5th Annual Grape Growers Conference

On Thursday, February 26, 2015, the Sustainable Appalachian Viticulture Institute, Jewel of the Blue Ridge Vineyard, and the French Broad Vignerons, will host the 5th Annual Grape Growers Conference in the Madison County Cooperative Extension auditorium in Marshall NC. Conference time will be from 9 AM – 4 PM.

The Conference will work to bring a new focus to growers and producers in the Western North Carolina region. The conference will not only address issues of substance for producers and growers it hopes to lay the basis for regular interaction on the part of vineyard managers, winemakers, and product producers.

In the morning program, Pete Fland, President of the French Broad Vignerons, will give a presentation about the trade association for all grape growers and winemakers in the region.

Chuck Blethen, owner of Jewel of the Blue Ridge Vineyard, will share a list of available resources for making many value added products from grapes.

Josh Fowler, Winemaker from Lake James Cellars, will talk about how to blend grapes with other fruits to make great wines.

Alan Staton, owner of  Cabin Creek Vineyard, will offer tips on growing cold-hardy grapes in the mountains.

Samantha Biggers, owner of Morning Star Vineyards, will discuss new grape varietals suitable for growing in the mountains.

The afternoon program will consist of a Roundtable discussions. One will feature commercial vineyard managers from this reason. One will feature commercial winemakers from wineries in this area. The roundtable discussions will allow conference participants to ask questions about commercial grape growing and winemaking in our region.

The conference Early Bird registration fee is $45 paid in advance before midnight February 12. The regular registration fee of $50 will be for those who register between February 13 and noon on February 24. This registration also Includes lunch, coffee break refreshments, handouts, and free parking. Online registration is now available at www.GrapeSAVI.org until noon on Tuesday, February 24. The Walk-in Registration for those registering after noon on February 24 will be $55 and there is no guarantee that lunch will be available. People who register in advance will receive a copy of the agenda and directions to the conference location.

For additional information about the upcoming conference please contact Chuck Blethen, Executive Director, Sustainable Appalachian Viticulture Institute, 828-606-3130 or email Blethen@GrapeSAVI.org


Chuck Blethen  – Executive Director

Sustainable Appalachian Viticulture Institute

PO Box 4

Marshall NC 28753 USA


e-Mail: Blethen@GrapeSAVI.org




2015 Organic Growers School Spring Conference coming up!


Check it out by going to www.organicgrowersschool.org then click on Spring Conference.

The Grain Divide

The Grain Divide

Carolina Ground is honored to be featured– alongside our friends at Farm and Sparrow Breads, Smoke Signals Bakery, Dr Stephen Jones’s Bread Lab, Monica Spiller, Chad Robertson, Glenn Roberts, and a handful of other inspiring folks– in the upcoming film, The Grain Divide. Follow this link for the trailer.

The Sustainable Agriculture Conference

Greenville, SC – The Carolina Farm Stewardship Association’s 29th Annual Sustainable Agriculture Conference, happening in Greenville, SC at the Hyatt Regency Hotel Nov. 10-12, 2014, will feature over 50 food and farm workshops, farm tours by bus, hands-on intensives, and locally sourced, organic meals.  The Sustainable Agriculture Conference is one of the oldest and largest conferences of its kind in the U.S.  The 2012 Conference, also held in Greenville, brought together more than 800 farmers, gardeners, foodies, and agriculture professionals to learn about the latest in sustainable farming methods, urban farming, food policy activism, and how to build local food systems.


“The local and sustainable food scene across the Carolinas is positively electric and the momentum continues to grow.  The Sustainable Agriculture Conference is at the heart of the local food and farming movement,” says Roland McReynolds, CFSA’s Executive Director.  He adds, “In the earliest days the conference was designed to address nuts and bolts for pioneering organic farmers.  As the conference has evolved, it has begun to incorporate more stakeholders in the local food movement.  So now we have a policy track, a food and culture track, and others that reflect how the food movement has grown alongside the conference.”


This year’s conference boasts exciting tracks devoted to growing organic produce, pastured livestock, soils, beginning farmers, food and culture, urban farming, policy, and a ‘You Make It’ hands-on track.  The Conference features renowned speakers, such as such as Greg Judy, leader in the mob-grazing movement; Jim Adkins, nationally recognized poultry expert and founder of the Sustainable Poultry Network; Southern culinary historian, David ShieldsRichard Wiswall, author of The Organic Farmer’s Business Handbook- A Complete Guide to Managing Finances, Crops, and Staff- and Making a Profit, and Hugh Lovel, biodynamics expert.


For a complete list of conference offerings or to register for the conference, pre-conference intensives or tours, or the Local Foods Feast, all of which are open to the public, please visit: www.carolinafarmstewards.org/sac.  Advanced registration closes on Oct. 30, but participants can register on-site.

An Exotic Fall Fusion Market Feast!

Featuring flavors of the Caribbean & Mediterranean


Tuesday, November 18th at 7pm

Located at The Hub, 278 Haywood Road

Tickets ~ $35


Featuring chefs: Amy Fariss of Nine Mile & Suzy Phillips of Gypsy Queen Cuisine. 

Live music and locally crafted microbrews + cocktails included. 




The West Asheville Tailgate market presents: An Exotic Fall Fusion market feast! Together, the chefs will spice up the night with flavors of the Caribbean & Mediterranean, using fresh – farm to table – local food.

The Market Feast – a family style meal primarily sourced from vendors at the market – will take place Tuesday, November 18th at 7pm. We will dine at The Hub, 278 Haywood Road, an eclectic West Asheville event space. There will be live music and locally crafted microbrews, cocktails (Sovereign Remedy) + tea.

All proceeds will go towards the growth of the tailgate market. Thanks for your support!


Tickets can be purchased at The West Asheville Tailgate Market: Tuesdays 3:30 – 6:30 (2:30 – 5:30 after November 4th), VILLAGERS located at 278 Haywood Road, and on-line at: westashevilletailgatemarket.brownpapertickets.com and westashevilletailgatemarket.com


Visit the FaceBook Event: www.facebook.com/events/157754157728401

Don’t wait. The WNC Barn Photo Workshop” date is fast approaching

Barn Photo Workshop – November 14 – 16

Renowned photographer Don McGowan will conduct one of his popular photo workshops exclusively to benefit the Barn Alliance in November. Don’s professional workshops (http://earthsongphotography.com) are highly regarded by professional and experienced amateur photographers.

The workshop will take place on the weekend of November 14 – 16. It will begin on Friday evening with a short introductory session and an opening instructional program. On Saturday, the group will leave at 8 am to photograph barns throughout Madison County beginning in the Beech Glen community. Taylor Barnhill, the Barn Alliance’s resident history buff, will accompany the group to the pre-selected barns and will give a history of each of the barns. Don McGowan will offer the photographers individual coaching and professional tips about how to get the best shot in outdoor surroundings.  On Sunday afternoon, the weekend will conclude with another instructional program and a critique of participants’ images.

All proceeds will go to the Appalachian Barn Alliance. Thanks to Don’s generosity the Alliance is able to offer the entire weekend workshop for a special fee of $150. And for members of the Alliance who have paid their dues for 2014 or joined for 2015 already, the fee will be reduced to $125. In order to promote interest in photographing the barns of Madison County, the Alliance will offer a limited number of scholarships.

To assure each participant can receive ample personal instruction, Don limits his workshops to 10 participants. So, it’s important to register soon.  For registration and scholarship information, call Sandy Stevenson at 828-380-9146.

Take care,
Rob Kraft
Appalachian Barn Alliance

Asheville Wine & Food Festival

August 21-23, 2014
Learn About Tickets Here

All Logs 2014

Celebrate all that Asheville Offers the Table

The Asheville Wine & Food Festival celebrates all that’s worth savoring. This year’s festival, August 21-23, 2014 offers several signature events. The Asheville Scene Chefs Challenge (Starting July 1, and happening every Tuesday evening through August 12th, 2014), takes on some exciting new twists and comes to a heated close during the festival. ELIXIR on Thursday evening (in an secret location – prohibition style!) brings an elaborate cocktail party and mixology competition on for the second year. SWEET offers a decadent evening of desserts on Friday, again at the Historic Grove Arcade. And the Grand Tasting on Saturday is a smorgasbord of food, wine, beer, and spirits, plus culinary demonstrations, and a chance to meet authors, farmers, chefs, winemakers, brewers, and much, much more. Come sample the best food scene in the USA!

Given the surge of independent farm-to-table restaurants, underground dinners, award-winning chefs, booming brewery scene, burgeoning craft distilleries and wineries, and the mélange of farmers and artisan food producers, Asheville and Western North Carolina’s food scene has exploded. And it hasn’t gone unnoticed. TripAdvisor placed Asheville right up there with New York City, San Francisco, and New Orleans when it bestowed the city with a Traveler’s Choice Food & Wine Destination Award in 2011; The Huffington Post named Asheville one of the Top 10 Undiscovered Local Food Cities in 2009; and this year, Southern Living listed Asheville among the Tastiest Towns in the South.  Learn About Tickets Here


How to Sustainably Harvest Ramps

From Slow Food Asheville: Heritage/Appalachian Food StoryBank

Video from the Slow Food Asheville Foothills Event

A wonderful event, supporting the great community, farms and Slow Food Movement of the Polk County area


Erik Olsen
505 S Randolph Ave.
Landrum, SC 29356
P/T: 864-990-1217


English Breakfasts at Hi-Wire’s tasting room have been a huge success – with the largest turnout being for a 7:45am game! It truly is worth getting up early for an awesome breakfast, great soccer action and, of course, Hi-Wire beers. [Read more…]