Folkmoot USA Inspires Local Flavors

Folkmoot USA. Logo

If you love local food with an international flare, then look no further than our friends at Folkmoot USA for flavor inspiration!

Every summer in Haywood County, locals & visitors alike can count on finding the juiciest heirloom tomatoes, ripe berries, farm-raised meats, colorful free-range eggs, gourmet jams, floral honey, crisp green beans and richly colored peppersfrom sweet to super-spicy. 

In addition to farm-fresh products, July also brings the much anticipated international festival hosted by our friends at  Folkmoot USA.  Located in Waynesville, NC, Folkmoot USA plays host to the annual Folkmoot USA Festival which has received high acclaim as North Carolina’s official international folklore festival.  2014 marks the 31st annual Folkmoot USA Festival that is celebrated for bringing together the world’s many cultures through music and dance.

Over the years, Folkmoot USA has played host to over 200 groups from 100 different countries.  For a full listing of 2014 performances, ticketing information and events visit the Folkmoot USA website @

In celebration of our friends at Folkmoot USA and their extraordinary contributions to our community (in areas of culture, arts and economic impact of the festival itself), we’ve written a recipe for Curried Zucchini Soup made with the freshest local in-season ingredients and an unexpected punch of exotic flavor!

—Tina Masciarelli, Buy Haywood Project Coordinator

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

Visit our Online Directory for local ingredients!

Curried Zucchini Soup
Curried Zucchini Soup

 Curried Zucchini Soup

4-6 medium Zucchini, roughly chopped
1 Onion, roughly chopped
2 Carrots, peeled & roughly chopped
2 medium Potatoes, roughly chopped
1 clove of Garlic, roughly chopped
Corn Oil (or other neutral-flavored oil)
1/2 teaspoon Tumeric
1 teaspoon Curry powder
1/2 teaspoon Cumin
1/2 teaspoon Coriander
Pinch of Red Pepper Flakes
1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
1/2-1 teaspoon Honey (optional)
Salt & Pepper
Water (can substitute chicken or vegetable stock)

Steps of Preparation
In a large stock pot, coat bottom with cooking oil.

Turn heat on medium, add the following:
Carrots, Onions, salt & pepper
Cook for 5 minutes, stirring ocassionally.

Add garlic and spices, cook for 1 minute – stirring.
Be careful not to burn garlic.

Add chopped potatoes and zucchini.
Stir well.  Cover vegetables with water.

Bring mixture to boil, reduce heat to low. Cover with a lid & cook for 15 minutes or until potatoes are tender.

Let cool slightly, in order to safely blend or puree.

Using an immersion blender, conventional blender or potato masher: puree the soup until desired texture.

Add Greek yogurt and mix well.

Taste for salt & pepper.  Add honey if desired.
Season to taste.

Serve warm with toasted croutons on the side.

Cook. Share. Enjoy!

For the creation of this recipe, our ingredients were purchased locally.  We’d like to acknowledge the following growers & producers for their continued partnership with Buy Haywood:

Zucchini & Potatoes grown by Doug Smathers and sold at Waynesville’s Original Tailgate Market

Onions were grown by Cathy & Tom Boyd, and sold at Haywood’s Historic Farmers Market

Dried spices from Walter & Joanne Meyer from
Pineapple Sage Herb Farm located in Clyde, NC.

All About Figs!

Fig Trees grown at Wildcat Ridge Farm
Fig Trees grown at Wildcat Ridge Farm

Just when you think the growing season in Haywood County, NC, can’t possibly get any more delicious…along comes fig season at Wildcat Ridge Farm in Clyde, NC.  Don’t recall seeing “fig season” listed on any calendar or Farmers’ Almanac?  Just try to telling that to fig lovers and see how far your arguement goes!

Higo (in Spanish), Figue (in French), Feige (in German), and Fico (in Italian)—Figs are appreciated around the world for their delicate flavor while also providing “edible shade” for gardens (both formal and informal).   Commonly considered a fruit, figs are actually a flower that is inverted into itself.  They have been cultivated for thousands of years.  Today, figs are grown to be enjoyed fresh, preserved, baked into cakes or delicate pastries.

Botanists believe that the common fig probably originated in the fertile part of southern Arabia and ancient records show that the Sumerians and Assyrians were also  familiar with it.  The cultivated fig industry, however, most certainly began in western Asia or Asia Minor, probably in that center of ancient civilization between the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers known as Mesopotamia.

Today, there are about 470 varieties of common figs—the type grown in the southeast.

In Haywood County, no one knows figs better than Chef Ricardo Fernandez and his wife Suzanne, who own and operate Wildcat Ridge Farm in Clyde, NC.   Wildcat Ridge Farm cultivates and retails a wide variety of gourmet fig trees in containers ranging in size from 4’ to 7’.  Trees can be purchased directly from the farm, see website for buying information.

To celebrate “fig season, Chef Ricardo will be hosting “All about Figs!” on Saturday, August 30, 2014, as part of his Mountain Cooking Club.

Location: Fines Creek Community Kitchen
Address: 192 Fines Creek Road in Clyde, NC  28721
Time: 10:30am–1:00pm

The event will feature the following:

For the Pantry:
Fresh Fig & Port Preserves

Prosciutto, Mozzarella Pearls and Fresh Fig Salad

Seared Sirloin Steak with Fresh Fig Salsa

Fresh Fig & Raspberry Galette

Balsamic Glazed Roasted Figs with Mascarpone Cream,
Pistachios & Honey

For reservations & pricing, contact Chef Ricardo at 828.627.6751 or by emailing

For a delicious recipe featuring Roasted Figs with Gorgonzola & Prosciutto from award-winning Chef Ricardo, visit the Wildcat Ridge Farm website!

Source:  Fig history courtesy of Clemson University Cooperative Extension

Preserving Agricultural Heritage

Chef Jessica DeMarco of Copper Pot & Wooden Spoon visiting the Ten Acre Garden for farm fresh produce
Local chef and agripreneur, Jessica DeMarco of Copper Pot & Wooden Spoon, visits the Ten Acre Garden for farm fresh produce that she transforms into seasonally produced jams, pickles and artisan foods.

Buy Haywood and a few of our agripreneural partners—including Chef Jessica DeMarco of Copper Pot and Wooden Spoon, Skipper Russell and his GAP certified Seasonal Produce Farm, Chef Heidi Dunkleberg of Coffee Cup Cafe, Sunburst Trout Farms, Balsam Gardens, and Chef Ricardo Fernandez of Wildcat Ridge Farms, were fortunate to be featured in the April/May issue of Smoky Mountain Living magazine in an article, “Preserving Agricultural Heritage” by Jake Flannick.

Here is an excerpt:

In Haywood County, located in far Western North Carolina where both Interstate 40 and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park cross the Tennessee state line, the agricultural community is experiencing a period of regrowth, as community advocates have worked to preserve, and redefine, what many see as essential not only to the local economy, but to the community’s social fabric.

There are Christmas trees and broccoli rabe growers, trout fishers, cattle herders and cheese makers. Roadside stands and farmers’ markets abound. And there are the local businesses, including restaurants that base their menus on seasonal and local ingredients.

The local food trend has led to, among other things, more creativity in many kitchens.

Visit the magazine’s website for the full article, CLICK HERE.

Each time I present a community program about Buy Haywood, or give an interview to members of the media, the most frequently asked question is “Why local?”

According to Agriculture Secretary, Tom Vilsack, U.S. agriculture is connected to one in twelve American jobs.  Supporting local farmers, growers and producers strengthens rural economies and helps fuel innovation—at the local and regional level.  Agriculture is a big part of Haywood County and Western North Carolina.  Support of local agripreneurs keeps farms viable and preserves access to local products while protecting farmland and the rural character of the region.  In Haywood County alone, agriculture accounts for over $22 million dollars in annual revenue.

When we, as consumers, commit to supporting “local” we are building community resilience in economic, environmental and social sectors while also actively exercising our power to create the community we want (both present and future).

Since its inception in 2007, Buy Haywood has worked to connect our growing base of community-minded consumers with quality Haywood County grown products.  Our reach extends beyond “local food” to support over 700 farms encompassing more than 56,000 acres of farmland in Haywood County alone.  Our community of value-added producers, “Farm to Table” restaurants, and specialty food stores carrying items with locally grown ingredients is literally expanding every day!

For a list of local agripreneurs in our neck of the woods and surrounding communities, visit our Online Directory.

Buy Haywood, you will be glad you did!

—Tina Masciarelli, Buy Haywood Project Coordinator