Friday, April 18, 2014

Greening My Plate Week April 27th – May 4th

It’s time to celebrate spring and our growing season during Greening My Plate week, leading up to the opening day of the Watauga County Farmers’ market on May 3rd. Over a dozen community events will take place from April 27th – May 4th, including a farm tour with greens being harvested by high school students, a greens culinary contest and tasting at the high school, film viewings, educational workshops, children’s book readings and activities, and even county and town proclamations for Greening My Plate Week.  Events have been organized by a coalition of non-profits and individuals, the Greening My Plate Gang. This coalition is dedicated to improving the economic and personal health of our community by encouraging the consumption of fresh, locally produced food.

Wednesday, April 23, 2 pm
Medicinal Herb Speaker: David Cozzo
ASU Living Learning Center
Free and open to the public

Saturday, April 26, 8 am
New Life Farm Workday

Sunday, April 27, 3 – 5 pm
Seasonal Cocktail Workshop
Cobo Sushi Bistro and Bar
$30 donation

Tuesday, April 29, 11:30 am
Seed Planting and Meet Mr. and Mrs. Spring
Watauga County Library

Tuesday, April 29, 7 pm
ASU Sustainability Film Series:
A Place at the Table
IG Greer Auditorium
Free and open to the public

Wednesday, April 30, 12 – 3 pm
Dig Into Local Fair
ASU Sanford Mall

Wednesday, April 30, 7 pm
Film showing: Eating Alabama
FARM Café, King Street
Free and open to the public

Thursday, May 1, 11:30 am
Vermiculture for Kids, Meet Wiggle the Worm
Watauga County Library

Thursday, May 1, 5:30 pm
Learning Garden Teacher Training
ASU Child Development Center

Saturday, May 3, 9 – 12 pm
Kids’ Corner at Watauga County Farmers’ Market

Saturday, May 3, 1 – 3 pm
Mozzarella Cheese Making Workshop
Agricultural Conference Center
$15 donation

Sunday, May 4, 6 pm
S.E.A.M. Participatory Dinner
Basil’s Fresh Pasta and Deli
$30 per plate donation

For more information, check out

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Childhood Leisure a Thing of the Past?

It’s time for spring break!  What will your kids be doing with their time away from school?  Whether your children will be traveling or staying at home, the simple opportunity for free play can be a gift. 

Are youth losing time for free play?  It seems that young people are more likely to be in structured, supervised activities.  According to Melman, over the past 20 years, youth have faced a 25% decrease in playtime and 50% decrease in outdoor activities.  Less free time and leisure activities and overscheduling may lead to increased anxiety and stress.  That does not mean we want to entirely give up structured activities, but discern how much is too much and work to create balance.  

While we may be pushing for academic achievement and other structured activities, a play break could help out in our endeavors more than we realize.  Play is cited as an integral part of child development, helping increase cognitive and academic success, building social skills and self-esteem,  fostering emotional strength, helping youth explore the natural world and more.   If we take a play break, we actually boost our learning.  So, while a week’s break is great, how can we add breaks and free time into our regular schedules?

May you allow space for free time and play during spring break and beyond.

For more thoughts on the benefits of play, see here:

Monday, April 7, 2014

4-H Fruit Plant Sale

It is not too late to get fruit plants with the 4-H fruit plant sale.  Plants will be on-hand Friday, April 11 from 12:00-6:00 and Saturday, April 12 from 9:30-12:30 at the Agricultural Conference Center on 252 Poplar Grove Road.   Blackberry, blueberry, raspberry and strawberry plants are available, as well as heritage apple trees.   You can still reserve your berries before Friday, or drop in Friday afternoon or Saturday morning to see what is still available.  For more information about the varieties, see here:

or download information here

Friday, March 21, 2014

Join a CSA for ultra-fresh, locally grown food

 Looking forward to spring and the growing season, I just joined a Community Supported Agriculture program, or CSA for the first time. Most of the time, joining requires making a deposit now and full payment before receiving any product. But in general, farmers are probably the hardest working, most honest people I’ve ever come across. Paying at the beginning of growing season enables them to purchase seed and start production without having to take out a loan. Then for 20 weeks, I’ll get a share of just harvested, seasonal produce, and the challenge of cooking and consuming all of it. I look forward to that challenge, but most growers help out by providing recipes along with the abundance.
Shopping at a farmers’ market is often a social time and a great way to get to know who grows your food. Some CSA programs deliver at the market, but also offer another delivery option. If you find shopping on Saturday morning inconvenient, joining a CSA may be a better way to get your nutrition through ultra-fresh, locally grown food.
Creeksong Farm
Lasts for 20 weeks, beginning in early June. Tuesday pickups will begin June 3rd, 2014 and end October 14th at the Agricultural Conference Center loading dock or at the farm in Creston. Another option for pick up is at the Watauga farmers’ market on Saturdays. 
Pay a 50% deposit as soon as possible to reserve a space, with the total cost due by May 1st.
Full shares cost $500.00 and receive $25.00 worth of food each week.
Half shares cost $300.00 and receive $15.00 worth of food each week.
Vegetarian shares are available. On weeks when beef and/or eggs are included, vegetarian shares will get more produce to make up the difference in cost. Participants are allowed a one week vacation credit for produce at the farmers’ market.
Jeff and Betty Thomas,, (336)385-6302

High Country CSA
This multi-farm CSA deliverers on Wednesdays in Boone from June 4th through October 15th . Total payment is due by June 1st. There are several options:
Garden Share, $300- contains 4-6 vegetables for small single households.              
Full Harvest Share, $600- contains 7-10 seasonal produce items, including herbs. Appropriate for large households, or small households that rely on produce for a significant portion of their diet. 
Variety Share, $600- includes a garden share plus special items like free-range eggs, breads, chevre, molasses, jams, and more.

Lively Up Farm
Delivery will be at the Watauga County farmers’ market, with another option being considered, starting mid to late May and lasting for 20 weeks. Every share will contain at least 4 to 5 varieties of vegetables. Full shares cost $500 and receive $25 of vegetables weekly. A $300 share is also available, with $15 of vegetables weekly.
Matt Cooper,, 828-773-5893

North Fork Farm
Participants receive a monthly delivery of different cuts of beef, pork and chicken at the Agricultural Conference Center in Boone beginning April 14th through August 11th.  Half share members receive approximately a 10 lb. box monthly at a cost of $350 for the contract period, working well for single persons, couples or small family. Full share members receive approximately a 20 lb. box monthly at a cost of $600, working well for families of 3 or more.
Jimmy or Shelia Greene,, 828-297-5755.

Octopus garden
Participants receive produce every other week beginning May 20th through October 21st delivered on Tuesday nights near downtown Boone. The price for membership is $250, and includes at least $25 worth of produce in the box each delivery. Options for installments are available for those who are interested but can’t pay $250 all at once. Carolina Hampton,

Springhouse farm
This year they are using "Eating on the Wild Side" by Jo Robinson to select the most
nutritious varieties of vegetables that can be grown.
Half Share: Approximately $15 worth of vegetables each week, $300.
Full Share: Approximately $25 worth of vegetables each week, $500.
Saturday shares begin May 25th at the Watauga County farmers’ market and Tuesday shares begin May 28th to be picked up at the farm in Vilas between 2 and 6.

Wild Pilgrim Homestead
The CSA box includes a variety of what they grow on their farm as well as other locally and regionally sourced fruits and veggies. No up front payment is required, and you can place orders weekly as you need them. The CSA is year round, delivering Thursdays at noon at Bare Essentials. $25 per week. Bonnie or Jason Lewis, (828) 455-7808,