Find that Elusive Herb at WNC Herb Festival - TribPapers

Find that Elusive Herb at WNC Herb Festival

Shoppers at the 2021 Spring Herb Festival at the WNC Agricultural Center. Photo Courtesy of the WNC Herb Marketing Association.

Fletcher – Gardeners are out searching for their favorite herb to plant. They are needed to include them in the cook’s favorite recipe. There is just no substitute for fresh herbs. These herbs can make a dish taste heavenly. Alas, many are not found in the local garden store. Someone may be looking for French tarragon to use with fish or chicken; others may be looking for a fresh dill plant to add flavor to their wine-chicken recipe; others may want more mint to be sure to have enough sprigs for their mint juleps that they plan to be serving for the Kentucky Derby on May 6th. Fortunately, the Asheville Spring Herb Festival is just the place to find these less plentiful herbs.

The Asheville Spring Herb Festival will return for its 33rd year on Friday, May 5, at the WNC Agricultural Center in Fletcher, NC. The herb event runs three full days, concluding at 3 p.m. on Sunday, May 7. The free festival will be open to the public from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday and Saturday and from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday. This year’s festival includes more than a dozen presenters offering workshops throughout the three days, including a panel discussion of “Stories of the Earth” and a presentation by well-known local author Peter Loewer. His presentation is on Friday, May 5th, at 3:00 p.m. in the Workshop Tent near the Expo Center. Peter is a writer, graphic artist, photographer, and botanical illustrator who deals with books on natural history, gardening, great gardeners, and science for children. He has written over thirty books on gardening and natural history, including the award-winning “The Wild Gardener.”

The Ag Center is located at 761 Boylston Highway, just south of the Asheville Airport (I-26 Exit 40). Admission and parking are free. Enter the Ag Center grounds at Gate 5, one-half mile south of the Asheville Airport entrance, and head toward the back of the Ag Center to the Expo Center.

Wide Variety of Products

The Spring Herb Festival brings together more than 65 vendors of herb plants, vegetable starts, and locally made, natural herbal products ranging from salves and ointments, soaps, and body washes to culinary and medicinal extracts and supplements. Cara Mae Skin Care will be selling Potters’ Skin Butter, a deeply hydrating, non-greasy lotion to replenish moisture when nothing else works. Coyote Cove will be offering all-natural soaps, solid shampoo and conditioner bars (to help cut down on plastics), and a small batch line of haircare products. ZenJenSkin products source their divergent skincare ingredients from the pristine Amazon jungle to the Blue Ridge Mountains, which are suitable for the most sensitive skin.

In addition, many growers will be offering heirloom vegetables, medicinal native plants, and other sustainable-garden trees, shrubs, and plants. High Country Nursery in Fairview will be offering Japanese maples and other fine ornamental trees and plants. They will be able to provide expert advice on the best selection and exact placement of your plants and trees.

The amount of sun, shade, and soil types are some of the critical factors in determining what plant or tree will actually grow and thrive in a particular location.

The Spring Herb Festival is organized by the WNC Herb Marketing Association, established to promote opportunities to develop the region’s agriculture and specialty products. Many young farmers and entrepreneurs join with second- and third-generation families to ensure the health and long-term future of WNC’s herb industry. By keeping alive ancient traditions of natural healing and health maintenance, the WNCHMA works to reestablish and educate contemporary citizens about some of the recipes, methods, and treatments developed by African Americans, Native Americans, and other traditional specialists in “wise-woman” lore.


The free workshops for the 2023 festival include several presentations on woodland medicinals and herbal first aid, as well as special presentations on preserving with vinegar, lavender cultivation, container gardening, and no-till cultivation. There will also be a book signing by local author Juliet Blankespoor, founder of The Chestnut School of Herbal Medicine and author of “The Healing Garden: Cultivating and Handcrafting Herbal Remedies.”

For more information and a listing of days and times for the various workshops, visit the festival website at or at, or call 828-301-8968.