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

Missing the Mountains

Last year at this time we were on Nettles Knob south of Valle Crucis making our preparations for the Summer Games on Grandfather Mountain. The one thing that we missed because of the games was the Watauga County Farmers Market. It looks like we’ll be missing it again this years simply because we’ll be missing the mountains themselves this summer.

I do subscribe to Watauga County Farmers’ Market Message so at least I can keep up with what is happening in the mountains I dream of. This weeks message contains this news…

The Boone area has long been known for it’s unpredictable weather, and so far 2007 has done it’s part to keep the tradition. Our farmers have once again proven themselves to be up to the challenge, and a wider variety of fresh food shows up every week. One thing you can count on, the market will be open Wednesday and Saturday mornings – Rain or Shine!

We will be celebrating Independance Day at the market this Saturday, helped along with the music of a certain local jug band. You won’t want to miss it!

Bill Moretz is planning to harvest the first of his eggplants this week. He expects to offer two varieties to start: Charming with purple stripes and Megal which is a dark purple French variety. Bill will also have fresh raspberries and blueberries at the market. Roger and Don Owens will have more of their homegrown Mountain Spring tomatoes to offer along with plenty of cucumbers and other garden offerings. James Wilkes expects to have fresh cut sunflowers ready for Saturday. James will begin to harvest his yellow squash and maybe some zucchini.

Local cooks are using the bounty in their recipes as well, and Rebecca Kaenzig will be preparing individual blueberry and pecan pies for you to enjoy along with her fresh brewed coffee.

Daylilies are popular with collectors, and many vendors at Watauga County Farmers’ Market have a collection of their own. The coming weeks will bring flowers of different shapes and sizes in reds, purples, yellows in every combination. These hardy plants thrive in our climate in every situation but full shade. If shade is what you have, stop by and talk to Erik Selvey about holly ferns, Japanese painted ferns, and many other plants suitable for less sunny spots. Erik will also have blooming butterfly bushes and blue pincushion plants this Saturday.

The interior of your house can reflect the colors of the season as well, and Megan Long can help with hand crafted soy based scented candles decorated with geometric shapes or North Carolina landscapes from the mountains to the beach.

Buttons for the Carolina Farm Stewardship Association 2007 High Country Farm & Garden Tour will be sold at Watauga County Farmers’ Market up until August 4th, the first day of the tour. This year’s tour features 3 new farms, and 6 of the farms are vendors at the market! The online map of farms is still being updated, but you can test it at http://cfsa.highcountryorganicfarms.org/node/4. Buttons are also available for sale online at http://www.carolinafarmstewards.org/.

You can visit their website at Watauga County Farmers’ Market for directions and updated info.

Missing the Mountains

Last year at this time we were on Nettles Knob south of Valle Crucis making our preparations for the Summer Games on Grandfather Mountain. The one thing that we missed because of the games was the Watauga County Farmers Market. It looks like we’ll be missing it again this years simply because we’ll be missing the mountains themselves this summer.

I do subscribe to Watauga County Farmers’ Market Message so at least I can keep up with what is happening in the mountains I dream of. This weeks message contains this news…

The Boone area has long been known for it’s unpredictable weather, and so far 2007 has done it’s part to keep the tradition. Our farmers have once again proven themselves to be up to the challenge, and a wider variety of fresh food shows up every week. One thing you can count on, the market will be open Wednesday and Saturday mornings – Rain or Shine!

We will be celebrating Independance Day at the market this Saturday, helped along with the music of a certain local jug band. You won’t want to miss it!

Bill Moretz is planning to harvest the first of his eggplants this week. He expects to offer two varieties to start: Charming with purple stripes and Megal which is a dark purple French variety. Bill will also have fresh raspberries and blueberries at the market. Roger and Don Owens will have more of their homegrown Mountain Spring tomatoes to offer along with plenty of cucumbers and other garden offerings. James Wilkes expects to have fresh cut sunflowers ready for Saturday. James will begin to harvest his yellow squash and maybe some zucchini.

Local cooks are using the bounty in their recipes as well, and Rebecca Kaenzig will be preparing individual blueberry and pecan pies for you to enjoy along with her fresh brewed coffee.

Daylilies are popular with collectors, and many vendors at Watauga County Farmers’ Market have a collection of their own. The coming weeks will bring flowers of different shapes and sizes in reds, purples, yellows in every combination. These hardy plants thrive in our climate in every situation but full shade. If shade is what you have, stop by and talk to Erik Selvey about holly ferns, Japanese painted ferns, and many other plants suitable for less sunny spots. Erik will also have blooming butterfly bushes and blue pincushion plants this Saturday.

The interior of your house can reflect the colors of the season as well, and Megan Long can help with hand crafted soy based scented candles decorated with geometric shapes or North Carolina landscapes from the mountains to the beach.

Buttons for the Carolina Farm Stewardship Association 2007 High Country Farm & Garden Tour will be sold at Watauga County Farmers’ Market up until August 4th, the first day of the tour. This year’s tour features 3 new farms, and 6 of the farms are vendors at the market! The online map of farms is still being updated, but you can test it at http://cfsa.highcountryorganicfarms.org/node/4. Buttons are also available for sale online at http://www.carolinafarmstewards.org/.

You can visit their website at Watauga County Farmers’ Market for directions and updated info.

Back Early

My hiatus was shorter than promised. Now I am back, on light duty for the weekend with a sore throat and permission to eat ice cream…What more could a overweight middle aged man ask for? Before anyone asks, I have been having a persistent hoarseness over the last few months and the wife finally convinced me to have it checked out. The ENT specialist found some very tiny lesions on my vocal cords. Today he did a slice and dice for a biopsy and we will get the results next week. Due to my weight and sleep apnia there was a very good chance that I would be spending the night. Turns out it wasn’t required, so I am home and under doctor’s order to take it easy, rest my throat, and enjoy some Blue Bell Homemade Vanilla.

While I am sitting here catching up on my reading I came across the following op-ed that reminded me of a story on the Pacifica Station here in Houston that I heard yesterday as I drove to my pre-op appointments.

Sometimes thinking small can get things done. To bring artificial light to an isolated village or refugee camp could require building an enormous hydroelectric dam, followed by laying hundreds of miles of cable. Or it could take the donation of a $10 solar flashlight.

As Will Connors and Ralph Blumenthal reported in The Times recently, the entrepreneur Mark Bent, through his company SunNight Solar, has developed and manufactured a solar-powered flashlight that gives up to seven hours of light, before recharging, and can last close to three years between battery replacements. The flashlight retails for around $20 in American stores, but corporate donors have gotten them for aid groups at half the price, a deep discount but still a profit for Mr. Bent.

Source: Lighting the Way – New York Times

Pacifica had Mark Bent on their program as his company is located here in Houston. His BOGO Light is amazing, and the distribution method is a work of art. BOGO stands for Buy One Give One, and for every light bought for $25 one light is delivered to Africa and distributed. Lights are also sold at discount to organizations for distribution around the world. And the amazing thing about these lights is they are ecofriendly.

It seems that the NY Times did an article on the lights earlier in the week that has generated an enormous amount of curiosity (and emails to Mark). From the Bogo Light website the following info was gleaned…

The BoGo Light is a scientific, eco-friendly breakthrough that is making an impact worldwide. From Cairo to Cape Town, from the Caribbean to the Amazon, it is improving the lives of individuals, families, and entire villages by replacing costly kerosene, candles, and disposable battery flashlights with an affordable, long lasting, solar flashlight.

Two billion people living in the developing world rely on kerosene lanterns, candles, and single-use battery flashlights for light at night. Not only are these options expensive, dangerous, and harmful to the environment, they also negatively impact health, education, and security.

From the radio yesterday and the company’s website it sound as if they are about to bust out. Mark Bent is a former US Diplomat having spent many years in Africa. They are partnered with the World Bank, and the UNHCR.

The Future – The task light is just the first step in our effort to change the world. Here are some of our exciting plans for the future.

  • We have nearly finished development of a room illumination system based on the same components as our task lights – a photovoltaic panel, double AA rechargeable batteries, and light emitting diodes.
  • Much of the developing world lacks access to clean water, so we will begin developing a solar powered water purification system.
  • Too many newborns in the developing world die from conditions easily preventable with proper lighting. We will shortly start researching and developing a solar powered light that can help newborns suffering from jaundice.
  • We want to help build a self-sustaining Africa: Africans helping Africans. To this end, our parent firm (SunNight Solar Enterprises) will partner with African small businesses and entrepreneurs to sell our products abroad.
  • We will continue to expand our present philanthropic efforts, supporting individual orphanages and schools in Africa, South America, and the Caribbean.

Looks like I am going to be investing in some solar lighting for my home…Why don’t you look into it yourself?

Later Folks…