Asheville – With a full array of every kind of herb imaginable, the Asheville Spring Herb Festival will be returning for its 31st year on Saturday, May 1st and Sunday, May 2nd, 2021. However this year it is being held at the WNC Agricultural Center at the Expo Building across from the Asheville Airport in Fletcher, NC (rather than the Farmer’s Market) from 8 am to 7 pm Saturday and 9 am to 5 pm on Sunday—only two days instead of three. Sadly, due to the pandemic, there was no festival last spring which has attracted as many as 35,000 people from all over the South—Virginia, South Carolina, Tennessee, Ohio and Kentucky. Some make a full weekend of it, meeting friends to visit Western North Carolina.
There will be many vendors of herb and vegetable starter plants, including heirloom vegetables, seeds, fruit trees, exotic plants and associated products. A few to note are Bear Necessities with many fruits berries, edible flowers, and vegetables; Blue Sky Botanicals, which grows and gather high-quality herbs to create custom tea blend, tinctures, syrups and more; Flytrap King with carnivorous plants; Huffman Herbs with herb plants, medicinals, herb crafts, dried herbs, pain pillows and seasonings; Sow True Seed with a collection of over 500 types of GMO-free vegetable, herb and flower seeds; and Useful Plants Nursery which is a permaculture-based nursery specializing in useful, phytonutritional, food, and medicine plants well-adapted to the Southern Appalachian mountains and surrounding bioregions. This is only a short listing of the vendors who will be present at the Festival. A complete list of those planning to be there can be found at www.ashevilleherbfestival.com.
In addition, dozens of specialists who create and sell salves and ointments, culinary and medicinal extracts, soaps, body washes and supplements, as well as cheese, pickles, baked goods and other ready-to-eat foods infused with locally sourced herbs are attending. Educational classes and demonstrations will be held throughout the weekend, giving information on soil amendments, gardening techniques, better care of plants, and herbal medicine. On Saturday, classes will be held at 11 am, 1 pm, 3 pm, and 5 pm; on Sunday just 11 am, 1 pm and 3 pm, Sadly the Master Gardeners will probably not have a table this year, as they are staying away due to Covid restrictions, and the face painting may not take place.
Cecilia’s Kitchen food truck will be on-site, offering empanadas, tamales, soups, salads, and gluten-free crepes. Homegrown Coffee Company will be there with their tasty coffee and baked goods, as well as Luscious Liquor Ice Cream will be bringing their cart filled with Italian gelato, decadent frozen desserts and liquor-infused ice cream. No need to go hungry as visitors can easily pick up a snack or meal, or visit the Ag Center concession stand.
WNC Herb Marketing Association
The 2021 Spring Herb Festival is organized by the WNC Herb Marketing Association. Originally it was the western NC branch of the NC Herb Association, which oversaw the festival from 1990 through 2017. That year it was established its nonprofit organization to focus on the mountain region. A. D. Reed is the Festival Manager. The board of directors includes Keith Byrom (Basil King), Erica Curtis (Cedar Cliff Farm), Janet Kent (Medicine County Herbs), Jeannie Dunn (Red Moon Herbs), and Joel Mowrey (Smokin’ J’s Farm). Executive Director is A. D. Reed. North Carolina sponsors of the 2021 Spring Herb Festival, in addition to the WNCHMA, are Smoky’s J’s Fiery Foods of Candler, Appalachian Seeds (West Asheville), Huffman’s Herbs (Morganton), Mills Garden Herb Farm (Statesville), Raindrop Ridge Farm (Washington), Red Moon Herbs (Candler), the Farm Connection (Marshall), and Wildwood Herbal (Weaverville).
Admission and ample parking are free. Guests are asked to enter the Ag Center at Gate 5, one-half mile south of the Asheville airport entrance. Masks will be required of visitors and vendors, while inside the building. The building has many roll-up delivery doors, which will be kept open throughout the festival to help with ventilation and easier pick-up.
For more information, visit the Festival website via QR code or on Facebook at https://facebook.com/AshevilleHerbFestival/; their phone number is 828 301-8968.