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“Good Fields” Appalachian Food & Farms Festival Launching this Summer

VILAS, NC – The Southeast’s newest food festival, raising awareness of the importance of local farms, is already drawing attention from some of the region’s top culinary minds. Hosted at the 150-year old Shipley Farm in Vilas, tucked away in the hills just a few miles West of Boone, Good Fields will highlight the region’s rich agricultural heritage, with 12 top chefs from across the state drawing from Shipley Farms and other local farm products, Appalachian food and culture and their own inspirations to create their dishes. Good Fields brings together chefs and farmers along with live bluegrass music, local craft beer and wine, vendors, and more.

The chef lineup includes 2019 NCRLA Chef of the Year Steven Goff from Asheville’s Tastee Diner, along with multiple James Beard award nominees and Chef of the Year finalists. The event also features a live music performance by IBMA Showcase Artist Nick Chandler and Delivered, and storytelling from Evan Peter Smith, author of the popular nonfiction novel Here By The Owl.

With the theme of “Local Food Elevated,” Good Fields aims to bring attention and support to the issue of the decline in family farms and agricultural land in the High Country and across North Carolina. Currently North Carolina ranks second in the country for farmland projected to be lost to development in the next two decades. To address this issue, Good Fields will support the programs working on the ground to help support local food and farms, donating a percentage of proceeds to the Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project, Piedmont Culinary Guild, the NC Choices initiative of the Center for Environmental Farming Systems, and the Watauga High School chapter of Future Farmers of America. In the next few years, organizers intend for the event to grow to a multi-day summer festival modeled after other events across the region, with dinners, music, tastings, demos, and other events occurring at farms and local restaurants across the high country each summer.

Bob Shipley, 4th generation farmer and patriarch of Shipley Farms, is the festival’s co-founder and host. He says that his goal is centered around strengthening the local agricultural community so that this way of life can stay around for several more generations.

“I grew up in this community and on this farm. My dad used to ride his horse to Mast General Store as a kid to get flour and salt and canning supplies for his mother. This was all normal to us – we didn’t call it hyper local or pasture raised, it was just food. I didn’t know it was great food, because I barely knew processed food existed.” Shipley said. “It never occurred to us that our experience was a bit unique at the time – but it’s far more unique now. North Carolina has lost over 40,000 farms just since I went off to college. Fewer and fewer people are getting exposed to local farm experiences, and it’s getting harder and harder for local farms to compete, and to make it to the next generation. We think this festival can help bring some attention to that issue, and get some momentum to turn that trend back a little in the other direction.”

Tickets are General Admission, and will go on sale on March 31st. Ticket details can be found at the Good Fields website, www.GoodFieldsNC.com.

The 2023 Good Fields chef presenters include:

● Steven Goff, 2019 NCRLA Chef of the Year | Tastee Diner, Asheville

● Andres Prussing | Golden Owl Tavern, Charlotte

● Andy Long | Over Yonder, Valle Crucis

● Ashley Boyd | 300 East, Charlotte

● Brandon Staton | Leah and Louise, Charlotte

● Cleophus Hethington | Zak The Baker Triangular Traded Spices, Asheville/Miami

● Daniel Wheeler | Caldwell Community College & Technical Institute

● Jamie Davis | The Hackney, Washington

● Preeti Waas | Cheeni Indian Food Emporium, Raleigh

● Sera Cuni | Cafe Root Cellar, Chapel Hill

Beverage samples will also be provided from a variety of North Carolina breweries, wineries, distilleries, and other beverage producers including:

● Bald Guy Coffee Brewing | Boone

● Booneshine Brewery | Boone

● Copper Barrel Distillery | North Wilkesboro

● Eli’s Lemonade | Concord

● Holman Distillery | Moravian Falls

● Lost Province Brewery | Boone

● Moonjoy Meadery | Lenoir

● Old North Shrub | Shelby

For media contacts, or if you would like more information about this topic, please contact Gray Shipley at [email protected].