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  • Homesteading in WNC

    Tuesday, May 2, 2023   /   by Amy Brown

    Homesteading in WNC

    As our culture shifts to a more farm to table lifestyle, many homebuyers are looking to purchase a homestead rather than a traditional city house. Homesteading in WNC can be a very peaceful and rewarding endeavor if you know where to search.

    Homesteading is not a viable option in Asheville, however, there are plenty of outlying areas that are not too far away from the city where homesteading can be a reality. 

    If you prefer to be on the western side of the county, you will want to look at Candler, Leicester, Enka, and Canton.

    Northern side, Weaverville, Alexander, and Marshall.

    Eastern side, Fairview and Black Mountain.

    Southern side, you will need to go into Henderson county to Hendersonville or Mills River.

    Growing crops in North Carolina:

    Part of the agricultural diversity in North Carolina is thanks to the state’s own geographic and climate diversity. Warm weather plants and trees like citrus can even survive in the warmest areas of North Carolina as long as they are protected on the coldest days.

    Image by 1778011 from Pixabay

    The USDA Hardiness zones in North Carolina range from zone 5b peppered throughout the western, mountainous area of North Carolina to 8b in southern coastal areas. The central parts of the state are comprised of zone 7a and 7b. Most plants will grow in these zones, with the exception of tropical varieties.

    The growing season in North Carolina generally ranges from around late March to early November; rain falls year-round in a range of 37 to 50 inches annually. The state experiences some intense humidity, especially in the southernmost border and coast.

    North Carolina grows more sweet potatoes than any other state, over 1.7 billion pounds annually. Other warm-season crops like beans, cantaloupes, corn, cucumbers, eggplant, okra, peppers, pumpkins, southern peas, squash, tomatoes, and watermelons also grow well in North Carolina. Among cold-season vegetables, beets, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, collards, kale, kohlrabi, lettuce, onions, peas, potatoes, radishes, rutabagas, spinach, Swiss chard and turnips all grow well in North Carolina. 

    Biennial crops like artichokes grow the first year, and flower, fruit and die the second year, and perennial crops such as asparagus and rhubarb live for many years once established in North Carolina.

    North Carolina is a state of diverse geography, ranging from sandy barrier islands on the eastern coast to the Appalachian Mountains on its western border. The state and boasts over 400 different types of soil. The most common soil (which is also the state soil) is Cecil soil, a fertile red clay soil containing decomposed granite and quartz, covering 1.6 million acres in the state’s Piedmont region. Over half of the Cecil soil in the state is cultivated for growing crops like corn, tobacco, and cotton, while the rest is used for pastures and forestland. 

    Raising animals in North Carolina:

    North Carolina ranks among the leading states in the production of hogs, broiler chickens and turkeys. Other livestock products commercially produced in North Carolina include milk, beef cattle, eggs and ducks.

    Image by biggirl107 from Pixabay

    North Carolina is a “fence in” state, which means that it is the duty of the owner of livestock or poultry to keep the same confined within adequate fences. Some western states have free range which means that animals are allowed to roam and it is the duty of one who does not want the animals on their land to fence those animals out.

    There are several livestock auctions that take place throughout the state of North Carolina, including the Carolina Stockyards in Siler City, the Cleveland County Agriculture and Livestock Exchange in Shelby, the Harward Brothers Livestock Market in Turnersburg, the Stanly County Livestock Market in Turner and the WNC Regional Livestock Center in Canton.

    Selling food in North Carolina:

    Entities and individuals engaged solely in the harvesting, storage, or distribution of “raw agricultural commodities — that is to say, fresh, unprocessed fruits and vegetables — are exempt from compliance with the Good Manufacturing Processes set forth in federal regulations, assuming that they have been adequately cleaned prior to sale. Low-risk packaged foods are the only products allowed to be manufactured in home kitchens. These can include certain categories of baked goods; jams and jellies; candies; dried mixes; spices; certain sauces and liquids; and pickles and acidified foods. Regarding eggs, no license or permit is required to sell eggs on a farm, at a roadside stand or at a farmers market.

    Farmer's markets:

    There are several farmer's markets that allow you to set up your booth and sell your homemade products weekly.

    Asheville city market

    WHEN: Every Saturday, 9 a.m.–12 p.m., April–Dec. (winter market hours: 10 a.m.–1 p.m., Jan.–March)

    WHERE: North Market Street between Woodfin and Walnut streets in downtown Asheville. The street is closed to traffic during market times.

    East Asheville Tailgate Market
    Running during from April through November, you can find us every Friday from 3-6pm at 954 Tunnel Rd and from 2:30 - 5:30pm during our November markets.

    North Asheville Tailgate Market
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    Visit us Saturdays in 2023

    February & March, 10am – 1pm

    April – November 8am-12pm

    November 25th – December 16th, 10am -1pm

    On the beautiful campus of UNC Asheville

    WNC Farmer's Market


    WNC Farmers Market: 24/7, 361 days a year market access for farmers 
    Office: Monday- Friday, 8am-5pm 
    Market Shops: 7 days a week, 8 am-5 pm 
    Wholesale and Truck Sheds: 7 days a week 

    These are just a few of the locals markets. There are so many more as this is a very important aspect of our Appalachian heritage. As you move into the area, take an afternoon to visit. You will not only learn about NC agriculture but you will also see how North Carolinians are making sustainable living a way of life.