FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 10/29/2019
Contact: Sylvia Crum
Director of Communications and Development
Appalachian Sustainable Development to host open house at Appalachian Harvest Food and Herb Hub
ABINGDON, Va. – The Appalachian Harvest Food and Herb Hub, 280 Boone Trail Rd, Duffield, VA 24244, is hosting an open house on Friday, November 15 from 11am to 2:30pm. Smokin’ Pete’s Barbeque food truck will also be on site selling lunch. Staff will provide facility tours and share trends about emerging markets, along with opportunities for local farmers to diversify their farm operations. Visitors will learn about the variety of services provided and how this leader in the local foods movement has helped local and regional farmers sell more than $18 million in produce and medicinal herbs to retailers and brokers since it opened.
One of the longest running rural food hubs in the country, Appalachian Harvest opened its doors in 2000 to help tobacco farmers who were losing subsidies remain on family farms by growing fruits and vegetables instead. Today, the 15,000 square foot food safety certified facility also houses an Herb Hub. Launched in 2017, the Herb Hub provides medicinal herb farmers with training, shared-use commercial herb processing equipment, cost-share for planting stock and certification and aggregation and marketing services to connect to premium-priced markets in a growing medicinal herb industry.
Over the years, staff members have developed relationships with national grocers and retailers, built on honesty, integrity and transparency. Acting as liaisons between wholesale buyers and farmers, staff members secure orders from food brokers, retailers and herb manufacturers, ensuring highest prices paid to farmers. Appalachian Harvest also provides herb processing equipment, aggregation, marketing and distribution support, and training in best farming practices, food safety and organic and forest grown certification to farmers.
Due to Appalachian Harvest’s success and experience, in 2016, the Appalachian Regional Commission awarded ASD $1.5 million to create a food distribution corridor that supports sustainable jobs in local food production and distribution. The Central Appalachian Food Corridor connects producers in five states to wholesale and retail outlets searching for local products along the east coast. The goal of the Corridor is to impact communities by leveraging the large markets Appalachian Harvest already serves.
By 2018, Appalachian Harvest Food and Herb Hub cumulative revenues climbed to $17.5 million, selling local grown produce to 11 grocery store chains extending from Maryland to Georgia that provide access to approximately 3,800 stores.
About Appalachian Sustainable Development (ASD)
Nationally known and respected for its commitment to local farmers, Appalachian Sustainable Development is transitioning Appalachia to a more resilient economy and a healthier population by supporting local agriculture, exploring new economic opportunities and connecting people to healthy food.
Since 1995, Appalachian Sustainable Development (ASD) has been working in 15 counties in Central Appalachia. ASD’s reach has since expanded to include partners in eastern WV and KY and southeast Ohio. ASD uses six strategies to accomplish its work: education, increasing local food production, developing markets, increasing distribution of local agriculture products, engaging strategic partners, and researching/consulting and advising. ASD operates programs that create jobs in farming and agriculture and address food insecurity. For more information about ASD go to www.asdevelop.org, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and Twitter.