When you’re on vacation, deciding where to eat each meal and when to cook can be tricky, especially if you’re looking for healthy options that still provide some variety. For guests traveling to Haywood County, there’s a new solution — a solution that also works to the benefit of local farmers.
Last week, the NC State Extension announced it has expanded the Vacationer Supported Agriculture program beyond the counties in the eastern part of the state where it’d be previously piloted out to Haywood County. The program coordinates the sale of weekly produce bags to vacationers over the busy leaf season, as demonstrated in this short animation.
Project Director Laura Lauffer said she and her team were thrilled to bring the VSA pilot to Western North Carolina.
“Coastal vacationers have been enjoying fresh produce for their vacations for years, and we are ready to connect local farmers to our visitors in Haywood County,” Lauffer said. “We’re excited to work with Magnolia Concierge, Smoky Mountain Rentals and Maggie Mountain Vacations to launch ordering this week! We’re thrilled that our local partners Elevated Mountain Distillery and Bosu’s Wine Shop are the pick up points — introducing vacationers to more fantastic vendors in the region!”
Haywood County Tourism Development Authority Director Lynn Collins was equally enthusiastic at the chance to provide visitors with locally-grown ingredients and also wanted to thank the local partners involved.
“The Haywood County Tourism office is happy to promote the Vacationer Supported Agriculture initiative along with the participating Vacation Rental companies,” she said. “It’s a great opportunity for local farmers to showcase their produce to our visitors.”
The extension’s partner, EmPOWERing Mountain Food Systems, will collaborate with the Haywood County Tourism Development Authority and the county’s co-op extension to launch the project. Guests can pick up their bags at Elevated Mountain Distilling Company in Maggie Valley or Bosu’s Wine Shop in Waynesville Thursdays from noon to 6 p.m.
According a press release announcing the program, Local Real Estate Agencies are directing clients to the following order links to enjoy a farm fresh bag of local produce on their arrival to the region. Mighty Gnome Market Garden, Bertolli Agricola and Outlaw Acres farms are providing the produce to clients of Maggie Mountain Vacations, Smoky Mountain Retreat and Magnolia Concierge.