Sunburst Trout Farm, Hop’n Blueberry, Group Dinner

National Trip Day 12

Our daily coordinator keeping us on schedule for the day…

…and making sure everything is just right.

Passed a paper mill in Canton, NC on the way to our first stop of the day.

Wes from Sunburst Trout Farms gave a great tour of their processing facility, raceways and ponds, and allowed for tasting of their delicious value-added products.  Located below Lake Logan, the trout have all the cold, clean water they need.  Sunburst has found ways to reduce waste by better packing materials and also providing compost to local farmers.
Value-added products we got to taste included (l-r) cold-smoked, hot-smoked, smoked tomato jam, goat cheese spread, trout jerky, and smoked dip. Not shown, my favorite, caviar – which we got to try at dinner!

Chef Charles hired to develop new products, reveals his new creation – trout burgers!

Sunburst provides frequent and reliable delivery of fresh product to area restaurants and supermarkets – my dinner the night before at one of Asheville’s fine restaurants!

Our second stop of the day was Hop’n Blueberry Farm in Black Mountain, NC – a seventh generation family sustainable farm specializing in hops, blueberries, butterflies, medicinal herbs, and pollination.  http://www.hopnblueberryfarm.com/.  Our host, Van Burnette tells the group about the DIY ingenuity of his family that first brought electricity to the area.

Van also spoke about his passion for conserving increasingly rare woodland herbs, such as ramps or wild leeks.

Hop’n Blueberry works with organizations such as the Xerxes Society to provide habitat for butterflies and bees.

Van explains how an underground bumblebee hive works – complete with milkweed floss which was prized for its insulating features in naval jackets – better than down and non-allergenic.

And a home for native bees.

Van motions toward the fields of hops while the rest of us keep our hands in warm places.

We were able to warm up a bit during lunch.
The view from Tyler’s uncle’s house in the mountains above Asheville – a beautiful setting for our group dinner.
Gathering for introductions in the kitchen.
Gary (Tyler’s dad) documenting the festivities – no selfies please 🙂
The spread included local favorites and some of the Commander in Chiefs fav ribs.
Thanks to Tyler and the Jones’ for all their help in planning, driving, and warm hospitality.

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