Berries are a highlight of summer in the Southern Appalachians. Market shoppers and chefs alike rush to their kitchens when strawberries and blueberries burst onto the scene. During peak berry season at The Hop Ice Creamery in West Asheville, raspberries and blackberries are piled high on prep tables, ready to be turned into ice cream.
Reid Chapman from Head of the Holler Farm in Madison County arrives with blueberries for a new sorbet the creamery is developing. Michael Rayburn from Rayburn Farm in Barnardsville is right behind him with a hard-to-find local ingredient: lime basil. The fresh basil has a bright, citrus flavor without the bitterness that could affect the sweetness of the sorbet.
Greg Garrison went wild for the lime basil when he first tasted it and started brainstorming ways to combine it with other summer produce. He says blueberries from Head of the Holler Farm were a natural choice because they’re fresh, local, and unique. “These blueberries are ones we haven’t been able to find elsewhere, so knowing that we’re being a part of that community and using it to create something new and fresh, it’s all fun.”
At Ultimate Ice Cream in Asheville, the team is working on a blueberry lemon custard made with local jam from Imladris Farm. Kevin Barnes, the owner of Ultimate Ice Cream, was on the hunt for new berry producers at ASAP’s Business of Farming conference last year. Working with local farmers has been part of the company’s mission for over a decade.
“We love these relationships and we love to be that link from the farmer, through our product, to the people,” he says.
Taste for yourself at a fundraiser for ASAP at The Hop Ice Cream Cafe on July 28 from 3-9pm. Special flavors will highlight produce from local farms. Find out more here.
Aired July 24, 2017