farm fresh herbs

Herb Festival Celebrates 32 Years

farm fresh herbsThe Asheville Spring Herb Festival, held annually to celebrate the arrival of planting season, will return for its 32nd year on Friday, April 29, 2022, at the WNC Agricultural Center in Fletcher, NC.

The 32nd Festival, the largest in the United States, will also return to its longtime format of three full days, continuing Saturday, April 30 and Sunday, May 1. The Festival will be open to the public from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday.

The Ag Center, home to the Mountain State Fair and other farm- and garden-related events each year, is located at 761 Boylston Highway, just south of the Asheville Airport (I-26 Exit 40).

Wide variety of products

The Spring Herb Festival brings together more than 65 vendors of herb and vegetable starter plants and local manufacturers of herbal products. Many also grow heirloom vegetables, medicinal native plants, and other sustainable-garden trees, shrubs, and plants. Approximately 30 herb specialist vendors create and sell salves and ointments, culinary and medicinal extracts, soaps, body washes, and supplements, as well as cheeses, fermented or baked goods, and other ready-to-eat foods infused with locally sourced herbs.

The Festival also offers free workshops on a variety of topics from herbal extract preparation to beekeeping. Juliet Blankespoor, an Asheville author, will discuss her book on herbal education. Visitors will also be able to refresh themselves with locally made foods from Cecilia’s Kitchen food truck, Proving Grounds Coffee, Luscious Liquors Ice Cream, Root Tea & Fruit Tea hot and cold teas, and other area providers.

Developing WNC’s agricultural heritage

The Spring Herb Festival is organized by the WNC Herb Marketing Association, established to promote opportunities to develop the region’s agriculture and specialty products. Many young farmers and entrepreneurs join with second- and third-generation families to ensure the health and long-term future of WNC’s herb industry. Part of the purpose is to keep alive ancient traditions of natural healing and health maintenance, including bringing back—or bringing to a wider public—the recipes, methods, and treatments developed by African Americans, Native Americans, and other traditional specialists in “wise-woman” lore.

Pandemic precautions

While Covid-19 has diminished in its widespread impact, in large part due to the success of vaccination programs, precautions will be in place for the 2022 Herb Festival. The organizers will follow the guidance of the WNC Ag Center and its parent organization, the NC Department of Agriculture, regarding protocols to use. For the most part, self-protection is highly recommended.

The Festival will be held in and adjacent to the 27,500-square-foot Expo Building. While most vendors will be inside the building, some will have additional display space outside the walls, as will the food vendors and workshops.

Admission and parking are free. Enter the Ag Center grounds at Gate 5, one-half mile south of the Asheville Airport entrance, and head toward the back of the Ag Center to the Expo Center.

For more information, please visit www.AshevilleHerbFestival.org, www.facebook.com/AshevilleHerbFestival; or call (828) 301-8968.

 

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