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BRWIA announces grant recipients

Article Published: Apr. 14, 2011 | Modified: Sep. 7, 2011

On April 1, Blue Ridge Women in Agriculture (BRWIA) announced the recipients of the 2011 Sustainable Food and Agriculture Grant.

The purpose of this new grant program is to strengthen the local food system by supporting female farmers, ranchers and processors who plan to create sustainable solutions to producing or marketing obstacles in the High Country.

Lee Carlton Swift of Goldenrod Gardens will use grant funding to establish a water conservation system using innovative irrigation and repurposing techniques.

Holly Roark of Buckskin Hollow Homestead will use funding to explore the feasibility of top bar hive beekeeping.

Both Swift and Roark will lead a workshop or demonstration that will provide producers and other community members with an opportunity to learn from their project results.

On Tuesday, April 26, BRWIA will host the first of a series of farm business management workshops: Cash flow and record-keeping.

Shiloh Avery and Jason Roehrig of Tumbling Shoals Farm will teach farmers how to project income and expenses over time. They will demonstrate how this tool is integral in making farm business decisions and planning and budgeting for new or expanded enterprises.

The workshop will be held at the Agricultural Conference Center, 252 Poplar Grove Road in Boone, from 6:30 to 8 p.m. There is a $5 workshop fee, and RSVPs are required. To register, e-mail ( or call (828) 264-3061.

Summer is a time of abundance in the High Country. Make plans to join BRWIA for a wild fermentation workshop in May, a beer-brewing workshop on Saturday, June 4, and the 2011 High Country Farm Tour on Aug. 6 and 7. More details to come.

Here is Mel Weiss's favorite cornbread recipe. It is similar to my own, but I use olive oil instead of butter and skim milk instead of whole for heart health, with my family history of heart attacks. Beautiful presentation with the sage leaves.

Sage and Honey Skillet Cornbread

Bon Appétit - November 2007

This bread is turned out of the skillet to reveal a lovely array of whole sage leaves. Makes 10 to 12 servings.


1 cup cornmeal (preferably whole grain, medium grind)
1 cup unbleached all purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons chopped fresh sage plus 12 whole fresh sage
1 cup whole milk
1/2 cup honey
1 large egg
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Heat heavy 10-inch-diameter ovenproof skillet (preferably cast-iron) in oven 10 minutes.

Whisk first 4 ingredients and 2 teaspoons chopped sage in large bowl to blend. Whisk milk, honey, and egg in medium bowl to blend.

Remove skillet from oven; add 1/2 cup butter. Swirl until butter is melted. Pour all except 2 tablespoons butter into egg mixture. Add whole sage leaves to butter in skillet; toss to coat. Arrange leaves over bottom of skillet, spacing apart.

Add egg mixture to cornmeal mixture; stir until just combined (do not over mix; batter will be wet and runny). Pour batter over sage leaves in skillet. Bake until browned around edges and tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 22 minutes. Cool in skillet 10 minutes. Invert onto platter. If necessary, reposition sage leaves atop cornbread.

Margie Mansure, M.S., R.D. is a registered dietitian/nutritionist and extension agent with N.C. Cooperative Extension. She offers personalized classes to improve the health of citizens in Watauga County through worksites, schools and community groups and is the local food coordinator for Watauga County. To contact Margie, e-mail or call (828) 264-3061.

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