Sunday, November 17, 2013

Agripreneurship Series Begins in January

Location: Agriculture Conference Center Time: 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm

Register online

Further questions:

The Agriculture-Entrepreneurship Series provides education to entrepreneurs who want to begin a farming business and to farmers wanting to transform their farm into a thriving business. The 4-part series includes real-world scenarios and hands-on activities. Each session features an education session along with a local agriculture expert guest speaker. A class outline is provided below.

Agripreneur Workshop Series Outline

1/16/2014 - Exploring Agriculture Entrepreneurship & Business Planning The Agriculture-Entrepreneurship Series provides education to new and existing farm entrepreneurs. In this seminar, attendees will identify the personal qualities and skills of successful entrepreneurs, and learn about community analysis and business feasibility. Participants will identify tools necessary to write a successful business plan to serve as a guide for their business. Guest Speaker: Carol Coulter, Heritage Homestead

1/23/2014 – Market Research and the Marketing Plan In this seminar, attendees focus on the importance of market research and target market when developing a marketing plan. Learn how Marketing Mix decisions can be made using the 5 P's of Marketing. Attendees identify target market segments and develop a marketing strategy for a sample business using SWOT Analysis. Guest Speaker: Hollis Wild, Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project

1/30/2014 – Business Operations In this seminar, attendees will identify key human resource concerns, discuss different forms of legal structures and the advantages and disadvantages of each type of structure. Additional topics include licensing and zoning, trademarks, copyrights, patents, and insurance. Guest Speaker: Holly Whitesides, Against the Grain Farm

2/6/2014 – Business Financials Learn the various alternatives to financing a small business and the risks involved. The seminar introduces breakeven analysis as a tool to assist the entrepreneur in measuring financial feasibility. Activities identify the kinds of data needed to project the revenue, start-up, and operating costs of a business. The seminar helps attendees develop an understanding of cash flow and break even analysis and its relationship to business planning. Guest speaker: Barbara Smith, Loan Consultant, Farm Service Agency

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Youth Activities on Early Release Days

Join us on our school early release days for fall fun.  School is out the afternoons of Thursday, October 31 and Friday, November 1.  Activities designed for 7-12 year olds.  Sign up for one or both days.   Arrive between 12:00 to 1:00.  Both days will include a tour and fun activities.  Pick up 5:00-5:30.  Cost is $15.00 each day.  To register, contact Watauga County 4-H.  For more information, see

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

ASU launches Local Appetite program

This fall Appalachian State University is sourcing a record amount of food from local farmers. This is the beginning of a powerful partnership that will support the community and ASU students.

Tomatoes, peppers, potatoes, lettuce, and butternut squash will be sourced locally as available September through November. The vegetables will be mixed in the regular food stream with signage signifying the locally grown items. The Blue Ridge burger, with ground meat sourced from North Fork farm in Watauga County, will be available year round in the Rivers Street grill. 

According to Heather Brandon, program specialist with ASU, they have been purchasing around 11% of their food from within a 250 mile radius as part of the ASU commitment to sustainability. She said, “We have wanted to purchase from farmers that are in the High Country, but it has been too challenging to deal with them individually. We are excited about the farmers who stepped up to participate in this partnership.” ASU is buying from seven farms, which are listed on the foodservice website

Local organizations interested in building a regional food system have been working with food producers to organize production schedules and transport the food to ASU on one truck with one invoice. Included are New River Organic Growers, Heifer International, Blue Ridge Seeds of Change, Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project, High Country Local First, and NC Cooperative Extension.

Students are encouraged to support this movement by visiting the dining halls and choosing from the local food options. With the support of diners, the amount of local food served in the ASU dining facilities will continue to grow.

According to a document written by a graduate student for the ASU sustainability office, titled ASU Local Food Initiative, buying locally can help mediate negative consequences of globalization by returning a greater percent of the food dollar directly to family farmers who live and spend locally. In the conventional retail food system, only 20 cents of every dollar is returned to the farmer.

The average food product travels 1,500 miles from where it is grown to our plate. Buying local food shortens the distance food travels and reduces greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to global climate change. By implementing a policy that shows preference to locally sourced food, ASU will help the region’s small family farms, create new job opportunities, protect valued farmland, and ultimately contribute to a thriving local economy.

Go ASU!!!

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Homemade Salsa Adds Flair and Nutritive Value

Any High Country gardener knows the rain has made this a bad year for tomatoes. Fortunately, I was able to purchase Roma tomatoes at the Watauga market last weekend for a salsa cooking demonstration. Although any kind of tomato may be used, Romas are the meatiest and hold up when canning salsa.

Salsa definitely adds nutritive value to tortilla chips, with ½ cup of it qualifying as a serving of vegetables. Boneless chicken or pork tenderloin topped with salsa makes a quick, elegant dinner entrĂ©e. And of course, it’s great with any kind of Mexican food.

This recipe is almost impossible to stop eating on tortilla chips. Since the peppers are seeded, it is pretty mild, and even children love it.

Tomato and green chili salsa
Makes 6 pints

6 cups peeled, cored, chopped tomatoes
6 cups seeded, chopped long green chili peppers
1 ½ cup chopped onions
2 jalapeno pepper, seeded, finely chopped
12 cloves garlic, finely chopped
3 cups vinegar (5 percent acidity)
1 teaspoon ground cumin, optional
4 teaspoons oregano leaves, optional
3 teaspoons salt

Do not touch your face while handling chilies. Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water before touching your face. Wash and rinse canning jars; keep hot until ready to use. Prepare lids according to manufacturer’s directions. Combine all ingredients in a large saucepan, and heat, stirring frequently, until mixture boils. Reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Ladle hot into pint jars, leaving ½-inch headspace. Wipe top of jar with clean cloth, adjust lids and process in a boiling water canner: 15 minutes at 0 to 1,000 feet altitude; 20 minutes at 1,001 to 6,000 feet. Start timing when water (1 – 2 inches over jars) starts boiling.

If you aren’t able to find tomatoes or would like a tropical flair, try this recipe. Mango is available in stores at a reasonable price.

Mango salsa
Makes 6 pints
12 cups diced unripe mango (about 7 or 8 large, hard green mangoes)
3 cups diced red bell pepper
1 cup finely chopped yellow onion
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
4 teaspoons finely chopped garlic
4 teaspoons finely chopped ginger
2 cups light brown sugar
2 ½  cups cider vinegar (5 percent acidity)
1 cup water

Wash and rinse canning jars; keep hot until ready to use. Prepare lids according to manufacturer’s directions. Wash all produce well. Peel and chop mangoes into ½- 1
inch cubes. Dice bell pepper into ½-inch pieces. Finely chop yellow onions. Combine all ingredients in an 8-quart Dutch oven or stockpot. Bring to a boil over high heat, stirring to dissolve sugar. Reduce to simmering, and simmer 5 minutes.

Fill hot solids into clean, hot pint jars, leaving ½ -inch headspace. Cover with hot liquid, leaving ½ -inch headspace. Remove air bubbles and adjust headspace if needed. Wipe rims of jars, then apply two-piece metal canning lids. Process in a boiling water bath: 10 minutes at 0 to 1,000 feet altitude; 15 minutes at 1,001 to 6,000 feet. Start timing when water (1 – 2 inches over jars) starts boiling. Let cool, undisturbed, for 12 to 24 hours, and check for seals.
Margie Mansure, M.S., R.D. is a registered dietitian/nutritionist and extension agent with NC Cooperative Extension. She offers personalized classes to improve the health of citizens in Watauga County through worksites, schools and community groups. (828)264-3061