed empanadas from Ceci’s Culinary Tour, a bounty of baked goods from Farm and Sparrow, Carolina Bison cut as you wish and so much more. (Check out our Facebook album.)
Our surprise in all this local fare came all the way from the other side of the world. Elaine Bradley, a farmer in Australia, approached our booth to say hello. Elaine is a small-scale organic vegetable producer in Queensland who came to tour the Southeast to research projects focused on sustainable agriculture. While in Asheville, she noticed an advertisement for our 27th Annual Sustainable Agriculture Conference and immediately signed up. Elaine says she hopes to start a CFSA-style organization back home to push forward the small farmers and producers within a current system that shows little to no support. She has been inspired by us, and we have been inspired and impressed by her! What a wonderful chance meeting. See y’all at the conference, and be sure to meet Elaine!