Beat the Blackberry-Winter Blues

Growing up in Haywood County, I have aquired a wealth of sage wisdom about the local growing season—starting with my grandparents (who were both prolific gardeners having come from agricultural stock) to my master gardener certification achieved almost ten years ago.  Any local will tell you that spring in Western North Carolina can be unpredictable.

Warm summer-like conditions can turn to snow flurries and killing frost in 24 hours time.  When the true winter months are behind us, dogwood winter, blackberry winter and the other colloquial expressions used in south to mark the unseasonable cold can sometimes taunt locals well into June.

To beat the Blackberry-Winter Blues, we have a fantastic recipe for Pub-Style Pot Roast using Frog Level Brewing Company’s award-winning Tadpole Porter, garden fresh herbs & local beef.

If you missed celebrating NC Beer Month with Frog Level Brewing Company in April, our Pub-Style Pot Roast recipe (listed below) is a great reason to stop in and sample some of the smoothest craft beer ever to tease your palatte.  You can get a pint of the various microbrews on tap to enjoy in the tasting room or on the riverside patio—or purchase a Croaker (2 pints) or a Growler (4 pints) to take home.

HOPS from H&K Farms Hop Yard
HOPS from H&K Farms Hop Yard

Frog Level Brewing Company became a Buy Haywood Partner this year with the release of their Frog P American Pale Ale, brewed with local hops grown by H&K Farms Hop Yard.

Enjoy this photo album from brewing day that celebrates of the journey from field to Historic Frog Level!

— Tina Masciarelli, Buy Haywood Project Coorinator

This recipe for Pub-Style Pot Roast made with Frog Level Brewing Company’s Tadpole Porter, garden fresh herbs and Haywood County beef is sure to warm you up and put a smile on your face regardless of what winter-blues descend!

Visit our online directory for local beef & other ingredients!

Pub-Style Pot RoastPub-StylePot Roast

(Serves 4-6)

4 pounds local chuck roast, cut into 1 ½ inch cubes
3 stalks celery, diced
4 carrots, chopped
4 sprigs fresh thyme & rosemary, finely chopped
2 medium onions, roughly chopped
4 cloves garlic, crushed
3 Tablespoons tomato paste
1 ½ cups Tadpole Porter (or stout)
Low sodium chicken or beef stock, at least 4 cups
Salt & Pepper
Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Steps of Preparation
Preheat oven to 350

Dredge roast in flour seasoned with salt and pepper.  Add to dutch oven with hot EVOO and brown on all sides.  Remove and set aside.

Add carrots, celery, onions, and stir to loosen brown bits.  Add salt and pepper.  After 5 minutes, add tomato paste, herbs and garlic. Cook for 2 more minutes.

Add 1 ½ cups porter and stir well.  Add beef (and any liquid that came from the beef) and chicken stock until meat and vegetables are covered with liquid.  Add salt and pepper.

Bring to a simmer and cover.  Place in preheated oven.  Check in about 1 ½ – 2 ½ hours.  Meat should be able to be cut with the side of a spoon.  Taste for salt and pepper, adjust if needed.  Skim fat if desired using a paper towel.

Serve over mashed potatoes or toast,
garnish with fresh chopped parsley.

Note: If you don’t have a dutch oven:  At step 6, transfer mixture to a crock pot or stove top.  Keep covered and check time according to cooking method.

Cook. Share. Enjoy!

Recipe courtesy of Alex Masciarelli,
Local Educator & Buy Haywood Volunteer

Local Made Easy

Nothing says “local” like homegrown community partnerships!

As an organization, Buy Haywood has been extremely fortunate to collaborate with the Haywood County Tourism Development Authority (TDA) team on multiple projects.  You might know them by their Visit NC Smokies brand.

The TDA team is comprised of Lynn Collins (Executive Director) and three extremely talented, high energy staff:  Ashley Rice (Marketing Manager), Anna Smathers (Communications Manager) & Becky Seymour (Video Marketing Manager).  Among other things, the TDA is responsible for generating an innovative list of homegrown ideas about what to do, where to stay, and great things to eat when visiting Haywood County.

The dynamic TDA team has really stepped it up this season by developing some sample itineraries to demonstrate just how easy local can be.  From epicurean adventures to motor touring, the sample itineraries crisscross Haywood  County to really showcase our community—where heritage meets modern convenience—with added appeal for every demographic!

When you or your guests dream about having a homegrown adventure in the Smokies, look no further.  Our friends at Visit NC Smokies have mapped out local made easy, just for you!


When they say “ya’ll come,”  the Visit NC Smokies team really knows how to pull out all the stops to show visitors both near and far the best of what Haywood County has to offer.

The Buy Haywood team is thrilled to be along for the ride and can’t imagine being in finer company!

Spring collaboration meeting at Sunburst Market
Mark Clasby
(Executive Director, Haywood County Economic Development Commission), Lynn Collins (Executive Directory, TDA), Anna Smathers (Communications Manager, TDA) & Tina Masciarelli (Buy Haywood Project Coordinator)

Tina Masciarelli, Buy Haywood Project Coordinator

Cultivate your Mind

Guest Post
Mannie Dalton Crone, Canton Branch Library Manager

Giving Garden at Canton branch library

Cultivate your mind this summer by participating in Haywood County Public Library’s adult “Summer Reading Program,” running Monday, June 2, through Friday, Aug. 29.

Interested adults are invited to register to participate at any of the library system’s branches starting June 2.  Program participants will be invited to read books on various healthy eating & gardening-related topics, attend gardening & cooking-related events, visit the Seed Library at the Waynesville Library, volunteer in the Giving Garden at the Canton Branch Library & more! 

All participants who complete the program will receive a prize, and will be eligible to receive one of two grand prizes!

For more information, visit or call (828) 452-5169 (Waynesville) or (828) 648-2924 (Canton).

Looking forward to growing together!
Mannie Crone

The Giving Garden at the Canton branch library is a featured stop on Buy Haywood’s
Find your Adventure! 2014 Agritourism Guide

Beyond Free Range

Guest Post
Adam Henson of Shady Brook Farm in Canton, NC

When you think of free range, in terms of eggs, what is the image that pops into your mind? For many, that label prompts visions oShady Brook Farm. Guest Blog Postf happy hens wondering about a farm untethered by cage or fence, to the delight to of their stomachs, looking for scrumptious morsels on which to feast.

In reality though, free range doesn’t have to mean that at all. According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Meat and Poultry Labeling Terms, part of the Agency’s online Food Safety and Inspection Service, “free range” or “free roaming” only has to mean, “producers must demonstrate to the Agency that the poultry has been allowed access to the outside.” It doesn’t mean that the hens aren’t crowded in barns designed to hold as many as 20,000 chickens, it only means that if they want to go outside they can. It doesn’t mean the house has more than one access point to the outside for all those hens. It doesn’t dictate the size of the outside area to which the hens are given access or how much time during a 24 hour period they must be outside. All “free range” means, according to the USDA, is that the laying hens, which produced the eggs labeled as such, had access to the outside.

This label then really does nothing to support animal welfare, other than giving proof the hens were not kept in battery cages, nor does it promote the production of eggs with high nutrient value. Instead it is simply a marketing term that even in the best of situations tends to be misleading. So what options do consumers have? Short of raising their own back yard chickens, which isn’t overly hard given the proper preparation, the label consumers should look for is “local”.

The local label is best because it is more than just a term of proximity. It is a movement. It is the mark of a farmer who intends to be on a first name basis with the consumer. When local is what matters, the consumer doesn’t have to rely on a label for information on the production model, only to have to wonder what does that mean exactly. Instead it can be viewed, or at least explained by the producer.

At Shady Brook Farm, in Henson Cove, we do not promote our eggs as free range. Our production model though, goes beyond the USDA qualifiers for this label. Our hens really do work quite hard for us, serving multiple purposes. Of course they produce eggs, which due to our mobile system are of a high quality (that being determined by yolk color) but they are also fertilizing our cattle pasture and are to some extent helping to control fly populations.

Shady Brook Farm2. Guest Blog Post

Our hens are housed in a mobile coop that is designed to move through our cattle pasture using a tractor. An electric poultry fence surrounds the coop for the protection of our hens from land predators, as well as to ensure the eggs are laid in the coop and can be collected daily. This fence also allows us to control where the chickens fertilize. With this system the hens have 24/7 access to the outside and the whole setup is moved to fresh grass on a regular basis, this helps keep egg quality high as well as benefiting our pasture.

We also make use of smaller pens called “chicken tractors”, which have an open bottom and are placed directly on the ground. These pens concentrate a small group of chickens in a tight area for the specific purpose of amending the ground for the sake of soil fertility. We are currently using this model to improve the fertility of the soil where we garden. Again, this system is moved regularly.

Shady Brook Farm3. Guest Blog Post

We sell eggs to people who are looking for something more than what the grocery store can provide. The majority of our eggs are sold within hours and/or days of having been laid by the hens instead of weeks. We keep a number of different breeds of chickens so that when you open a carton of our eggs you are greeted by a variety of colors from white to several different shades of brown (even some with an almost chocolate color from our Marans hens) to the blue and green hued eggs of our so called Easter Eggers.

When it comes to labels, don’t be fooled by minimum requirements or clever marketing tricks. Instead invest in yourself and your community by eating locally grown food produced by farmers who are willing to sell to their neighbors and not just food outlets like grocery stores.

Thank you for reading,
Adam Henson

Shady Brook Farm logoTo purchase Shady Brook Farm eggs or for more information, Contact
or 828.507.5746



Cooking with Garden Fresh Herbs!

Looking for a fresh way to avoid the mid-week mealtime SLUMP?  Try infusing a simple meal with garden fresh herbs.  Whether you grow your own or buy them from local farms, cooking with fresh herbs is a wonderful way to get great flavor without adding unwanted fat or sodium.  The best part is that herbs grow in our area year-round, offering a multitude of opportunities to explore the world through different flavor and herb combinations!

In Haywood County, farmers markets and plant nurseries have fresh herb plants for sale.  It is the perfect time of year to start your own herb garden—whether in a proper Potager (kitchen garden) or in a series of pots on a sunny patio.  Visit our Online Directory for buying info!

Family Fun Tip:  Cooking with fresh aromatic herbs is a wonderful way to get kids involved in the cooking process—which increases the chances they will eat the finished product without fussing over unwanted vegetables.

Inspired by flavors of the Mediterranean—try this simple & easy weeknight recipe using garden fresh herbs to impart a light, bright spring-like flavor year-round!

Cous Cous with Herbs, Sun-dried Tomato & Feta
— served with —
Smoked Paprika Grilled Chicken or Fish

(Serves 4-6)

2 cups Dried Cous Cous
2 cups Water (or low-sodium chicken stock)
1/2 bulb Fresh Fennel, sliced thin (or green onions)
1 clove Garlic, pressed
3-4 sprigs fresh Thyme (remove from stems & chop)
1/4 cup fresh Italian Parsley (remove from stems & chop)
2 cups leftover sauteed Green Beans (or fresh arugula, washed)
4-5 Sun dried Tomatoes, chopped (amount to taste)
Feta Cheese
Greek Kalamata Olives, pitted & halved
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Pinch of Crushed Red Pepper (optional)
Salt & Pepper

Steps of Preparation
In a stockpot with a lid, add 2 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil, sliced fennel & sauté over medium heat until it starts to lightly caramelize.

Add fresh Thyme, pressed garlic, salt, pepper & pinch of crushed red pepper (for a kick of heat).  Sauté until the garlic is cooked but be careful not to burn it.  Add sun-dried tomato and stir to combine mixture.  Add water (or chicken stock) and bring to a boil.

  Add dried cous cous, stir well, cover with a lid and remove from heat.  Let stand 3-5 minutes until the liquid is absorbed.  If using leftover green beans, throw them in and replace lid to heat through.

Note: If you don’t have leftover green beans on hand, you can add garden fresh arugula to this step and give it a quick toss to slightly wilt.

Drizzle with another Tablespoon or so of Extra Virgin Olive Oil.  Add chopped Kalamata olives & feta.  Stir to combine.  Taste for salt & pepper, adjust if needed.  Garnish with fresh chopped parsley (and chopped fennel fronds if on hand).

Serve with grilled chicken or fish—seasoned with smoked paprika

Note: If you don’t have garden fresh fennel,
you can substitute with onion.

Cook. Share. Enjoy!

Recipe courtesy of Tina Masciarelli,
Buy Haywood Project Coordinator

For more seasonal recipes from local chefs, agripreneurs, Buy Haywood staff & volunteers—CLICK HERE!

Farm Fresh @ the County Fair

2014 County FairPlans are under way for a “farm fresh” Sunday breakfast/lunch during the Haywood County Fair that features the local produce, meats and other products the county has become known for.

Chefs and restauranteurs interested in preparing and serving one or more courses for the Farm Fresh at the Fair event are invited to submit bids before May 25.

Potential providers are asked to use as many local products as possible and provide a list of vendors used so all can benefit from the free advertising associated with this event.

The meal will be served from 10:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. at the fairgrounds on Sunday, August 24.  There will be 250 tickets sold for the meal, and potential caterers are asked to submit bids for one or more of the following courses:

1) A breakfast course, that could include items such as quiche, omelets, breakfast casserole, biscuits, French toast, fresh fruit, etc. to serve 125

2) A main entree course that includes a local meat dish with at least two locally produced sides to serve 150

3) Beverages, bread and dessert for 250

The menu can vary slightly depending on what’s in season, and potential providers are invited to look at Buy Haywood’s “What’s in Season” page on their website to get an idea of what sort of fresh produce/products may be available in August.

Buy Haywood will be paying for table top advertising pieces to advertise which local producers, restaurants or caterers provided the food.

There is no commercial kitchen at the fairgrounds, so meals will need to be brought in pre-cooked or if on-site cooking is needed for items such as omelets, that needs to be worked out in advance.

Proposals can be emailed to June Johnson at no later than May 25.

This effort is being undertaken by a cross-section of volunteers in the county.

-Vicky Hyatt

Local Strawberries!

There is nothing like the flavor of a juicy local strawberry, fresh off the vine, to confirm that SPRING is here to stay!

While the season for berries is relatively short,  local farmers grow a number of different varieties allowing consumers to enjoy the sweet pleasure of farm fresh berries for weeks to come.

Local strawberries are available at Farmers Markets, Tailgates, Road-side Stands & On-farm Markets throughout the month of May and into early June under the right conditions.  Visit our ONLINE DIRECTORY for locations!  Danny Barrett and our friends at Ten Acre Garden in the historic Bethel community offers a U PICK berry patch throughout the growing season when fruit is ripe.  Call Ten Acre Garden to check the seasonal availability of the U PICK options @ 828.235.9667

Strawberries are high in antioxidants, dietary fiber, anti-inflammatory properties and essential phytonutrients that support the body’s natural defenses against many diseases.  For example, one cup of strawberries contains an incredible 136% of the RDA of vitamin C—an effective antioxidant that helps to lower blood pressure and support a healthy immune system.  Strawberries are also a good source of iodine necessary for healthy thyroid function.

Strawberries, best consumed raw, are low in fat and calories making them a healthy snack option for any time of day.  Enjoy them on their own or throw them into yogurt, cereal or a smoothie for an “on the go” treat.

Enjoy this uniquely local recipe that incorporates strawberries with mixed spring greens and other in-season ingredients for an unexpected punch of flavor & nutrition!

 Mixed Spring Greens withStrawberries &
Balsamic-Green Onion Vinaigrette

Mixed spring salad greens or arugula
Fresh strawberries, washed and cut in half
Local goat cheese & toasted pecans—as a garnish (optional)

1 green onion, roughly chopped (about 3 inch piece, with white and green parts)
1/4 cup Balsamic vinegar
1/2-3/4 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Salt & Pepper

Combine vinaigrette ingredients.  Blend until smooth using an immersion blender or food processor. Taste for acidity and adjust to your liking.

Steps of Preparation
Wash salad greens, pat dry and toss in a large bowl. Add strawberries to top. Drizzle with vinaigrette and toss to coat. Salt and Pepper to taste. Garnish the top with (optional) goat cheese and toasted pecans.

Chef’s Note:  Substitute other local in-season ingredients for the strawberries—such as blueberries, blackberries, red raspberries, apples, or roasted beets—to make this healthy and nutritious dish throughout the growing season!

Recipe Courtesy of Tina Masciarelli,
Buy Haywood Project Coordinator

Mother’s Day

Growing Peonies: An Affair to Remember

Each spring, my back yard provides the stage for a great love affair between me and my peony garden.  Every year for Mother’s Day, my husband and daughters have given me a different variety of peony—some purchased and some traded with other local collectors.

The word Peony (pronounced pee’-uh-nee with the accent on the first syllable) is derived from the Latin genus, Paeonia, which, in turn, comes from a figure in Greek mythology.  Peonies have been grown for centuries—admired for their elegant beauty, intoxicating perfume, ability to hold up after cutting, and medicinal properties.

For the home gardener, peonies are landscape flowers supreme!  Few perennials can compete with them in longevity as they happily grow in the same spot for 40 years or more.   According to Clemson University Cooperative Extension, some varieties live up to a hundred years.   If properly cared for they can survive the harshest winters, spring freezes, and summer drought only to return the following spring with vitality and beauty.  The bitter taste of the foliage makes them resistant to both deer and rabbits.  As if the beauty and fragrance weren’t enough to entice one to grow peonies, once established they are among the most drought-resistant perennials, perfect for water-conserving times.

In the twelve years since my love affair began, I have learned a few things about growing peonies.  Much like the 1957 cinema classic, “An Affair to Remember” starring Cary Grant and Deborah Kerr, the courtship between gardener and peony requires dedicated patience. Keep in mind that if planted correctly, a peony garden will reward your senses with the most spectacular and elegant blooms for years to come with very little attention from you.

– Buying Peonies –

To begin your own love affair, visit a local nursery to choose a peony that grows well in this area.  You will find various colors and fragrances of herbaceous (dies back in the winter), tree peonies (woody perennial), and intersectional (cross between herbaceous and woody).  There are a number of plant nurseries and farms in Haywood County that carry peonies, visit our Online Directory.

Wildcat Ridge Farm in Clyde, NC, is home to the largest selection of herbaceous and intersectional peonies in WNC— ranging in price from $25-$200.  The peony season at Wildcat Ridge runs for 4 weeks in May, with cut flowers available for weddings and also open to the public for “pick your own” from their extensive selection.  Wildcat Ridge Farm is a featured stop on our Find your Adventure! 2014 Agritourism Guide as a farm destination as well as a “Local Flavors” experience through Chef Ricardo’s Mountain Cooking Club.

Wildcat Ridge Farm

– Growing Peonies –

When planting the object of your affection, pick your spot carefully because once planted they do not like to be disturbed.  If you choose to ignore this rule and move them, they will punish you by not blooming for up to three years.

Peonies like to be planted in full sun though some varieties can tolerate part-shade.  It’s best to plant them in the cool weather of fall or in early spring before the season gets too hot.  Amend the soil heavily to create the ideal environment rich in organic material, assuring good drainage.  Growing peonies will test your gardening patience much like the seemingly hopeless courtship between Cary Grant and Deborah Kerr.  After committing time and attention to carefully choosing their home and amending the soil, your peonies will likely make you wait until the following season before gracing your garden with bloom.

– The Courtship –

As the buds develop, you will observe that peonies have other admirers in the garden.  Each bud will likely become covered with ants enamored by the sweet secretion of the emerging bloom. However, the ants do no harm and some speculate they actually assist in opening the tight buds.  Do not give into the temptation to spray! 

As the buds approach maturity, they become too heavy for the stem and require staking, much like a tomato.  After the blooms are fully opened, cut them, shake out the ants and bring these treasures into your home for weeks of pleasure in cut arrangements.

– Peony Care –

For their care, peonies like a tender courtship.  Sprinkle the soil at the base of the plant with humus enriched with bone meal in the spring and again in fall. Once the killing frost of fall comes through the garden, cut back the foliage and remove the debris to encourage good air circulation, decreasing your chances of developing Botrytis blight and other diseases.

Try growing peonies in your own garden.  It will truly be an affair to remember!

Tina Masciarelli, Buy Haywood Project Coordinator

Photos courtesy of Ricardo & Suzann  Fernandez
of Wildcat Ridge Farm


Spring Event at Two Trees Farm!

Happy spring from Two Trees Farm!

My name is Sara Martin and I am thrilled to issue an invitation to the Buy Haywood community to join Sustainabillies, LLC on May 3rd  from 10-5:00 pm at 505 Long Branch Road in Canton for our OPEN HOUSE, FARM TOUR & PLANT SALE at Two Trees Farm.  Examine our adventure into the world of sustainability!

We will have organically grown heirloom garden starts for sale.  We will also have a preview of our line of homesteading hardware including garden tools, gates, and trellises.

For a sneak peak, visit us at

Our plants and products will also be available for sale throughout the growing season at both the Canton Farmers Market and the Historic Haywood Market at HART Theatre in Waynesville.

For more info, contact Dustin Cornelison @ 828.646.3662828.646.3662

Thanks for reading!
Sara Martin
Two Trees Farm/Sustainabillies, LLC