Friday, November 14, 2014

Continue to support local food producers

Even though our first snow has fallen, local food is still available. Some producers with green houses or tunnels continue to grow throughout the winter. There are also products such as meat, bakery items, canned items, and craft beers that are not sensitive to the cold. Here are a few ways to procure local food throughout the winter:

The Watauga County farmers’ market is open on Saturdays from 9 until 1 through November. Seasonal produce includes apples, greens, cabbage, potatoes, garlic, carrots, turnips, and winter squash. A good variety of meat is available including beef, lamb, pork and chicken. You will also find eggs, breads, bagels, and pastries, jams, jellies, and molasses.

High Country CSA is a multi-farm endeavor, and they are rolling out a new online ordering platform soon that will enable consumers to order products throughout the winter.  Go to to sign up to receive updates.

Wild Pilgrim Farmstead, located in Caldwell County, delivers organically raised meats and fresh produce to Boone throughout the winter. Caldwell is typically 10 degrees warmer than Watauga in the winter, plus they grow in greenhouses, allowing for great variety. The delivery site is the visitor’s center on Blowing Rock road, Thursdays from 4:30 to 5:30. For more information, visit Wild Pilgrim Farmstead on Facebook or contact them at

North Fork Farm, located in Zionville, offers a variety of high quality, grass-fed meat, including vacuum packed frozen beef, pork and chicken. Check out their selection at They take orders by e mail,, or by phone 828-297-5755 / 828-773-0305. After placing your order, they will arrange a place to deliver. Also have a store on their farm, but call first before visiting.

Chestnut Grove Farms, located off of hwy 194 towards Todd, offers a variety of cuts of Angus beef that graze on a mixture of orchard, clover, and timothy grasses. Check out the selection at  Bare Essentials natural market carries their beef, or you may call them at 264-7764 to arrange a delivery.

Springhouse Farm, located in Vilas, has pasture-raised pork available. Pricing and contact information is on their website,

Bare Essentials Natural Market has supported the local food system for many years. Located at 273 Boone Heights Dr. in Boone, they offer a variety of produce, meat, eggs, honey, Bald Guy Brew coffee, and pasta.

Blowing Rock Produce and Provisions, located at 8100 Valley Boulevard, Blowing Rock on 321 Bypass beside Papa Joe's, houses over 40 local food vendors and 20 local beverage vendors. Included is Ashe County Cheese, Bald Guy Brew, Bella Rooster Jams, Boone Bar, Blue Ridge Apiaries, Fire from the Mountain salsa, Heritage Homestead goat cheese, Highland Brewing Beer Company, meat from North Fork Farm, Old Hickory Brewery beer, Sunburst trout, the Wild Salmon Company, plus produce from local farms.

Stick Boy Bread Company, located at 345 Hardin St is famous for high quality baked goods. They also carry a variety of locally produced products, including jams, eggs, pasta, and goat cheese.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Carve and taste fresh pumpkins

Just like leaf peeping, carving and tasting pumpkins is an expected fall treat in the High Country. Field pumpkins, which are bred for jack-o'-lanterns, tend to be too large and stringy for baking, and not as sweet as baking varieties. Pumpkins are members of the squash family.

Similar to pumpkin baking varieties, there are many types of winter squash that grow well here, including Acorn, Spaghetti, Butternut, Blue Hokkaido, Hubbard, Kobocha, and Delicata. Go ahead and stock up, since if stored in a cool place, they last for up to three months. 

Nutritionally, one cup of mashed pumpkin contains only 49 calories, but boasts 245% of your recommended daily value for vitamin A, converted from the brilliant orange beta-carotene. Vitamin A is essential for eye health and help the retina absorb and process light. This large amount of A also helps your body fight infections, viruses and infectious diseases. Plus, pumpkin is packed with nearly 20 percent of the recommended daily amount of daily vitamin C, which may help you recover from colds faster. People who eat a beta-carotene-rich diet may have a lower risk of some types of cancer, including prostate and lung cancer.

A five pound pumpkin or winter squash should yield around 4½ cups mashed. This may be used in all recipes calling for canned pumpkin.

Here is an easy way to transform an uncooked winter squash into the puree used in baking:
Pumpkin puree for recipes
Scrub with a vegetable brush under running water just before cutting. Cut in half and discard the stem section and stringy pulp.
In a baking dish, place the two halves face down. Add an inch of water to the dish.
Bake in a preheated 375 degree oven for about 1½ hours, or until tender.
Once it has cooled, scoop out the flesh and puree or mash it.

You can refrigerate your fresh pumpkin puree for up to three days, or store it in the freezer up to a year, enabling you to enjoy fall pumpkins for months to come.

This recipe is moist, not too sweet, and freezes well.
Winter squash bars
2 cups cooked and pureed winter squash or pumpkin
1 ½ cups sugar
¾ cup vegetable oil
4 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
½ teaspoon salt
Beat together in a mixing bowl.

1 cup flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
Stir together, then mix in with other ingredients. Pour into sprayed 11 x 17 inch jelly roll or similar pan. Bake in preheated 350 degree oven for 25 – 30 minutes.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Fall Watauga Operation Medicine Cabinet Success and Project Lazarus!

Another successful Watauga County Operation Medicine Cabinet this past Saturday! Thank you to our wonderful law enforcement for supporting this valuable community program, including; Watauga County Sheriff's Office, Foscoe Police Department and Volunteer Fire Dept, Blowing Rock Police Department & Boone Police Department! Thank you to all in the community who came out to support the event! Results: 37,722 pills, 5,826 sharps, 327oz of liquids collected and incinerated!

Sheriff L.D. Hagaman deposits the thousands of pills collected on Saturday in the incineration barrel.

If you forgot about Saturdays collection, no worries!  There are options!  

1.) Appalachian State University Operation Medicine Cabinet this Friday, October 31 from 11am to 2pm in the Solarium Lobby at the Plemmon's Student Union.  

2.)  Project Lazarus Mailboxes are now located in the lobbies of the Boone Police Department and the Watauga County Sheriff's Office and you can drop off your unused, expired meds any time! 
The new Project Lazarus mailboxes located in the Boone Police Department and Watauga County Sheriff's Office Lobbies. 

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Watauga County Environmental Technology Tour

High Country Environmental Technology Tour:  Come see environmental technology being put to use in Watauga County.

When:  Nov. 13th from 1:00-4:00p.m.

Stops on the tour:
Boone Wetlands:  Wendy Patoprsty, Natural Resource Agent Watauga Extension Service will give background on how the wetlands were constructed, how the wetlands function to protect our water, she’ll show us wetland plants and how she propagates them.  She will also discuss other ongoing water mitigation projects in the Watauga County area.
ASU Recycling Facilities:  Grant Powers, Recycling Coordinator for ASU Physical Plant, will show us what goes on behind the scene in the ASU recycling department.  Using information gathered in the 2013 Waste Audit, they have developed new methods to handle large volumes of recyclable materials to implement new and innovative ways to reduce landfill waste and work towards the goal of zero landfill waste on campus and at football games.
ASU Composting Operations:  Eric Dendy will show us how ASU is increasing the amount of compostable materials that are recovered from the waste stream.  They are also working with vendors to reduce the use of materials such as styrofoam and increase the amount of compostable materials.  We will see how they handle large volumes of material through the composting process to produce a product that is usable here on the ASU campus.
ASU Appropriate Technology Greenhouse:  This greenhouse is located at the top end of the Watauga County landfill.  Graduate Students will show us how they are studying the use of solar thermal panels, anaerobic digesters and compost heating systems.  Wind power along with waste heat from the biovolitization is a possible means that local growers could feasibly heat a greenhouse for winter food and ornamental production in the high country.  

Where: Meet on the Boone Greenway Pavilions at the Clawson-Burnley Park off Hunting Hills Lane, Boone.  Click here for directions to the park (scroll down and you will see a map on the Explore Boone website)
Please call The Watuaga Extension Office at 828-264-3061 by Nov. 12th to let us know you if plan on attending, transportation will be provided or you may caravan to the sites.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

59th Annual Watauga Farm City Banquet

The 59th Annual Watauga County Farm City Banquet will be held Thursday, November 6th, 2014 at 6:00 p.m. at the Boone United Methodist Church.
The theme for the 59th Farm City Banquet is “Barns: Outstanding in their Field” .
Following a local food supper, we will recognize individuals for their contributions and support of our local agricultural economy. We will also have door prizes that will be given out at the end of the celebration.
Each year the public are asked to nominate outstanding people that YOU know have made a positive impact on youth, agriculture, and our community. A list of awards and application forms can be downloaded here or picked up from the Extension office at 971 West King Street in Boone. Completed applications can be mailed or dropped off to the Extension Center or e-mailed to by Friday, October 17, 2014.
Please bring a canned food item to donate to area food banks.
We look forward to you being a part of this wonderful collaboration as we celebrate the bonds that unite our urban and rural communities.
Tickets are available at the Cooperative Extension Office, 971 W. King Street, Boone, N.C., Adult $10, Children 6-12 $5 and Children five and under are free.
If you have questions, please contact us at 828-264-3061.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Watauga County Operation Medicine Cabinet

Fall 2014 Drug Take-back Days

Help us keep pharmaceutical and control-substance drugs off the streets and out of the rivers! No questions will be asked, and any prescription and over-the-counter medications and medical supplies can be turned in anonymously. For more information, please call the Watauga County Cooperative Extension 828-264-3061.
Saving our kids and rivers from drugs



Saturday, October 25th

10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

  • Food Lion, Boone (Blowing Rock Rd)
  • Food Lion, Deep Gap (HWY 421)
  • Food Lion, Blowing Rock
  • Foscoe Fire Department