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New Series: Local Farms, Local Fuel!

We’re excited to introduce the first in a series of guest posts from Marielle Angell, a PR intern at Blue Ridge Biofuels, or BRB (she’s also a farm intern at J-Bee Farm, the focus of this piece!). This series will share the stories of farmers using biofuels on their farms—to run their equipment and/or as a heat source—as well as details about BRB’s brand new Field to Fryer to Fuel project, F3, through which area farmers will grow edible oil to be used by area restaurants and eventually become biodiesel! WOW! Keep reading to learn more, and stay tuned for future posts…

From the Tank Farm to J-Bee Farm
And introducing F3!
by Marielle Angell

WNCW radio show host Laura Blackley and her wife, Cindy Jordan, have called J-Bee Farm in Candler home for the past six years. Their Appalachian Grown certified farm, formerly known as Jordan Blackley Farm, is a sustainable array of chickens, bees, and berries.

Since day one, heat on their farm has come from Bioheat delivered by Blue Ridge Biofuels. That’s because the farm is designed around the vision of sustainability—from every weed pulled out of a row and composted, to free range chickens, to all beekeeping methodology, and right down to heating their house with biofuels.

The duo logs long hours on the farm because, as Laura puts it, “The sustainability cycle is an investment that requires a lot of work.” J-Bee doesn’t even own a tractor! But sustainability doesn’t just mean free of pesticides and reducing one’s carbon footprint. It also means prolonging the life of your furnace, which Bioheat and biofuels can do: they have better lubricating properties than petroleum diesel, which helps furnaces run better and last longer.

Blue Ridge Biofuels (BRB) is also taking great strides in the vision for a more sustainable community with its own Field to Fryer to Fuel project. The goal is to further grow the clean energy industry in Western North Carolina.

Through a $130,000 grant awarded by the Biofuels Center of North Carolina to Advantage West, BRB and its partners will be producing edible oil from regionally grown canola on an initial 50 acres of Biltmore’s property. The oil will be sold to Biltmore restaurants and to others in the Asheville area. After the restaurants use the oil in their deep fryers, Blue Ridge Biofuels will collect the used oil to be processed into biodiesel at the River Arts District facility. It will then be sold to area customers across the Southeast.

BRB estimates that over 5,000 gallons of biodiesel will be produced in a value-added, truly sustainable way. Blue Ridge Food Ventures, Appalachian State University/Catawba County, the NC Mountain Horticultural Crops Research and Extension Center, local farmers, and local food vendors are all lending a hand in this venture to create a local edible oil economy in Western North Carolina. The project will help achieve the vision of the North Carolina Strategic Plan for Biofuels Leadership’s goal of replacing 10 percent of the petroleum imported into North Carolina with biofuels locally grown and produced.

Local farms are important to Blue Ridge Biofuels, not just as fuel customers and potential oil crop growers, but because they value the need for a partnership of many disciplines in meeting the goals of their sustainability vision for Western North Carolina. Stay tuned for more farmer stories and updates on the F3 project!

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