Spring has sprung, and that means Farmer’s Markets will soon be bustling with activity. Fortunately, Swannanoa Valley residents don’t have to go far to find delicious farm-fresh vegetables.
Every Saturday morning, beginning on May 8, the Black Mountain Tailgate Market will be serving up an enticing array of organic and sustainably grown produce, plants, cut flowers, herbs, locally-raised meats, seafood, breads, pastries, cheeses, eggs and local arts and handcrafted items. This family-friendly community event takes place at 130 Montreat Road. There will be limited entry, with masks and social distancing required.
The restaurant industry has been hit hard during the coronavirus pandemic, and many of our local eateries are struggling to survive. Some, like Swannanoa’s Native Kitchen, have already closed their doors for good.
In an effort to help our local restaurants stay afloat, the Black Mountain – Swannanoa Valley Chamber of Commerce, in partnership with town officials, has launched “Takeout 21”, a new initiative that encourages residents to spend at least $21 a week on takeout meals from Swannanoa Valley restaurants. The initiative officially kicked off on January 27, and continues through the winter.
The Chamber has created a special website that makes it easy for folks to place their takeout orders. Visit www.blackmountainchamber.com for a list of Swannanoa Valley restaurants; just click on the hyperlinked phone number to make your call. There’s also a form you can fill out to pledge your support for “Takeout 21.”
If you have the resources to spare, please consider supporting our local restaurants. It will help ensure that your favorite spots will still be open when springtime finally rolls around.
Okie Dokies Smokehouse in Swannanoa is one of the local restaurants participating in “Takeout 21.”
Swannanoa Valley residents (and others!) can help save lives by participating in a community blood drive on Friday, February 12, from 10:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. The blood drive is sponsored by Friends and Neighbors of Swannanoa (FANS), in cooperation with the Western North Carolina Chapter of the American Red Cross. We’re grateful to Valley Hope Church (115 Rockdale Ave., Swannanoa) for allowing their space to be used for this important community service.
The blood drive is by appointment only. To schedule a time for your donation, please click here or contact Matt at 828-242-6345; firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also visit RedCrossBlood.org and enter Sponsor Code: Valleyhope. Blood donation is a safe process, and only takes about an hour. Social distancing and safety protocols will be followed, including temperature screenings, use of masks and hand sanitizer, and enhanced disinfecting.
All donors will receive free COVID-19 antibody testing. And as a special bonus, Amazon is thanking all donors in February with a $5 Amazon.com gift card by email.
This is the fourth blood drive sponsored by FANS since the pandemic began, with a total of 111 units of blood collected. Thanks to the commitment and generosity of the many donors who have participated in our drives, FANS was recently recognized by the American Red Cross as one of its Premier Blood Partners for 2021. Thank you Swannanoa!
Ever since the early days of the pandemic, Food Connection, a local nonprofit, has been working with community partners to provide free, nutritious meals to Swannanoa residents every Saturday. Although this much-needed service has been in danger of ending several times in the past, new partners have always stepped up to fill gaps in funding and resources so that the program could continue. Recently, this generosity has even allowed the free meal program to expand to two days per week.
Every Wednesday and Friday through February, residents can come to a drive-through location, where volunteers will deliver individually packaged, heat-and-serve meals to your car. The meals are lovingly prepared by the staff at Blue Ridge Assembly.
The Wednesday meal is provided through a partnership between Food Connection and the Swannanoa Welcome Table (which, prior to the pandemic, had offered free indoor meals to residents every Wednesday at the Swannanoa United Methodist Church). The Wednesday pickup location is in the Methodist Church parking lot at 216 Whitson Ave.; hours are 11:30 a.m. – 12:45 p.m.
The Saturday meals are made possible by a grant from The Community Foundation of Western North Carolina. The Saturday pickup location is 105 Whitson Ave. (in the parking lot shared by Beacon Animal Hospital and Educational Partners International); hours are 11 a.m. – 12 noon. If sufficient resources are available, the free Saturday meals may extend beyond February.