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Program Post: Go West! An ASAP Road Trip

Appalachian Grown Region

Each Thursday, ASAP’s programs take you behind the scenes of their work. This week, our Local Food Campaign talks about their recent trip out west—the far west of WNC, that is—to spread the ASAP gospel!

From ASAP’s Local Food Campaign

We’re not always at the office. In fact, we often get to travel far and wide to connect with farmers, businesses, and consumers in our region! Last week, two Local Food Campaign program coordinators took a road trip to the far western region of NC, including Jackson, Macon, Clay, Cherokee, and Swain counties. It was a fun opportunity to visit with friends as well as share information about our variety of services.

A large focus of the Local Food Campaign is providing support for farmers with making marketing connections as well as becoming Appalachian Grown (AG) certified. We met with the Miller brothers at their Certified Organic (and recently AG certified) farm, Miller Farms, in Marble, NC. Miller Farms focuses on wholesale markets, so we discussed the value of listing their farm in and using our Local Food Guide as well as our Wholesale Local Food Guide (previously the Mixing Bowl). The Wholesale Local Food Guide is a buyer’s guide to the products that local farms offer to businesses and a farmer’s guide to products wholesale buyers are seeking. Our Appalachian Grown program also offers promotional materials for farmers to help market their local products. Our newest opportunity is competitively-priced AG wax boxes, a great resource for farms that have CSAs and/or sell to wholesale markets. (If you’re interested in more information about wax boxes, please email appgrown@nullasapconnections.org).

Jess and Robin

Program coordinators Jess and Robin ham it up at the new Evening Harvest Market on the Square in beautiful downtown Hayesville!

Our team also works with the region’s tailgate markets to provide marketing support, AG certification, and various resources—from how to start a market to how to implement a SNAP/EBT program at market. On our trip, we had the opportunity to table and meet farmers and customers at opening day of the new Evening Harvest Farmers Market in Hayesville. While in Murphy, we met with the manager of the Cedar Valley Farmers Market and discussed some of their exciting new projects, including a monthly Farm to Table dinner.

We partner with restaurants, grocers, wholesalers, and other businesses in our region, too, that sell local farm products. While on our trip, we stopped by just a few of these businesses: the Corner Butcher in Hayesville, Doyle’s Cedar Hill Restaurant in Murphy, and City Lights Café in Sylva. Businesses can become Appalachian Grown partners, which connects them to local farmers and consumers via our Local Food Guide and Wholesale Local Food Guide as well as with our AG partner promotional materials.

Phew! We packed a lot into our day-and-a-half trip! We love seeing the amazing work happening around local food in Southern Appalachia.

TELL US: Where should we road trip next?!

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