Maria here in Williamson, WV, back again for another Grow Appalachia growing season. Well…the snow finally hit us here in West Virginia (as I am sure it did most of you), and since we have finally had some down time while being covered up in snow, we have been able to finalize some exciting upcoming plans.

Since this is the most crucial planning time, I thought that I would share two upcoming events that ya’ll might be interested in participating in. The first is our third annual seed swap. This event is always relatively small, but an event that our growers truly enjoy.

Seed Swap

The next is an event to be held on March 1, which will be a labeling and processing class held by Teresa Halloran from the West Virginia Dept. and Agriculture to teach people how to get their label and recipes approved so that they can safely and legally be sold at the farmers market. This process is often daunting and overwhelming for some of our growers, and so we are hoping that this will help encourage people to value add their products.  We are offering this class in conjunction with a BBQ dinner, which will be prepared a vendor that has gone through this process to get their BBQ sauce approved.

The location that this event is going to be held at is going to be our temporary community kitchen. We have plans for 2016 to develop out a building in Williamson to be a more centralized community kitchen and food hub, but in the meantime a local restaurant and partner, Wingos Grill, has been working with the WVDA to get their kitchen certified and plans to let community members use their kitchen for a small fee during the week when the restaurant is closes. If anyone is interested in attending this workshop, please call the number below!
Processing Workshop

Finally, one other thing that we are excited about is the buyer surveys that will be completed in February. Last year, we did a producer survey, identifying farmers and growers throughout the county with a goal of increasing production. We plan to further connect these growers to new and existing buyers by identifying what the need. This will help our larger market growers know what to grow.

Looking forward to a very productive and exciting 2016!