Valerie Horn, Cowan Community Center
Seedtime on the Cumberland was this weekend at Appalshop, in Whitesburg, KY. We were happy to set up there for the weekend and hear the music, see the crafters and artists and be a part of celebrating this special place. We weren’t under the big tent with the crafters/artists or the music tent, but were proud of the presence we had for local foods and growing our community representing Grow Appalachia and Cowan Community Center, Community Farm Alliance and the UK Appal-TREE Project, Mountain Garden Initiative, Letcher County Farmers Market and Cowan Creek Mountain Music School.
In the spirit of Seedtime, we held a Sweet Potato workshop in the theater at Appalshop and were happy to bring in 65 folks to learn about Sweet Potatoes-From Slips to Sales. Sarah Fannin, UK Ag Extension Agent in Morgan County and Fannin’s Farm Manager in West Liberty, KY was our presenter and did a sweet job of selling us on the benefits of the sweet potato. The folks who are established growers are so willing to share of their time and experience and Sarah proved yet again, how generous farmers are in shining a light for others. Upon arrival, she got word of a family emergency in West Liberty, but said, “I’m going to do the presentation before I leave, I feel I’m here for a reason.” Respect and thanks to Sarah for her time Saturday.
After the workshop we distributed 6,000 sweet potato slips to our growers and visitors at the Seedtime Festival. We had six varieties and sweet potatoes will be plentiful at the Letcher County Farmers Market this fall. Varieties we shared were:
Beauregard – Red variety, 90 days. Burgundy – Red variety, 90-100 days. Covington – Red commercial, 120 days. Murasaki – Purple skin, white flesh, 120 days. Orleans Red – Red variety, 90 days. Bonita – White variety, 90 days.
We all had motivation for growing Sweet Potatoes with tastings of the delicious Sweet Potato biscuits, recipe thanks to Sheri Castle, and Sorghum Butter prepared locally by Icing on the Cake. Hoping the acres of sorghum that have been planted have a nice long summer and we can make both of these this fall w/fresh ingredients.
Shane Lucas, Dock Frazier and Rick Brashear brought up some produce for our booth and got a head start on the market, which officially opens this Saturday, June 13th. We were happy to have fresh peas, broccoli, cauliflower, onions, mustard, kale, cucumbers, romaine lettuce and greens. All sold out and we are looking forward to more. Don Maggard, brought some of his saved seeds for new growers looking for tried and true local seeds.
The booth had plenty of traffic, we offered refreshing cucumber infused water that was a crowd pleaser and accepted donations for the Double Dollars Program. Our LCFM T-shirts arrived just in time and we will be selling those to add to the Double Dollars Program. Thanks to Mountain Comprehensive Health Corporation, UK Gill Heart Institute and ARH for the purchase of t-shirts and allowing us to sell for 100% profit for the Double Dollars Program. Community Farm Alliance had a nice West 6 Brewery glasses to sell and new members came on board.
Special sightings at Seedtime included Grow Appalachia Coordinators, Brett Ratliff from Hindman Settlement School and Kathryn Engle from Knox County at Lend a Hand. Always nice to see Maggie Bowling, who was my mentor as a Grow Appalachia Coordinator. Look for more stories on the Humans of Central Appalachia Facebook page.
The weekend was well spent and lots of good talk. Thanks to our Robertson Scholars, Henrik and McNair who helped so much. As always I appreciate Hilary Neff , Holly Boggs, Abby Maggard and David Fisher for their work in making it all happen. Our Cowan folks, Nell Fields, Isaac Fields and Bev May always make the load lighter. Thanks to Angie Mullins, CFA Breaking Beans Contributor for the images.
Note: I’ll be adding more pics and the powerpoint from the workshop if you want to come back and visit.
If you’d like to learn more about sweet potatoes.