Annie Louise Perkins is the co-manager of Flying Cloud Farm and serves on Asheville’s Slow Food USA board. Annie’s farm is located just outside of Asheville and provides the community with fresh produce and fresh-cut flowers.
I remember canning, making jam and freezing the summer bounty with my grandmother and mother so we could have delicious food to eat all year.
When it comes to farming, I remember playing hide-and-seek in the sweet corn fields, pulling weeds so big they were over my head, eating cherry tomatoes and cucumbers right off the vine and picking salad greens just in time for dinner.
As the oldest of 5 kids and 21 cousins who grew up in a ‘back to the land’ household on a family farm, I wanted nothing to do with kids, animals or dirt when I left home at 18.
After two years at UNC, I took a year off and traveled and worked in Europe. I worked on two farms, an organic farm in northern Germany and a small CSA farm in south England.
These experiences opened my mind the different kinds of agriculture around the world and made me see potential for our family farm in Fairview. After graduating from Warren Wilson College, my husband and I started a small farm business with a half-acre in production. We now have 14 acres in production and derive the majority of our income from our farming business.
I grew up eating fabulous homemade food, raw milk, grass-fed beef, lots of homemade jam and chicken we processed ourselves. I deviated from this awesome diet when I left home, and realized how important good food is for general well being.
Now we grow the raw ingredients for meals for our CSA members and market customers. We want to educate them on simple cooking techniques and recipes that take advantage of all the wonderful farm goods in this area.
When we realized farming would be our livelihood, it made the most sense to start the business on land we could rent from family.
Now that we have been farming for 10 years, we rent from neighbors and extended family. Our customers are close and the open agricultural land is highly valued by the community.
I love to eat good food! I love to grow the raw ingredients! I love growing, harvesting, washing and preparing produce for market.
Food brings people together and everyone has food memories they want to share. I joined the Slow Food board to help balance the growing we do on the farm with a global political movement that brings people together from all over the world.
The Asheville group has been active for almost 10 years. The board is a mixture of people concerned with the many aspects of food.
The movement worldwide made a shift at the most recent Terra Madre to emphasize the social justice aspect of food, with the goal of good food for everybody.
Here in Asheville, we eagerly embraced the charge and developed a program to teach cooking classes to kids with fresh local ingredients; the program is called FEAST.
Our country has encouraged the growing, processing and consuming of cheap food during the last century.
The Slow Food Movement encourages people to cook whole foods with real ingredients to create food that is both tasty and nutritious.
The people of Asheville love food and are concerned about food justice, so it fits right in to the Asheville scene.
Seasonal, local food abounds at the many area tailgate markets, locally owned restaurants, natural food stores and farms to be enjoyed by locals and tourists alike.