by Madison V. Fisler
March 21, 2014. The New River Organic Growers (NROG) will offer High Country residents and visitors a unique culinary experience on April 6 at The New Public House in Blowing Rock.
The New Public House will host six renowned local chefs in a dinner fundraiser for NROG, where each chef will prepare one of six courses for dinner guests from locally grown produce. And the best part is that guests will get to meet the farmers providing the ingredients for the meal.
“Farmers get really excited when people care enough to want to know where their food is coming from and how it’s produced,” said Amy Fiedler, owner of Springhouse Farm.
“It’s a real great connection between the farmers, the chefs and the community.”
New River Organic Growers is a farmer’s cooperative of the High Country selling produce, meat, cheese and eggs. It was begun in 1998 to help farmers’ transition from tobacco. It has grown into a large cooperative selling local food to restaurants and retailers throughout the High Country and the Asheville area.
“Last year was an epically disastrous year for the farming community because of all the rainfall,” Fiedler said. “All the rain destroyed our crops, and New River Organic Growers also had to replace the engine in the delivery truck, which was a huge expense. Right now, all the farmers are trying to raise money for the organization to help it keep doing what it does.”
NROG offers an incredible service to the community.
“NROG is a cooperative of about 60 farms whose goal it is to buy the local food that we grow and deliver it to market and to the local restaurants. NROG really allows the farmers to spend more time in the field. I think that anyone who has an interest in local food and food that is humanely raised, this is a great chance for them to show their support. If you eat at local restaurants, chances are you have enjoyed the benefits of New River Organic Growers. Without this organization, it just isn’t going to happen here. It is really a great chance for people to come out and show support for this great organization.”
The event will kick off with a farmer meet and greet at 4 p.m., where guests can meet the farmers whose food they will be eating later in the evening.
Next will come the dinner, which will be prepared by six local area chefs who have donated their time and expertise to turn these fabulous ingredients into delicious meals. The dinner will feature chefs from Mast Farm Inn (Andrew Long), The New Public House (Michael Foreman), G’s at Gideon Ridge (John Dean), The Gamekeeper (Edwin Bloodworth), Vidalia (Sam Ratchford) and Rowland’s at Westglow Spa (Nate Curtis). Beer pairings will be provided by Appalachian Mountain Brewery.
Dinner will be served by the farmers themselves.
“All of these chefs support local food and support the local farms,” Fiedler said.
“It’s going to be a really neat and unique experience, the first of its kind in this area. With the Fire on the Rock competition going on, this is really the opposite. Instead of chefs competing, it will be six well-known chefs working together for a cause. It’s a real connection between the farmers, the chefs and the community. It’s just magic.”
The ticket prices for the dinner are now $60 per person and $100 per couple. Raffle tickets for fabulous prizes will be on sale at the event for $5 each.
Tickets can be purchased online at www.NewRiverGrowers.com.
“We really encourage people to come out and enjoy, while helping out a great cause,” Fiedler said.