At the nearly 50 tailgate markets that take place across Western North Carolina, consumers vote with their dollars to support local food systems, and farmers commune over the shared challenges and pleasures that come with farm life while exchanging tips and knowledge.
Graham and Wendy Burgh of Dry Ridge Farm in Marshall credit ASAP for helping them get established at the Asheville City Market, where they sell pastured eggs, pork, and grass-fed beef. Photograph by Sarah Jones, courtesy of ASAP
Black Mushroom Trumpet Farm
Tom Elmore serves as a mentor for Gwen Casebeer and Jay Englebach, who graduated from the school’s yearlong Farm Beginnings program and now operate Black Trumpet mushroom farm down the road from Elmore.
Tom Elmore, a founding member of the Organic Growers School and owner of Thatchmore Farm in Leicester
Paul Littman and son, Abe, tend to the organic tomatoes in the hoop house.
Assistant farmer Brook Sheehan harvests okra.
At Ivy Creek Family Farm, advanced apprentices spend at least a year or more honing their skills. Here, they work alongside the Littmans harvesting kale for wholesale operations like home delivery service Mother Earth Produce.
Organic Growers School Farmer Programs Director Cameron Farlow oversees the organization’s CRAFT Farmer Network program, which facilitates farmer-led learning experiences that include monthly farm visits where participants gain knowledge about various aspects of sustainable farming.
A group tours Tom Elmore’s Thatchmore Farm in Leicester.
Katie Grear and Mike Adams operate Lady Luck Flower Farm on former tobacco fields in Leicester, where they grow dahlias, peonies, roses, zinnias, and other vibrant beauties for weddings, farmers markets, and U-pick visitors. The couple received a grant from ASAP to help market their venture, and now hold internships and workshops on the farm that help others learn. Photograph by Sarah Jones Decker, courtesy of ASAP