Thirty-Three Years of the Spring Herb Festival

The Asheville Spring Herb Festival will celebrate the arrival of the spring planting season May 5-7, 2023.

The Spring Herb Festival at the WNC Agriculture Center in Fletcher.
The Spring Herb Festival at the WNC Agriculture Center in Fletcher.

The largest herb event in the United States and Canada runs three full days, starting at 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Friday, May 5 and Saturday, May 6, and from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday, May 7.

This year’s festival includes more than a dozen presenters offering workshops throughout the three days, including a panel discussion of “Stories of the Earth” and a presentation by well-known author and horticulture writer Peter Loewer, “The Wild Gardener.”

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

Wide Variety of Products

The Spring Herb Festival brings together more than 70 vendors of herb plants, vegetable starts, and locally made, natural herbal products ranging from salves and ointments to soaps and candles to culinary and medicinal extracts and supplements. Many growers also offer heirloom vegetables, medicinal native plants, and other sustainable-garden trees, shrubs, and plants. Food trucks sourcing local products will also be onsite, including Ceci’s Culinary Tour, Proving Grounds Coffee, Luscious Liquors Ice Cream, and Max’s Herb Wagon teas.

Workshops

The free workshops for the 2023 festival include several presentations on woodland medicinals and herbal first aid; and special presentations on preserving with vinegar, lavender cultivation, container gardening, and no-till cultivation. There will also be a book signing by local author Juliet Blankespoor sponsored by Chestnut School of Herbal Medicine.

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. By keeping alive ancient traditions of natural healing and health maintenance, the WNCHMA works to reestablish, and educate contemporary citizens about, some of the recipes, methods, and treatments developed by African Americans, Native Americans, and other traditional specialists in “wise-woman” lore.

Pandemic Precautions

Covid-19 has diminished in its impact, but is still around. The 2023 Herb Festival 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 recommended.

The Festival will be held in and around the 27,500 sq. ft. Expo building. In addition to more than 50 vendors inside the open-air building, booths will also be outside the walls, along with the food vendors and workshops.

Sponsors

The sponsors of the 2023 Spring Herb Festival are the Chestnut School of Herbal Medicine, Smoking J’s Fiery Foods, Appalachian Seeds, Bluff Mountain Nursery, Brew Naturals, Earthen Organics, The Farm Connection, Huffman’s Herbs, Mills Garden, Mountains to Sea Skin Care, Our Friendly Allies, Red Moon Herbs, Serotonin Ferments, Sister of Mother Earth, and Wildwood Herbal.

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.

Free Workshops & Classes

Friday, May 5

  • 11 a.m. – Container Gardening; Lee Poe, Bluff Mountain Herbs
  • 1 p.m. – Herbal First Aid; Jeannie Dunn, Red Moon Herbs
  • 2 p.m. – The Magic of Preserving with Vinegar; Lori Collins Jenkins, Sister of Mother Earth
  • 3 p.m. – The Wild Gardener; Peter Loewer

Saturday, May 6

  • 10 a.m. – Saving Woodland Medicinals; Laurie Quisenberry
  • 11 a.m. – Woodland Medicinals;    Robert Eidus, NC Ginseng & Goldenseal
  • 12 p.m. – The Forest Farmacy; ​Chris Parker
  • 2 p.m. – Stories of the Earth (panel discussion); Byron Ballard, Jennifer Braverman, Lorri Burra, Jeannie Dunn, Ceara Foley, & Ellen Selm

Sunday, May 7

  • 11 a.m. – Lavender Cultivation; Puma Love
  • 1 p.m. – No-Till Gardening; Stephanie Hein, Wise Earth Way
  • 2 p.m. – Herbs & Spices: In the Garden; Sarah Wickers, Well-Seasoned Table and Beyond

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