Farm Fresh

Farm Fresh: Warren Wilson College’s new general store offers student-grown food and more
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The General Store is a great place to buy locally raised meat and other food items, but shoppers can also find various student-made goods for sale.

Warren Wilson College recently celebrated the grand opening of the Farm School General Store, a retail space that showcases the school’s meat products, fresh fruits and vegetables, and other handmade items made by the college community. Blair Thompson, farm manager, says that although other goods are sold as well, there's a lot of empasis on food products from the school.

All products are made, grown, or produced locally, and most of the general store’s offerings are created by students on campus. All Warren Wilson students are members of a work crew; these groups take on a variety of responsibilities that support the school, such as academic and administrative roles, land management, crafting, facility management, and more. These work crews supply the shop’s goods, which rotate based on the students’ availability and production. 

Founded in 1894, the Warren Wilson Farm sits comfortably in the Swannanoa Valley, boasting a 300-acre plot of land that is home to an ever-rotating crop collection and over 1000 animals, with agriculture students tending to the farm’s needs. “Generally, having a local food source that your community knows is available creates resiliency and creates community pride,” in their ability to be self-reliant, which is a part of the college’s tradition—with food at the bedrock—according to Thompson. 

By purchasing meat and other foods through the general store, shoppers are supporting local, renewable foodways. “I don’t know if I want to claim a particular word for us,” Thompson explains, “but we definitely think of our farming practices as being something that is very rooted in our space here, in the reality of what it means to farm in the mountains of Western North Carolina.”

Although the farm has had sales and other stores in the past, the General Store has ushered in a new era of connection and collaboration. “When we farm here, we grow food that is going to be useful, healthy, and available to our community,” both human and nonhuman, Thompson says. Alongside growing food, “we want to have a farming practice that is able to persist well into the future because it’s contributing to that future.” The Warren Wilson General Store is currently only open on Saturdays, but buyers can order many different cuts of meat (individually or in bulk) online to be picked up at their convenience.

Off To The Farm
Warren Wilson General Store
108 South Ln., Swannanoa
Saturdays, 10 a.m.-2 p.m.
(828) 771-3014; warrenwilsoncollegefarm.grazecart.com