People, plants, and products
Every spring, more than 35,000 residents and visitors come to the Asheville Herb Festival to find the southeast’s best variety and selection of herbs, herb plants, and herb products ranging from herbal salves, balms, lotions, and ointments to herbal soaps, shampoos, and medicines. You can buy how-to books on cooking with herbs, herbal healing, and herb gardening, and even take a break to enjoy a fresh-cooked lunch and herbal beverage. The 2014 festival takes place Friday, May 2, Saturday, May 3, and Sunday, May 4, 2014.
Learning to love herbs
There’s no shortage of opportunities to get an herb education at the festival. Most vendors have specific areas of expertise, such as growing herbs from seed, turning herbs into medicines and other products, or creative cooking with herbs. You can learn about cultivating perennial plants and landscaping your garden – even a container garden – with herbs. There’s also an information booth operated by local Master Gardeners certified by the Buncombe County Extension Service [http://buncombe.ces.ncsu.edu/], who are always willing to answer questions about planting, growing, and caring for herbs.
Western North Carolina is a southeastern mecca for high-quality, often organically grown herbs, vegetables, and other produce. Conservation easements help farmers preserve existing farms and establish new ones, and many farms are dedicated to organic agriculture practices such as producing heirloom vegetables and range-fed livestock. Among the area’s many growers of herbs and other traditional plants, the Asheville Herb Festival has become an annual opportunity for old and new friends to show off their latest plants and products and share their knowledge. “The herb festival is sort of like a family reunion,” remarked Rick Morgan, who founded the festival 25 years ago. “When we get together in the spring, everyone has news to share. It’s a very friendly atmosphere.”
Since its founding by a small group of dedicated herb farmers, the three-day festival, sponsored by the WNC chapter of the NC Herb Association, has grown into one of the Southeast’s most important annual events for herb lovers of all stripes. The festival is open from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. on Friday and Saturday and 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. on Sunday.
Asheville Herb Festival
PO Box 1427
Candler, NC 28715
A. D. Reed at 828-301-8968