When Cheryl Hillis started managing vacation rentals in Haywood County 15 years ago, Airbnb didn’t exist, reservations were made with phone calls and mailed checks, and she lived nowhere near Western North Carolina. Hillis was the face of Buffalo Creek Vacations, but she took reservations and managed payments from whichever town her military husband and their four boys lived at the time.
A car rolls up the gravel driveway to the barn that serves as the main headquarters for KT’s Orchard and Apiary in Canton, and Kathy Taylor — better known by her initials, KT — drops what she’s doing to greet the new visitor.
When Gary Griffith woke up a rainy Tuesday on Aug. 17, 2021, he never imagined that by the next morning, the 12 acres of green peppers he’d grown along the Pigeon River in Bethel would rest in drifts miles downstream, the unofficial symbol of the catastrophic tragedy that was Tropical Storm Fred.
Rain was coming down hard as Gary Griffith surveyed his fields in Bethel, around 4 p.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 17. Harvest season was in full swing, and before he went home to Ratcliff Cove, he wanted to make sure his 15 acres of peppers and cucumbers growing along the Pigeon River would make it through the storm.
It was a flood of memories I hadn’t thought of in years. There I was on a date with this girl the other day. She works in town, not far from my apartment. A casual conversation turns into a casual drink. Kind of nice to have that rare interaction these days amid “all this,” truth be told.
When spring sprung in 2020, so did the Coronavirus Pandemic, forcing farmers to make life-altering decisions in the face of an unknown future. A recently published survey of Southern Appalachian farmers shows that those decisions built a reality that was better than anticipated but still full of challenges.
By Laura Lauffer • Contributing writer | During the holiday season, we often recognize and appreciate the farmers in our community for the abundance of food on our tables. Three women farmers in the region shared their farming experience during this challenging year, what it means to them to farm as women and how they continued to grow and distribute their goods to the community in the challenging times of COVID.
Back in the 1990s, Karen and Johnny White were in a nomadic phase of life, spending several months traveling the country in search of a place to call home. Time after time, they found themselves most drawn to small towns with vibrant farmers markets.
The holidays have come and gone, and we are in that New Year period where the kids are still out of school and all the days blend together. This is a great time of year to begin thinking about spending for Christmas 2023.