Asheville is a progressive stronghold and as such a big player in the "slow food movement", sustainable agriculture & foodtopian events of all kinds.
Just this year 38 WNC Farms and Gardens were part of the 2009 Family Farm Tour http://www.familyfarmtour.org/. The farms are located in Buncombe and five other counties in Western North Carolina. This area is perfect for agriculture of all kinds. We have century old family farms, urban farms, organic farms, bison, llama too. Herb and flower gardens as well were part of this tour. Many folks understand our food comes from farms but have never been offered the opportunity to see them up close observing the basics of the operation or seeing the product a particular farm is providing. That was not the only opportunity though....the participants of the tour were able to purchase fruits, vegetables, cheese, meats, eggs, herbs, honey and more. It was awesome, educational and provided an opportunity for full exposure to offer a much more thorough understanding of the lives farmers have, their schedules, food from it's origin to source of sale & the family table.
Baby llamas, lambs and bunnies of all genus were on display too not to mention a real live display of how their yarns and fibers can be used to create items of unparalleled and unique textile beauty.
We purchased some of these items for re-sale at our inn http://www.cumberlandfalls.com/ not only as wonderful & experiental offerings for our guests but as a means of bringing guest consciousness to the process. Their purchases of the angora socks and the eating of locally made goat cheese became fodder for some discussions that I know we would never have had otherwise. Discussion about family, farming traditions, food we eat, growing cycles. The influences of climate and rainfall on that process, chemicals, trade irregularities which disable our own farmers from using pesticides with known problems while at the same time allowing imported produce exposed to those same chemicals. Worthwhile discussions I am sure in a world paralyzed with Kate plus 8. How refreshing!
I leave you with an opportunity to learn more just in case Jon and Kate become too much for you! http://www.buyappalachian.org/
Patti and Gary Wiles
Innkeepers At Cumberland Falls