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9th Annual Business of Farming Conference Slated


On Saturday, February 25th, current farmers and those seriously considering farming as a profession are invited to a day-long Business of Farming Conference. Join the Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project (ASAP), local farmers, agriculture professionals, and business and marketing specialists and participate in the 90-minute learning sessions designed to help farmers build their businesses.


The Business of Farming Conference will be held at Warren Wilson College, Swannanoa, from 8:30 am to 5 pm. Cost is $30 per person or $45 for two farm partners before February 1st; $35 per person or $50 for two farm partners after February 1st.


Conference registration includes your choice of workshops, meetings with restaurant and wholesale buyers, a locally sourced breakfast and lunch, and a comprehensive resource notebook.


Workshop topics include:

  • Selling to Restaurants
  • Promoting Your Rural Market
  • Managing Labor on the Farm
  • Hosting Families and School Groups
  • Quickbooks™
  • Salesmanship
  • Food Safety Certification
  • Easy Website and Blog Platforms
  • I Have a Website...Now What?
  • Farm Business Planning
  • Brief consults with lawyers and others

For more information, call 828-236-1282, or go to where you can register online.

Saluda Celebrates Town History with New Website

The  historic small town of Saluda has just launched a new website,, that celebrates the history, people and places of the community, including a compilation of oral histories collected from a number of Saluda's elders.


The site was created by the Historic Saluda Committee, an advisory committee to the City of Saluda, a group that also created a film documentary, Home, Hearth and History: Stories of Old Saluda, which was released in the spring of 2011. Sales from the documentary helped to finance the website.


The website features film snippets from the documentary and never-seen-before footage of the interviews conducted during the making of the film. Since the oral history project is on-going, more interviews have been conducted since the documentary was completed, which are being archived on the website as well.


The site will also archive hundreds of old and new photographs, provide information about the progress to restore the Saluda City Hall, and feature information about the annual Historic Tour of Homes, Saluda's history, the railroad, historic homes and inns, and pictures of Saluda's people from the past and present.

Just Say Cheese and Pose with These Beauties

The small town of West Jefferson has been known for its creative spirit and the fifteen murals that adorn buildings throughout the town. Now the town is celebrating the installment of the community's most recent public art created by welding students at Ashe County High School--three giant cows that greet visitors to Ashe County Cheese, North Carolina's oldest cheese plant.


The students created three large, in-proportion cow heads from steel and attached them to three 5000-gallon milk tanks. The giant cows, now painted black and white, stand at the entry to the plant, and have become quite an attraction for visitors.


"I think the fact that this is something very visible to the public is the most rewarding part of the project for me and my students," said Rusty Rogers, the school's welding instructor. "Every time we go through town and see people standing beside them, having their pictures taken, it reminds us that we have made something that will be enjoyed by many people for many years."


Recently the project won an Award of Merit in the promotion category as part of the 2011 North Carolina Small Town Main Street Awards. The honor will be presented at the organization's annual awards program on January 26.

Yadkin Valley Wayfinding Project Debuted

The Yadkin Valley Heritage Corridor Partnership rolled out a new identity and integrated Wayfinding Program for the Yadkin Valley on Tuesday, Dec. 20.


A new logo, regional visitor brochure, website, visitor kiosks, and vehicular signage are part of a comprehensive program being developed to position the Yadkin Valley as a regional tourism destination.

Lynn Minges, assistant secretary for Tourism, Marketing, and Global Branding for the North Carolina Department of Commerce, and other local dignitaries were on hand for remarks.


“This is a very exciting initiative that will yield big results for the four-county region,” said Minges. “This Yadkin Valley program will be an important prototype for our other rural communities working on tourism development.”


The Yadkin Valley Heritage Corridor is developing a “place-based” economic development strategy to reposition the upper Yadkin Valley of northwest N.C. as a regional tourism destination focused on recreation, cultural heritage, and wineries.


“The Partnership has been working closely with MERJE Design,” said Helen Ruth Almond, project manager.

“They are one of the top-rated environmental design agencies in the country, and have extensive experience in North Carolina and in rural communities."


The Blue Ridge National Heritage Area provided two grants to the Partnership, one at the beginning of the project that helped to fund a Feasibility & Economic Impact Study for the proposed four-county project, and a second to help pay for the printing of the marketing brochures.


Excerpted from the Yadkin Ripple.  To read more, click here.

Nantahala Outdoor Center Receives Prestigious Award

Nantahala Outdoor Center (NOC) will receive the 2012 Outdoor Industry Association (OIA) Outdoor Inspiration Award at a ceremony presented by the OIA and Adidas Outdoor on January 20th in Salt Lake City, UT. The award is the industry’s top honor for businesses contributing to the future of outdoor recreation, voted on by an expert panel of peers from the outdoor industry.

The Outdoor Inspiration Awards are given to companies and individuals that “are breaking new ground and getting people outdoors.” NOC’s nomination highlighted the following efforts by the company:

  • Starting the Canoe Club Challenge, an annual series of paddling races based on participation instead of competition. This paddling event had over 1500 starts making it the largest whitewater slalom event in the country in 2011. It was free to participants.
  • Supporting the Nantahala Kids Club, a local area outreach program offering free paddling lessons and outings to over 40 local schoolchildren from 6 to 16 along with use of gear and equipment.
  • Launching and growing the NOC Youth Paddling Team, an effort to sponsor youth paddlers who promise to focus on school, promote whitewater paddling as a recreational activity and to live a drug and alcohol-free lifestyle while improving as whitewater athletes.
  • Sponsoring and hosting the Camp Cup Challenge, an event giving over 150 youth paddlers at North Carolina's large summer camp community the chance to paddle in a large, end-of-season inter-camp competition.
  • Opening an experiential retail environment at the Gatlinburg entrance to Great Smoky Mountains National Park that educates visitors on easy guided and do-it-yourself recreational opportunities in the National Park, hosting over 300,000 visitors in 2011.
  • Winning a bid to host the 2013 ICF Canoe Freestyle World Championships on the Nantahala River in North Carolina to promote regional paddlesports opportunities to a worldwide audience.
  • Contributing to the successful effort to build a permanent world-class kayaking wave on the Nantahala River for free public use and provide for a long-term legacy for the event.
  • Hosting twelve additional outdoor events including a large AT thru-hiker festival, the USA Canoe and Kayak Team Slalom National Championships, the National Wildwater Team's training camp and an Olympic Day festival where kids were invited to paddle with NOC’s very own Olympic athletes.
  • The company’s commitment to sustainable building practices, demonstrated by three US Green Building Council LEED certified projects in the last year.

NOC President and CEO Sutton Bacon remarked “We’re humbled to receive this award from our peers in the outdoor industry. There is no better validation for our mission to get people outside and offer the very best

programs in outdoor recreation and education. This is a wonderful and unexpected honor.”


NOC Marketing Director Charles Conner added, “It’s important to note that we wouldn’t be receiving this recognition without our regional partners who collaborated with us on many of the projects considered by the OIA. Also, we’re blessed to have guests who are committed to their outdoor lifestyles, and who are always game to pilot NOC’s new offerings and programs.”


The award comes as the company celebrates its 40th anniversary. Since opening in 1972 NOC has been one of the nation’s premier outfitters, outdoor retailers and roadside attractions.

Blue Ridge National Heritage Area • 195 Hemphill Knob Road • Asheville, NC 28803
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