By Calie Brummer
On Friday, May 4, through Sunday, May 6, the 29th annual Spring Herb Festival returns to the WNC Farmers Market. With more than 60 herb growers and vendors in attendance, this year’s festival offers a wide variety of options for adventurous gardeners and chefs alike. Festival hours will run from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Friday and Saturday and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Sunday.
“Over the past 28 years, the Spring Herb Festival has grown into the largest herb event in the country,” says Andy Reed, festival manager. “That’s happened in conjunction with the growth in popularity of organic farming and local food sourcing and alongside Asheville becoming one of the most recognized ‘foodie’ places in the United States. Working with naturopaths has become an important part of the healthcare industry and the herb festival has been a huge part of that movement.”
The festival is free and open to the public, welcoming gardeners and herb enthusiasts from across the nation to shop vendor booths and attend free workshops hosted by experts in the field of herbology. Along with hundreds of varieties of herbs, many growers at the festival will offer herb-friendly vegetables for home gardens, including heirloom tomatoes and eggplants as well as non-GMO starter seeds and starter plants. Various extracts, tinctures, soaps and essential oils, along with carnivorous plants, worm-casting compounds and natural fertilizers for home gardening will also be available for purchase. Master gardeners from Buncombe County Extension Service will be on hand to answer gardening questions.
“Guests can always expect a great time and a wide variety of local herbs, lotions, plants and yard art at the festival,” says Erica Curtis, festival vendor and board member of the WNC Herb Marketing Association. “The herb festival is such a wonderful experience because it is all about community and supporting local businesses, farmers and growers. It’s amazing to see the excitement and wonder on children’s faces when they smell or taste a plant or herb.”
The WNC Farmers Market is located at 570 Brevard Road, adjacent to I-40 (exit 47). Admission, workshops, parking and shuttles to the festival grounds are free and open to the public. For more information, visit ashevilleherbfestival.org.