Fish food: Aquaponics offers full-circle farming

out frTucked away along a squirrely offshoot of Jonathan Creek Road, Dennis “Bear” Forsythe’s 15-by-15-foot greenhouse is like his own private Eden. The small outbuilding in rural Haywood County holds 500 plants representing 58 species, everything from pineapple to pepper. 

“I just love doing it,” Forsythe said. “You have running water and it’s soothing, it’s relaxing. You come out here and you say, ‘I grew everything here from seed.’”

Having a cow: PETA accuses local dairy of animal cruelty; inspectors say otherwise

fr petacowsSwarming flies. Cows trudging through knee-deep manure. Lame legs, an overgrown hoof, blood oozing from a nose. Bones protruding from emaciated bodies. There’s no denying that the picture painted in a recently released video from People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals was a grim one.  

Seeds of Change: Trading seeds is at root of effort to save crops

out frSurvey your supermarket and you’ll see pretty much the same stuff anywhere in the country: oranges from Florida, onions from Georgia, potatoes from Idaho. 

Some variety has crept in recently — with artful displays of mountain-grown produce paying homage to the local food movement — but generally the corn we eat in North Carolina is the same corn they’re eating in Iowa and Utah. 

Capturing success in a jar

fr copperpotIt’s about preserving tradition — delicious tradition.

“We live in a small town, and it’s wonderful when you start meeting local farmers and seeing what they’re trying to do, trying to support themselves by living off the land,” said Jessica DeMarco. “It’s appealing, and we want to help support this concept, this way of life.”

Fresh from the farm: Meat gets a sizzling reception at farmers market

coverBy Paul Clark • Correspondent

Mary McNeil carried her shopping bag around Haywood’s Historic Farmers Market like a kid on Halloween. In went fresh-ground sausage, newly prepared chorizo and a few cuts of meat from animals that spent the summer happily munching Haywood County’s glorious green grass. 

Walking through the market outside the Haywood Arts Regional Theatre on a crisp fall day, McNeil felt good not only about the quality of meat she was buying from a surprisingly large number of meat vendors, but also about what she was doing for the local economy. Buying meat from local farmers helps them keep their land in farms and their families in the pink. 

Cultivating dreams in Appalachia

coverSunshine spills into Jackson County. The warm late summer rays cascade down into the mountains, ultimately flowing into the fields of Balsam Gardens. A handful of figures are seen wandering the mystical property, picking some of the freshest and finest produce found in Western North Carolina.

“Being able to remake my own little piece of society in the way that I want to with my hands is what keeps me going,” said Steven Beltram. 

Growing pains: Farmers pay the price as elk herd damage crops, fences

coverIt is a common story — a species once eliminated returns to find not everyone welcomes it back with open arms. The return of wolves to northern Wisconsin, the reintroduction of beavers to the United Kingdom, and now the elk in Western North Carolina.  

After disappearing from North Carolina in the late 1700s, the elk have since made a comeback from the history books in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park — from zero to a successful and ever-growing herd in short time. But with their renewed success in their historic home, so comes a newfound set of problems.

Fumes kill one, hospitalize a dozen in Macon

fr nortonfarmsAn incident at a farm facility in Macon County last week left one worker dead and caused the hospitalization of more than a dozen people.

Volunteers glean picked-over fields to feed the hungry

fr gleaningAt the end of every crop’s season, farmers pick the fruits or vegetables that are pretty enough to sell in the grocery store. Once they are done, they plow under the leftover produce. 

From farm to table

out frGet to know your local farmers and learn some tricks from green thumb masters during the annual Jackson County Farm Tour and Garden Walk from 1 to 5 p.m. this weekend, July 20 and 21.

The tour takes participants from sheep farms to urban gardens on a self-guided agricultural jaunt across Jackson County. The event gives the public a chance to meet the farmers who grow and raise their food. It is put on by the Jackson County Farmer’s Market.

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