As the article says, “Western North Carolina is a haven for farmers.” It really is.
Growing up, my grandparents had a one-acre garden filled with everything imaginable. From strawberries and corn to turnips and peanuts, they had it all. As a young boy, I looked at them and the garden like they were crazy. On visits I would toil away picking strawberries or green beans. Whatever needed to be picked.
They loved working it and rarely went to the store.
Looking back, I never realized it was an oasis. Farming in their little garden brought them joy, and I think it’s something that reminded them of their parents and grandparents. Farming is special in North Carolina.
Today, a new generation is learning those techniques. And like a lot of things, everything old is new again.
If the sheer number of farmers markets and CSAs, the medley of produce, and restaurants touting locally sourced food are any indicator, suffice it to say that Western North Carolina’s farming community is thriving.
To experience a feast for the senses in Western North Carolina, one needs only to stroll through a farmers market. Heirloom tomatoes glow on checkered tablecloths, their burgundy and gold flesh reflecting the morning sun. People crowd around a local chef as he sautés fragrant samples of grass-fed beef, and a child dances to an old-time band while noshing on a chartreuse cucumber.
It’s a glorious summer day that feels effortless, as if the glossy eggplants and sweet corn simply appeared on the tables that morning. In reality, farmers have spent months or even years producing this food. They woke up at dawn to feed the animals, planted hundreds of seeds in the spring, and tended to vegetables for months to make this market possible.