Home & Farm 2019

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HOME & FARM 2019


2 - Mountain Times Publications

April 17-18, 2019

A glorious flower: planting peonies

Quick: Can you think of an Alaskan horticultural export that grows well in North Carolina? The answer is the peony, Alaska’s sole contribution to horticulture. It turns out that peonies comprise a rather complicated genus. Most peonies — but by no means all — are herbaceous perennials. There is general disagreement over how many species peonies — those peonies that arose on their own — exist, with estimates falling between 22-40. There are also more than 3,000 cultivars, all limited to cold climates if they are going to bloom. All are winter hardy plants that grow slowly but will live for more than a century. All require 900

hours around freezing if they are to produce flowers. Today, there are three different types of peonies to choose from: 1. Herbaceous peonies die back to the ground after the first frost. They develop what I call the I-just-had-ababy appearance after their 7-10 day bloom cycle. Many of their blooms are notably fragrant. 2. Tree peonies, with their woody stems, can reach a height of 7 feet and carry the largest blooms of all the peonies. 3. Itoh peonies, the issue of a marriage between the tree and herbaceous peonies, are herbaceous and bear larger yellow and gold flowers than the herbaceous peonies. Their bloom time in the longest of all

PHOTO BY KIT FLYNN A Paeonia ostii (a tree peony) in Kit’s garden.

the peonies, lasting three to four weeks. Peonies have a lot going for them. The flower industry loves them, they’re tough, unappetizing to eat,

long-lived, drought tolerant and disease resistant. How can you tell if you have an herbaceous peony or a tree peony? If it has wood, don’t cut it back — it’s truly that

simple. These are not plants that warm the hearts of gardeners demanding instant gratification. It can take as long as 10 years for some to reach their mature size — and it can take several years before they produce flowers. Unlike the herbaceous and Itoh peonies that bloom on new growth, tree peonies bloom on old growth so should not be cut back. Because the slow growing Itoh peonies are relatively new on the market, they are somewhat expensive. You can find a small selection of Itoh peonies at: https:// www.thelilygarden.com and a larger selection at: https://www.treepeony. com. All peonies need well-draining soil and five hours of sun. They benefit both from water during a drought and an initial feeding of 10-10-10 fertilizer at the beginning of the growing season. Plan the site carefully as peonies resent replanting — a move in the garden results in a sulking

plant that refuses to bloom for a couple of years. Early spring or fall are good times to plant peonies. Tree peonies will arrive bareroot along with instructions for planting. The ultimate aim is to encourage the plant to put out a good root system before it puts out leaves. Peonies are relatively free of pests and diseases. However, they do not grow well in pots, as their roots need room to expand. For further information go to: www. americanpeonysociety.org. Then sit back and enjoy your peonies. This is one plant you can basically ignore if you meet its basic requirements — and have some patience, as peonies insist on doing their thing in their own time. Absent from their gardens, Kit and Lise enjoy roaming our region exploring the intersection of horticulture and suburban living. More on Instagram @AbsenteeGardener or email: info@absentee-gardener.com.

Summer gardening: Who’s There? Camera traps identify wildlife visitors BY LISE JENKINS AND KIT FLYNN

I had my suspicions. The tracks, the teeth marks, the molested strawberries — it suggested rabbits. A motion-activated camera, often referred to as a “camera trap” gave me the information I needed to formulate a plan. Employed by hunters and naturalists, camera traps are easy to use, can be deployed in remote areas, and bear silent witness 24/7 to their environment. Prices range from less than $50 to more than $400, and sorting through the number of models and features can be daunting. Start by defining your needs and focus on the features that deliver what you want.

Power Source: Camera traps run on electrical current, battery power or solar panels. While electrical current has fewer on-going maintenance issues, it presents the greatest limitation for camera locations. Batteries allow cameras to be placed anywhere but can be costly over time. You could consider rechargeable packs to help reduce lifetime expense. Cold weather can quickly drain batteries, so you’ll have to make more frequent visits to restock and reset the camera. Some camera models include solar panels to recharge the battery system and are a great option for locations in full sun. Wooded locations can be sunny during the PHOTO BY LISE JENKINS SEE CAMERAS ON PAGE 3

A camera trap catches Peter Rabbit in action.

April 17-18, 2019


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A cut above: Keep your mower running and cutting clean this spring BY CARL BLANKENSHIP

PHOTO BY CARL BLANKENSHIP Some of the equipment on offer at Mountaineer Equipment Company in Pineola on the lawn in front of its facility.

Spring is upon us and with warmer weather comes longer grass. Whether you are on 30 acres or 30 square feet, you want to take care of the lawn space you have. The best way to do so is to use a good mower that is well maintained when the grass starts to shoot up again. “The main thing is to take care of the machinery,” Mountaineer Equipment Company Owner Chuck Poore said. Mountaineer Equipment, which is based out of the Pineola area in Avery County, sells and services farm and lawn equipment. Poore said well-maintained equipment will last longer, do a better job and be cheaper to maintain

overall. Poore described ethanol gas as a scourge on lawn equipment. “I guess half of my shop time is repairing problems due to ethanol gas,” Poore said. Poore said ethanol is corrosive and pits the inside of carburetors on engines. Poore added it affects small engines the most. Ethanol can damage carburetors in equipment engines to the point an engine will misfire or completely fail to run. Poore noted ethanol gas can cause noticeable damage to a piece of equipment in only a year, and that kind of damage is not covered by warranty. “People don’t realize that SEE MOWERS ON PAGE 4


winter when the leaves are off the trees but may not provide enough sun in the summer to allow the system to recharge. Data Storage and Transmission: Early camera traps stored images to internal memory cards requiring users to physically retrieve the cards to download the images. Newer models have added the ability to transmit images via WiFi or cellular systems. Cameras placed near dwellings with WiFi coverage can tap into networks and transmit images at no cost. Remote locations require either cellular transmission or manual retrieval of the images. While cellular systems offer greater flexibility, they require subscribing to a cellular package, which can be costly during the lifetime of the camera. Location: The location of a camera trap resides at the intersection of several factors including the following: Can you mount the camera to something, will it be free standing, or will housing be needed? Is it a quiet location that will likely result in a few images a week or is it a high-traffic locale potentially generating dozens or hundreds of images at a time? Does it have easy access for maintenance or will it need to be secured to prevent theft? The height and angle of the camera may need to be adjusted after you review the first images so delay permanently mounting the camera until the ideal view is achieved. Cameras installed nearer the

PHOTO BY LISE JENKINS A camera trap catches Mr. Fox in the garden.

ground may have their own considerations and these locations should be checked after storms to ensure they aren’t covered by snow or debris. Cameras should also be secured to prevent animals from damaging or moving them. Budgets for new gear and/ or the capabilities of existing equipment will

help guide your location choices. So who’s raiding my strawberries? My camera trap revealed I have two nocturnal visitors, Peter Rabbit and Mr. Fox. My plan? I’ve decided to let Mother Nature run her course, but I must admit I’m rooting for Mr. Fox to do his job and remove Peter Rabbit

from my garden. Absent from their gardens, Kit and Lise enjoy roaming our region exploring the intersection of horticulture and suburban living. More on Instagram @AbsenteeGardener or email: info@absentee-gardener.com.


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April 17-18, 2019

Weatherizing for winter while the sun shines BY LUKE WEIR luke.weir@mountaintimes.com

While warm weather graces the mountains of Western North Carolina, homeowners in the region are provided an ideal opportunity to consider weatherization projects ahead of the High Country’s typical six months of winter. According to Rick Woodie, owner of Parker Tie Company hardware store in West Jeerson, there are several simple weatherization projects that High Country homeowners can take on to protect their homes from the ever-looming cold months. “For weatherization, weather strips and insulated windows are a good way to save money on energy costs,â€? Woodie said. “Added insulation and roofing is always a key for weatherization, too.â€? Small investments put toward home improvement in summer months can save homeowners considerable


ethanol gas is not designed for small engines, they just don’t know,â€? Poore said. Poore said a mower should be serviced annually in either the fall or the spring. A typical service would involve an oil change and inspection of the engine components, as well as sharpening the blades. If you wait to get your mower serviced and something goes wrong, you may have trouble getting it repaired when you need it. “We have a lot of customers that come from down o the mountain, and even though the grass is not growing here, they’ve been mowing o the mountain for a month or six weeks,â€? Poore said. “We’re already two weeks or better behind in the shop doing maintenance work.â€? Poore advised if you are

PHOTO BY LUKE WEIR A variety of stains line the shelves of Parker Tie Company in West Jefferson.

sums when it comes time to fill — and possibly refill — their propane tank and pay energy bills in colder months, among other costs associated with wicked winter weather, according to Woodie. “It can keep you from

WHEN TO WATER If the color of your grass is subpar it might not be getting enough water. If you do need to water, here are some tips to perk up your grass: Water in the morning. This is the best time to get water to soak deep into the soil. See if you can take any long, straight garden tool or screwdriver and see if you can easily drive it six inches into the soil. Six inches is about how deep you want the soil to be saturated. Do not over-water. If there was an inch of rain during the weekend, your lawn is already saturated. If you water too much you can actually harm your grass in addition to wasting water. in the market for a new mower, to buy a quality machine from a company that has parts and service

having frozen pipes, damaged water systems, and keep your energy bill low,� Woodie said. Most homeowners in the High Country focus on winter weatherization, since the mountains do not tend to catch the same heat as

places down in the Carolina piedmont region, according to Woodie. During the spring and summer, High Country homeowners can seal and stain their decks and porches to protect against water damage, Woodie said.

departments for the mowers it sells, adding a good mower that is well-maintained can last for 15 to 20 years. Another common pitfall Poore pointed out was when a mower sits in the cold for all of fall and winter without a battery maintainer or being run occasionally, the battery tends to die and needs to be replaced. Keeping a battery alive through the winter can extend its life by a couple years. There are some problems mowing in the mountains pose for lawnmowers as well. Poore said steep terrain and rocks can be hard on mowers, and the altitude impacts carburetors as well. Your mower may start and run fine but not be performing well, and there are a few factors that can keep your mower from being a cut above when blade meets blade.

If you see cut grass coming out from under the mower in clumps, it could mean the deck of the mower, the plate which surrounds the blades, is getting clogged with grass. When that happens you need to take the blades o the deck according to manufacturer instructions and clean o the caked-on grass and sharpen the blade. A dull blade and gummed up deck will be cause your mower to work harder and result in a subpar appearance after your mow. Poore added when a dull blade tears grass instead of cutting it, it makes the grass more susceptible to disease. Rocks, gravel and sand will dull the blade more quickly. Poore recommended using a bench grinder to sharpen a blade. If you don’t have a grinder, you can use a flat file on the edge, though that method is time consuming.


April 17-18, 2019

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Full Moon Farm:

PHOTO BY KAYLA LASURE Jacob Crigler and Kara Dodson own and operate Full Moon Farm in Watauga County.

Entrepreneurial couple establish local produce farm BY KAYLA LASURE

After meeting in Boone, two Virginia natives put their sweat equity together to start a local produce farm that supplies items to area consumers. Kara Dodson and Jacob Crigler are a farming couple on 30 acres known as Full Moon Farm — a smaller produce farm in Watauga County. Dodson and Crigler got a taste for farming during a yearlong apprenticeship in Creston in 2015. “I thought it was a great way for me to step out the regular job scene and just reconnect with myself and learn new skills,” Dodson said. During the apprenticeship, Dodson said the two were staying in a barn without windows, doors, running water or electricity. With little to no distractions, the couple would watch the moon. “It became a love affair with the moon,” Dodson said. In what Dodson called a natural decision, she and Crigler bought land in the Triplett/Deep Gap area the following year

FULL MOON FARM Location: 141 Rhymer Branch Road, Deep Gap Email: fullmoonfarmer@gmail.com Website: www.fullmoonfarmnc.com to start their own produce business. The fascination the two had with the moon played a large part in the naming of the farm — Full Moon Farm. The moon also plays a role in the way the two plant crops. “Different combinations of zodiac alignments with the moon and the phase that the moon is in may determine better planting scenarios,” Crigler said. He explained that some moon phases are better for playing root crops or leafy green, and can determine barren periods where it may not be best to plant something. While Dodson said they will plant regardless of the moon if the weather and calendar are right, they have noticed differences with PHOTO BY KAYLA LASURE SEE MOON ON PAGE 6

Jacob Crigler and Kara Dodson grow produce at Full Moon Farm.


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April 17-18, 2019

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Boone Stockyard FEED & FARM SUPPLY Locally operated for 20+ years PHOTO BY KAYLA LASURE Owners of Full Moon Farm, Kara Dodson and Jacob Crigler, spend time with their horses — Linus and Lucy.


the crops when following the moon. The two had their first growing season in 2017 and agreed it came with a learning curve. “You have to learn what you’re good at and what your land is good at providing,” Dodson said. While the farm sits on 30 acres, much of the land is wooded — only about three quarters of an acre is used for food growth. Now in its third growing season, Dodon said they have learned how to make the most out of a smaller space. Dodson and Crigler use several 100-foot crop beds to grow produce such as salad mix, arugula, peppers, tomatoes, okra, watermelons, squash, beets, turnips, carrots and cucumbers. Full Moon Farm sells its products to local restaurants, at the farmers market and online with High Country Food Hub. Dodson said the farm partners with up to a dozen businesses at a time, such as Bistro Roca, F.A.R.M. Café, Proper, Lost Province, Vidalia and The Cardinal. A typical day during grow-

PHOTO BY KAYLA LASURE Growing season has started at Full Moon Farm.

ing season starts before the sun directly hits the crops to harvest the produce. Crigler said it’s best to harvest before the sun directly hits the crops to keep them from wilting. Each work day could be different with various activities, such as disease and pest control or transplanting crops from one place to another. If

produce need to be delivered to businesses, Dodson and Crigler are washing and packaging the items for transport. Longer days for the couple usually keep them working until about 8 p.m., Dodson said. Helping their humans on the farm are two horses — Linus and Lucy. Dodson said not only are the horses

great companions, but also help with tilling the land using various equipment. Linus and Lucy also assist Crigler with logging the lumber around the property. Off season for Full Moon Farm runs from November through February with harvesting of crops starting around April. Crigler said growing season takes the sweat and tears of both him and Dodson until about October. During the off season, each of them try to find seasonal jobs to support the dream of farming and having a startup business. Crigler learned the skill of logging during his apprenticeship, and has put the knowledge to work. Not only is the barn on the property hand built, but Crigler has also built two custom tool sheds. Dodson encouraged others to get into the farming scene, as the average age of a farmer gets older and older each year. She said people could start on a smaller scale, and could even intern with Full Moon Farm to gain skills. At the end of the day, Dodson said there’s nothing better than being able to eat fresh food and knowing you’re helping bring local produce to the community.

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April 17-18, 2019

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Hall’s Hill Farm a family business of diverse offerings


MINNEAPOLIS — A seventh-generation member of the Young family, which has been in the area for more than 200 years, is working on leaving a legacy rooted in the agricultural industry. Hall Young has been farming for seven years and currently operates out of the same farmhouse that his grandfather Wood Hall Young settled in September 1950. During his time on the property, Young’s grandfather primarily ran cattle and gardened, both of which are facets that Young has gradually expanded upon during the years since he moved into the farmhouse shortly after his grandfather’s death in 2016.

MORE INFORMATION ON HALL’S HILL FARM Hall’s Hill Farm Store is located at 136 Big Horse Creek Road and can be contacted at (828) 387-7318 or by emailing hallshillfarm@gmail.com. The farm sells meat as well as produce at a few different locations during the spring. The Youngs plan to sell at the Spruce Pine Farmers Market from noon to 4 p.m. every Wednesday starting April 24, and at the Banner Elk Farmers Market on Thursdays beginning May 16. For further developments and additional general information, click to the farm’s Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/ halls.hill.1. In addition to cattle, Young also raises goats, pigs and chickens, all of which are an integral part of the farm. “Some of the things that we do meat-wise allow us into markets that we otherwise wouldn’t get into,” Young said. The meat has to be inspected by the North


Carolina Department of Agriculture in order to be sold at the markets. If the meat is sold out of state, however, it must pass inspection courtesy of the United States Department of Agriculture. As far as the other commodities are concerned,

PHOTO COURTESY OF HALL YOUNG The Young family of Hall’s Hill Farm. Pictured in the back from left to right are Brady and Hall Young. Pictured in the front from left to right are June, Branson and Knox Young. Not pictured is the Youngs’ youngest child, 2-yearold Ezra.



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April 17-18, 2019

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the farm offers a large catalogue, from vegetables to soaps. Young initially sold eggs on the side in high school, but once he settled down with his wife, Brandy, she convinced him to branch out further. Consequently, the two started traveling to sell goods at the Banner Elk Farmers Market, a location and experience that prompted the couple to reevaluate both how they eat, as well as run their business. “After we started growing ourselves and attending markets, we didn’t want to go back to the other option. We didn’t want chemicals and stuff in our food,” Young said. According to Young, the only two farms in the county that also handle both vegetable and meat production are Trosly Farm and Townsend Family Farm, both of which he has partnered with. Most other local operations are a smaller scale, and focus on just one area of

PHOTO BY AIDAN BETZ Three little pigs at Hall’s Hill Farm. Goats and cattle are also among the animals raised by the Young family.

production. Linking up with other like-minded operations is one of Young’s favorite parts of the job. “Any other business I’ve been in there’s a fierce competition, but with farming there are friendships that you make,” Hall said. “You are still in direct competition

with each other, but at the same time it doesn’t matter, because we’re setting up together at the same market. It’s not as cutthroat.” Young said that above all else he just loves having the opportunity to work alongside his wife and kids, and he hopes the four boys will take the reins from him later

on down the road. Young’s oldest son in particular, seven-year-old Knox, has already expressed an interest in entering his father’s line of work. “Knox does a whole lot, especially for a seven-yearold,” said Young. “I hope to pass it on to the other kids too, if they want it.”

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Cheek Farmstead Creamery operates with family values Carolina if it’s not pasteurFLEETWOOD — The ized. Your bigger outfits High Country has a vast homogenize it. We don’t, amount of farmland and so our cream still separates farmers throughout its like it did for the old people many peaks and valleys. that grew up with family From Christmas trees to cows. After it’s pasteurized strawberries and more, and cooled back down, we High Country farmers pride put it in a jug, and it’s ready themselves on creating top for distribution.” products for the local comAdding that the creamery munity and beyond. does not use any artificial However, farming is hormones on the cows, more than plowing fields Cheek said he could not and harvesting plants. figure out why the hormone In some cases, it’s about — causing cows to make a family tradition and a more milk — was initially legacy of providing quality approved. products. That is the case “There was (already) with Cheek Farmstead a surplus of milk then,” Creamery. Cheek said. “Then people Run by Rodney Cheek, started fussing about it. I with the help of sons don’t know if there’s a proTrathen and Brandon, cessing plant in the United the creamery produces States that will take it now anywhere from 1,000 to if you use it. We never did 1,200 gallons of product use it.” per week. Products include Cheek owns about 220 whole milk, buttermilk and acres of land in Fleetwood, chocolate milk. The milks with cow pastures and are then distributed to local farmlands pushing 100 businesses throughout the acres on the property. AcHigh Country, including quired by his grandparents Ashe, Watauga and Wilkes in 1911, the land was taken counties. over by Cheek’s father and Cheek said the creamuncle in the 1950s. The ery’s process is fairly simfarm was not a dairy farm ple and straightforward. until 1979, when Cheek “We pump our milk said he talked his family straight from our milk into making transition. room up to the creamery,” In 1986, Cheek bought Cheek said. “It goes into the his uncle out and is pasteurizer, as it’s against the law to sell it in North SEE CREAMERY ON PAGE 11 BY COLIN TATE

PHOTO BY COLIN TATE Rodney Cheek, of Cheek Farmstead Creamery, pets a cow who gave birth the previous day. Cheek said there are about 70 cows on the property.

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PHOTO SUBMITTED Trathen Cheek and one of the many cows at Cheek Farmstead Creamery.


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currently renting his father’s portion of the land. The land was used for a small Grade-A dairy farm until August 2016, according to Cheek. It was then that the farm was permitted to operate a bottling facility to produce and sell product under their own local label. The land is family land, as his great-grandfather’s Civil War military burial marker sits on the property. Cheek added that there is an element of legacy to the farm. “Trathen and Brandon wanted to stay,” Cheek said. “That’s why I took the creamery leap. With what the price of milk has been, there’s no way we could make a living (without the creamery). We’d have to milk 100150 cows. We didn’t have a way of feeding that many cows. We decided the creamery might be the best bet.” Cheek said that he believes in family businesses, as family employees provide something hard to find in those who aren’t related. “Family is going to try to do a better job and have a better end product, because you’re hiring somebody that cares about what goes into it,” Cheek said. “It’s hard to find. They’re reliable.” Bottling once or twice a week with the milk from their nearly-70 cows, Cheek and his family are trying to provide the High Country with the best product possible. “We’re trying to put a fresher product out,” Cheek said. “The southeast has been deficient in milk production for years. A lot of the milk in the southeast is trucked in from Texas, Arizona and Illinois — several hours away. We feel like we can have it in the store shelf fresher by the time they haul it that far. We’re local.”

PHOTO BY COLIN TATE Cheek Farmstead Creamery whole milk jugs are full and wait in the freezer to be distributed.


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April 17-18, 2019

Growing and growing High Country Food Hub sees customer increase in second year BY SYDNEY WOLFORD

Shopping at a farmers’ market isn’t ideal for everyone. Schedule conflicts can arise, or maybe the thought of shopping for food in a crowd feels daunting. The High Country Food Hub, an operation run by Blue Ridge Women in Agriculture, wanted to offer an outlet to High Country residents wanting to purchase farm-fresh food and support local farmers from the comfort of their home. BRWIA Executive Director Courtney Baines said that the Food Hub was averaging approximately 50 customers per week in 2018, but has stayed in the 80-100 custom-

ers-per-week range in 2019 — its second year of operation. Additionally, the Food Hub acquired the 2018 Startup Business of the Year award from Boone Chamber of Commerce. “Farming is hard work and it takes a lot of effort to grow the food,” Baines said. “When you pile marketing, customer engagement, all other business responsibilities, that’s a lot. The Food Hub is wanting to take on some of those responsibilities.” Customers can order their food online at www. highcountryfoodhub.org, SEE FOOD ON PAGE 13

PHOTO BY SYDNEY WOLFORD High Country Food Hub assistant Rebecca Gummere provides customer Jeff Butts of Boone with his weekly order.


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PHOTO BY SYDNEY WOLFORD Along with a pantry, the Food Hub has a large walk-in freezer to store various cuts of local meat. Each numbered bin specifies a different order.


select the items they want for the week and pickup those items from the Food Hub on Wednesdays between 11:30 a.m. and 5 p.m. The deadline for placing an order that week ends on Monday at 11:59 p.m. so the Food Hub can receive and organize the food on Tuesday evening to Wednesday morning, and assemble more than 100 orders together on Wednesday morning. The Food Hub sources food from more than 50 local farms from the High Country to East Tennessee, offering various cuts of meats, milk, chocolate, pastries, bread, eggs, cheese, greens, prepared meals, granola, salsas, jams, herbs, homemade soaps and skincare and more. With each order, High Country Food Hub staff organize products ordered by an individual into a box associated with the order number. The order shows which products the customer ordered and how much of each product goes into an order, which in turn provides product data to local farmers and craftspeople. Ultimately, the Food Hub aims to increase demand for local food and provide another outlet to acquire it, increase equitable food access and provide support to food producers. “I love knowing that I’m keeping an occupation growing,” Baines said of local agriculture. Baines said shopping local is also important to cut down on “food miles” — the distance that food is shipped until it is consumed. The Food Hub stays within a 100-mile radius. By May, the Food Hub hopes to introduce a subscription option, allowing shoppers to add grocery basics such as milk or eggs to their cart every week without having to log on to the online service. The same items will automatically be added to the cart each week.

SHOPPING WITH HIGH COUNTRY FOOD HUB FOR NEW CUSTOMERS Want to get started grocery shopping with the High Country Food Hub? Visit highcountryfoodhub.localfoodmarketplace.com/Index. Click “new customers sign up here.” Create an account. Log in with your account credentials. Click “start shopping now.” Get shopping! Click on your desired products and add to cart. When shopping is complete, customers paying with EBT can receive a Double Up Food Bucks match of up to $20 on the order upon pickup. Other initiatives at the Food Hub include Double Up Food Bucks: a “healthy food incentive program that doubles value of federal nutrition benefits spent at farmers’ markets, helping people buy local food while supporting our local farmers and economy,” according to the Food Hub. The Food Hub also partners with F.A.R.M. Café’s Full Circle Program, which collects “imperfect” produce to be used in prepared meals or meal kits. To further show community members how to use local foods, the Food Hub has partnered with numerous High Country restaurants for its Farm-to-Plate Dinner Series, in which chefs use local ingredients to craft a one-of-a-kind meal — perfect for people wanting to try new foods, people learning how to cook or relearning how to cook, Baines said. For more information about upcoming dinners, visit www.brwia.org/dinnerseries.html. The High Country Food Hub is located at 252 Poplar Grove Road at the Watauga County Agricultural Conference Center in Boone.


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FILE PHOTO The Watauga County Farmer’s Market features locally grown produce, homemade crafts and other goods.

High Country farmers markets open throughout 2019 BY ANNA OAKES

Support the High Country’s farmers, growers, producers and artisans and enjoy the weekly gatherings of locals and visitors at area farmers markets. And if you can’t make it to the market, place an order at highcountryfoodhub.org, with pickup on Wednesdays in Boone. Watauga County Farmers’ Market • Saturdays, May through October, 8 a.m. to noon; November, 9 a.m. to noon • 591 Horn in the West Drive • Boone, NC 28607 • (828) 355-4918 • www.wataugacountyfarmersmarket.org King Street Market • Tuesdays, May through October, 4-7 p.m. • Poplar Grove Connector, Boone • www.brwia.org/ksm.html Blowing Rock Farmers’ Market • Thursdays, May 23 to Sept. 26, 3-6 p.m. • Park Avenue, Blowing Rock, NC

28605 • (828) 295-7851 Ashe County Farmers’ Market • Saturdays, April 20 through Oct. 26, 8 a.m. to noon • Holiday markets TBA • Backstreet, West Jefferson, NC 28694 • (828) 773-3304 • www.ashefarmersmarket.com Avery County Farmers’ Market • Thursdays, May through September, 4-6:30 p.m. • Old Banner Elk Elementary School, Banner Elk • www.averycountyfarmersmarket. net • facebook.com/averycountyfarmersmarket Johnson County Farmers’ Market • Saturdays, May through October, 9 a.m. to noon • 716 South Shady St., Mountain City, TN 37683 • johnsoncountyfm.org • www.facebook.com/johnsoncountyfarmersmarket

PHOTO SUBMITTED Area residents and visitors browse the Watauga County Farmers’ Market in May.


April 17-18, 2019

Mountain Times Publications -


DIY home improvements and renovations BY IAN TAYLOR

Giving your home a spring cleaning is always a classic way to improve the look of your home. The weather is nice, so pressure washing the driveway and bricks, planting some new flowers or trimming the hedges becomes a great outdoor activity for the whole family. Inside, getting rid of clutter and doing some paint work is an easy way to spruce up a home after the winter cold has left. However, despite how clean your home is, it’s still the same as it was a week earlier. Small additions and projects, that you can do yourself, can make it feel like a whole new home while increasing the value too. Rick Woodie, owner of Parker Tie in West Jefferson, said one of the cheapest and easiest things to do is painting or staining. “I’ve seen that through the years,” Woodie said. “That’s what people do when the economy gets pretty bad. They can’t afford to do big projects, so they paint or stain.”

STAIN YOUR DECK A nice wooden deck can do wonders for a home. It is a great place to hang out on nice days and entertain guests for parties. Something you can talk to your guests about is the new stain you personally put on that deck. The first thing to do is sand off the old stain or paint. Not only will this remove all of the old coating, but it allows the new stain to seep into the wood easier. Pick out a stain that will last a long time while

protecting the deck from the weather. A good color is also important, with many different options on the market, every option is available. Something else to consider is checking the nails and screws on the deck. Pounding or screwing them back into the wood is a good idea; this keeps them from popping out at a moment’s notice and keeps the deck safe for people not wearing shoes.

PAINT THE FRONT DOOR Your front door is the first thing people will interact with when they visit your home. It’s the gateway, the entry-point and opening it welcomes others. It should not look like it’s been battered and bruised for years without any upkeep. Painting in itself is a chore, you either end up with too much paint or not enough and the messes are legendary. This is a front door though, it’s smaller than a wall and can be detached from the home. Place it on a large tarp or a group of newspapers to keep the ground clean, and go to town. Go with something fun, a red or green, just make sure to keep it clean and matching what’s around it.

BUILD A PLANTER It isn’t just your house that you should worry about refurbishing, your plants could probably do with an upgraded living space too. Sometimes, just planting them next to the house or in the garden out back isn’t good enough. A planter is an easy

FILE PHOTO Removing paint before refurbishing a surface will help the paint stick better and last longer.

build, get some wood planks and nail them together. To be more specific, measure out the size of a planter you’d like and go to a hardware store to get the wood cut to your needs. Buying one is always an option, but finding the right size can be tricky. Get some wood screws and a drill and start piecing it together. Woodie said screws are the go-to for any lumber project, since they won’t come out as easily and they can be taken out with ease. For an added touch, get the family together with some outdoor paint for a special new decoration. Just don’t forget to add the flowers.

Don’t throw that stuff away. Announce a yard sale in 828-264-NEWS (6397)

16 - Mountain Times Publications


April 17-18, 2019