Blazing Star Flowers

Suzanne holding flowers in greenhouseBlazing Star Flowers is excited to launch its second season at the SAHC Community Farm after a bountiful and successful start last year!
Hi, I’m Suzanne and I love flowers!” says Suzanne Nolter, farmer and owner of Blazing Star Flowers. “I love growing them from seed, carefully tending them, creating lush, garden-inspired designs and sharing this beauty with the world. I enjoy seeing the smile they bring to a recipient’s face, how they bring an event space to life and the way my heart flutters when I walk past them in my own home. I’ve been an organic farmer for 20 years. I am deeply committed to stewarding the land with great care and reverence. I was fortunate to study Ecological Horticulture at UC Santa Cruz (CA) where I received a life changing education in the foundations of organic growing, as well as the ripple effects that it has into the wellness of our local ecosystems, communities and the planet.In addition to flowers, I have commercially raised vegetables, fruit, berries, honey bees and laying hens over the years. I’ve grown crops for CSA, restaurants and farmer’s markets.”
“I am excited to now circle back to flowers and small-scale farming so that I can put great attention into the details of each flower from seed to bouquet. My farm operation is now based at the Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy Community Farm in Alexander, NC. I feel so fortunate to be an Incubator Farmer here and join this team of dedicated and talented folks who care so deeply about land stewardship and sustainable agriculture. I am the grower, head designer, planner and contact person for all of my products. I want you have a great flower experience, whether I am working with you to plan the wedding of your dreams, a cozy elopement, a special delivery to give a boost to someone special or a weekly CSA subscription to bring nature and color into your home. Please get in touch and let me know how I can help bring more flowers into your world!”


CSA Flower Shares are Now Available

flower bunches with mountain views in backgroundBrighten up your home or workspace with a gorgeous, fresh seasonal bouquet of sustainably grown flowers! Sign up for a single month or the full season, June through September.
Enjoy weekly pre-made bouquets or our popular bucket of loose stems (great for DIY arrangers). They also make a cheerful gift for the flower lover in your life.
Delivery is available or pick up your flowers at the SAHC Community Farm in Alexander, NC or in Weaverville, the River Arts District, or South Asheville locations.

seedlings in greenhouseSales of specialty cut flowers seedlings are new in spring 2022.

Purchase a one-time seedling CSA share to grow your own cutting garden or find our plant starts and spring cut flowers at the East Asheville Tailgate Market (Fridays 3-6) starting April 1st, the French Broad River Garden Club Plant Sale (April 23), or The NC Arboretum Plant Sale (May 28th).

flower bouquet“We love hosting workshops to share our passion for flowers and will be offering more in 2022,” says Suzanne.
Subscribe to Blazing Star Flowers’ email list at https://www.blazingstarflowers.com/ to stay up to date on their upcoming events. They will continue to offer floral designs for weddings and private events, including some at the event space on the SAHC Community Farm!
Contact Suzanne Nolter at blazingstarflowers@gmail.com or 828-484-1123 with any questions about our flowers and services.

About SAHC’s Farm Incubator Program

SAHC’s Farmer Incubator Program is an innovative program that allows farmers to access land at an affordable rate, provides mentorship and professional networking and other support for entrepreneurial or new agricultural businesses. The Farmer Incubator Program is located at SAHC’s Community Farm in Alexander, NC, a 140-acre property that serves as a synergistic model for conservation, environmental stewardship and productive farming working together.

USDA NIFA logoCFWNC logoThis program is funded in part by a grant from The Community Foundation of Western North Carolina and supported by the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Lunar Whale Herbs

About the farm:

Noel in greenhouse

Noel, Lunar Whale Herbs owner

Lunar Whale Herbs is a small scale medicinal and culinary herb farm that strives to bring high quality herbs to our community. Our mission is to connect people with plant medicine and empower you on your wellness journey. Lunar Whale Herbs is part of the Farm Incubator Program at Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy’s Community Farm in Alexander, NC.

“As a seasoned farmer and community herbalist, Lunar Whale Herbs is the culmination of two passions,” says farm owner Noel.  “Having previously worked on various farm operations, I knew I wanted my own farm some day. Four years ago, I followed my intuition towards herbalism and completed an herbal apprenticeship with Milk&Honey Herbs of Shutesbury, MA. It wasn’t long after starting to practice that I found myself fully hooked into the magical and natural healing world of plants. Since then I have completed the holistic herbalism program at Blue Ridge School of Herbal Medicine in Asheville, NC and I am happy to call the mountains of Western North Carolina my home. The plants have led me on this journey and I am eager to share my passion and their wisdom with you all.”

Fresh Herb CSA details:

Bundles of herbs and roots on wooden planksThe fresh herb CSA allows members to have access to high quality herbs and have hands-on experience in creating their own herbal medicines. Members receive 10 shares with 5 generous bundles of fresh leaf, flower, or roots depending on what’s in season along with 3 “how-to” herbal medicine making videos, a PDF with basic medicine making techniques, and an educational email with every share on the properties of each herb and recipes for cooking and medicine making.

Some herbs to expect:

Spring: nettles, comfrey leaf, dandelion greens, garlic scapes, mullein leaf, arugula, chervil, claytonia, cilantro, parsley
Summer: garlic, yarrow, hops, boneset, catnip, feverfew, mugwort, motherwort, red clover, milky oats, sage, thyme, rosemary, oregano, wormwood, mints, shiso, tulsi, basil, anise hyssop, sweet annie, calendula, blue vervain, skullcap, chamomile, echinacea flower, lavender, bee balm, spilanthes
Fall: ginger, turmeric, ashwagandha root, burdock root, yellow dock root, comfrey root, angelica root, dandelion root, marshmallow root, elecampane root

Pick Up Locations:

Bunch of flowers and herbs with mountain and farm in backgroundPick up bi-weekly from June – October

  • Pickups will happen Thursdays from 4-6 on the SAHC Community Farm in Alexander, NC
  • Asheville City Market at the AB Tech campus: Saturday 9:00am-12:00 pm
  • Marshall, NC at The Farm Connection: Thursday 3:00-6:00 pm
  • We are also partnering with The AVL box to provide pick up locations in:
    • Asheville – Pulp+Sprout: Wednesday 12:30pm-4:00pm
    • Asheville – Provisions Mercantile: Thursday 2:00-5:00pmBlack Mountain – Dynamite Roasting Co. : Wednesday 2:30pm-5:30pm
    • Brevard – With Regards: Wednesday 3:00-6:00pm
    • Fairview – Wilderness Plant Shop: Wednesday 2:00-6:00pm
    • Hendersonville – The 2nd Act : Wednesday 12:00-5:00pm
    • Mars Hill – Hickory Nut Gorge Brewery: Thursday 4:00-7:00pmWaynesville – Sunburst Market: Thursday 12:00-4:00pm
      **When you sign up with an AVL box pick up location, you will receive a discount code for 15% off your first veggie box with them.
  • Home delivery: an extra charge of $40 for the season

Pricing:

$ 300 for the season,
Payment plan available for 2 payments of $150

Apothecary Box Details:

Assorted salves and apothecary box goodsThe apothecary box is a monthly subscription box meant to connect you with the rhythms of the season through small batch, lovingly handcrafted herbal products from our farm.

Once a month from April-December (9 boxes) you will receive a box of small batch herbal products. These boxes will include 4 products such as tinctures, teas, salves, herbal infused oils, salt scrubs, herbal infused honeys, herbal syrups, herbal vinegars, oxymel, flower essences, glycerite, elixirs, and herbal seasonings. Each box will have a theme for you to work with that month, such as lymph love, nervous system soother, or boundary maker. These themes are meant to help you really dive into the medicine of that month. An educational insert on the medicinal properties of the herbs and ways to use the products in your daily routine will be in each box as well. Subscribers get special discounts on single apothecary items in our online shop.

Sample Box: Lymph Love to gently detox from winter and prepare for spring!

Lymph mover tincture (Cleavers, Chickweed, and Red Clover)
Lymph massage oil  (Red Clover, Violet leaf, and Dandelion flower)
Tea blend to support your lymphatic system (Red Clover, Calendula, and Mullein Leaf)
Spring Vinegar (Violet leaf, Nettle, Chickweed, and ACV)

There are a few options for receiving your box:

Have the box shipped to you anywhere in the United States!

Local Pick up:

  • At the SAHC Community Farm in Alexander, NC
  • Asheville City Market at the AB Tech campus: Saturday 9:00am-12:00pm
  • Marshall, NC at The Farm Connection: Thursday 3:00-6:00pm
  • We are also partnering with The AVL box to provide pick up locations in:
    • Asheville – Pulp+Sprout: Wednesday 12:30pm-4:00pm
    • Asheville – Provisions Mercantile: Thursday 2:00-5:00pm
    • Black Mountain – Dynamite Roasting Co. : Wednesday 2:30pm-5:30pm
    • Brevard – With Regards: Wednesday 3:00-6:00pm
    • Fairview – Wilderness Plant Shop: Wednesday 2:00-6:00pm
    • Hendersonville – The 2nd Act : Wednesday 12:00-5:00pm
    • Mars Hill – Hickory Nut Gorge Brewery: Thursday 4:00-7:00pm
    • Waynesville – Sunburst Market: Thursday 12:00-4:00pm

Payment details:

Sign up for the apothecary box in 3 month increments (you are not required to sign up for all three).

$150: April, May, June
$150: July, August, September
$150: October, November, December
Save money by signing up for the whole season: $400 April-December (payment plan available)


Donate a Share

bundles of herbs and flowersWe believe herbal medicine is the peoples’ medicine.

You can donate to match a Fresh Herb CSA or Apothecary Box to help support herbal education and access to fresh herbs and herbal medicine in communities in Asheville. Southern Appalachian Highland Conservancy Community Farm will be distributing the shares with community partners; Lunar Whale Herbs is accepting donations to provide herbal medicine to our community partners.


About SAHC’s Farm Incubator Program

SAHC’s Farmer Incubator Program is an innovative program that allows farmers to access land at an affordable rate, provides mentorship and professional networking and other support for entrepreneurial or new agricultural businesses. The Farmer Incubator Program is located at SAHC’s Community Farm in Alexander, NC, a 140-acre property that serves as a synergistic model for conservation, environmental stewardship and productive farming working together.

USDA NIFA logoCFWNC logoThis program is funded in part by a grant from The Community Foundation of Western North Carolina and supported by the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Incubator Program Farmers Offer 2021 CSAs

We welcomed three new farm operations to our Farmer Incubator Program at the beginning of the year – and these three operations will be offering CSAs (Community Supported Agriculture subscription plans) for the 2021 season. We encourage you to sign up soon for the these CSAs. Your early investment helps the farmers get an early start in the season, then you enjoy the rewards of the harvest. More details on offerings, payment options, and pickup will be announced. From fresh mixed veggies – to medicinal herbs, tinctures, and salves – to stunning cut flowers, our SAHC Community Farm farmers have you covered!

Read more

Farmer Incubator Program – Call for Applicants!

Farming is a business… What’s your business plan?

Do you have a farm business idea? Make it a reality! You are invited to join Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy’s Farmer Incubator Program, a “business incubator” for farm operations.

Why a “Farmer Incubator”?

Farming = a long-term game. Traditionally, farming was a lifelong+ learning process, with families passing along experience, knowledge, and land accrued by multiple generations. Today, your experience in farming may be different. This program is part of a collaborative support system to help “incubate” farm businesses as they grow.

What do you get out of it?

  • Access land, support, and knowledge sharing. Land is one of the biggest expenses in farming. Get your farm operation to a successful state while in the Farmer Incubator Program, before taking on the cost of a land purchase. Benefit from weekly meetings with the Farm Manager and educational opportunities in our network.
  • Learn efficiencies to improve your bottom line. Streamline farming practices to create efficiencies and increase your profitability.
  • Feel empowered to try something new. Focus on farming, growing your contacts and sales connections, and developing your farm marketing, without worrying about paying a monthly mortgage for farmland.

Who can apply?

Beginning farmers with initiative — those who have some farm experience, but less than 10 years. Maybe you are a farmer currently in production but don’t have enough land.  Or, you’ve been working on someone else’s farm and feel prepared to start your own farm enterprise. Perhaps you finished an apprenticeship, farmed for a few years, and are ready to take your farming career to the next level.

Come Grow with Us….

Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy is expanding our Farmer Incubator Program onto land we acquired adjacent to our Community Farm. Be part of this expansion! On this property, we will implement a variety of agricultural techniques aimed to address climate change.

Find out more! Send us an inquiry, or begin the application process now.


SAHC’s Farmer Education Workshop Series is funded in part by a grant from The Community Foundation of Western North Carolina. This material is based upon work that is supported by the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program under award number 2016-70017-25341  for Farm Pathways:  Integrating Farmer Training with Land Access. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Performance Horses and Cattle

Brahman-Longhorn cow and calfThis year we welcome Wesley (Wes) Buckner and Cheyenne Cearley of WC Performance Horses & Cattle Co into our Farmer Incubator Program. Wes and Cheyenne are operating a cow-calf operation on the farm, with plans to build up their herd of Brahman-longhorn cross cattle.

“We wanted to be part of the Farmer Incubator Program to take our herd and cattle operation to the next level,” says Wes, who grew up in the area and currently works as a farrier. “It’s such a great opportunity, set up perfectly for what we need and only two miles from our home. We look forward to the next few years growing our herd and farming skill sets. The Brahman-longhorn cross we are breeding are very hearty animals who do well in many conditions and can clean up rough terrain, like a goat. We were also drawn to their unique look.”

Nature Experience Director Lauren meeting Brahman-longhorn bullExotics like the Brahman-longhorn cross can help diversify a cattle program, commanding a higher price at market, and may be favored by landowners for managing fields because they are beautiful and resilient foragers.

“I’m a young farmer who is passionate about farming and preserving the lifestyle and land,” continues Wes. “My family has been farming this area for several decades. As we are now taking over and branching out on our own, it’s sad to see less and less farmland available in the region.”

The Buckners have historic family roots in the Alexander community, and Wes remembers his father purchasing bulls from Robert and Marie Anderson, who owned the Community Farm property before it was donated to SAHC. He recalls Mr. Anderson as a “very fair and honest person.”

“I really enjoy being out on the land caring for my animals,” adds Wes. “We hope to grow a big enough herd and find land for long-term lease or buy pastureland after our term in the Incubator Program is over, so we can continue farming for years to come.”

From the Farm: January 2019

Our Community Farm Manager, Chris Link, blogs about updates from our Community Farm:

Greetings, all — from the winter quiet on the SAHC Community Farm in Alexander!

We enjoy the break in buzzing activity that comes every January. Not completely dormant by any means, this season for planning and taking stock is valuable in its own right.

While I can wax poetic about the meditative frosty mornings and the fun flurry of animals moving around (one resident fox is quite obvious in the still and monochrome landscape), there’s much work to be done on our ongoing projects here. We’re planning work in the stream restoration area which improves our water and habitat, preparing community kitchen space which will open to the public this spring (along with our new event venue!), and organizing many educational workshop offerings — including a controlled-burn to support the fledgling short-leaf pine habitat.

Headwaters Market Garden will be getting early spring crops seeded and growing in February.

We’re also hoping to expand our team of incubating farm businesses who grow and/or raise animals out here!  If you need to take the next step in your farm business, our Farmer Incubator Program is set up to support you.  We have many types of infrastructure for varying enterprises, staff technical support, access to the Organic Growers School Farm Beginnings training, social media and marketing support.

Click HERE to apply today.

Half Pint Farm

New participants in our Farmer Incubator Program, Claudie Babineaux and Sarah Bostick have been doing very physical labor for years. However, they frequently run into people who challenge the idea that two petite ladies can accomplish such work. In naming their farm business “Half Pint Farm,” they decided to ‘own it’.

“This name, Half Pint Farm, really works for us because people have always challenged our ability to do things because of our size,” shares Sarah. Their farm name also relates to scale of production — Claudie and Sarah have both worked in intensive farming on 5-10 acre parcels in the past, primarily in Florida and Maine, but they now want to focus on a smaller scale. They are using their first year in our Farmer Incubator Program learn about the particulars of farming in the Southern Appalachians, such as how soil and weather behave with certain varieties of produce.

“We have experience in farming, but not here in the mountains,” says Sarah. “We aspire to own our own farm, and it’s important to do a lot of learning before investing in our own land. We plan to use our time in the program to learn about the intricacies of farming in this soil — in this climate and landscape — because it’s really different from what we’re used to.” Read more

From Kudzu to Cover Crops

Our Community Farm continues to serve as a model — balancing agricultural production with environmental responsibility while providing educational opportunities.

Farmer Incubator Program

Will Salley and Savannah Salley of Headwaters Market Garden use a unique French method of bio-intensive vegetable production on small acreage. Currently in their first year of full-time farming, they have wholesale and restaurant accounts. They will return to the downtown Asheville City Market in the Spring, to host a booth on Saturday mornings. Next year, they plan to expand their operation with mushroom and egg production. Read more

Headwaters Market Garden

We welcome Will and Savannah Salley of Headwaters Market Garden, new vegetable producers on our Community Farm. Their operation focuses on growing seasonal mixed vegetables and culinary herbs. Will and Savannah recently returned to the Carolinas after living in Maui, Hawaii and are launching their new  market garden business through participation in our Farmer Incubator Program.

Read more