A country boy can survive
My wife and I recently attended a wonderful harvest celebration and ‘farm to table’ dinner at the home of Joseph and Tara Cathey. I’ve written about the talented Cathey family in the past — from Joseph’s father, Joe, who raises award-winning day lilies in Jonathan Valley; to his aunt, Grace Cathey, whose metal sculptures adorn downtown Waynesville; to cousin, Cathey Bolton, whose pottery studio in Frog Level celebrates its fifth anniversary this Friday.
Joseph Cathey is quite an artist himself, and his handcrafted; rock waterfall is the signature feature of the Viau hacienda landscaping.
Did you know? — In addition to his landscape and rock-wall artistry, Joseph Cathey grows heirloom tomatoes and a variety of other vegetables — all organically (non-certified) on the family farm in Bethel.
One or more of the Cathey’s have farmed this land for more than 200 years, and Joseph has done the family proud — providing quality vegetables to many Haywood County restaurants, including Frogs Leap Public House and Blue Rooster Southern Grill, plus Sunburst market.
This year, Joseph and Tara decided to share their bounty with local residents, and formed Walnut Cove Farms CSA. Nearly than two dozen families signed on, and enjoyed a full season of farm-fresh produce. Many attended the year-end ‘farm to table’ dinner.
It was gratifying to meet so many people who learned about CSAs in my column this spring, and now raved about how much they enjoyed a full season of farm-fresh produce.
The Cathey family held the dinner to say “Thank you” to those who supported them throughout the growing season. The setting was the Walnut Cove Nursery, a stone's throw from the Haywood County Extension.
The food, as you might expect, was fresh and bountiful — from the heirloom tomato salsa to fresh-roasted red pepper humus — mini heirloom ‘mater pies to barbecued Angus hamburger sliders made from Haywood County’s own grass-fed Sunburst beef. Beverages were also local-farm inspired — from fresh squeezed heirloom tomato and mountain apple cider to Smoky Mountain Roasters coffee.
Desserts included homemade apple stack cake and Tara’s ‘Winter Luxury” pumpkin pie, sweetened only with local honey.
A great ‘farm to table’ dinner wouldn’t be complete without a little bluegrass music, so the Joseph and Tara arranged for Eddy Rose & Highway Forty to entertain the crowd.
It was a perfect evening, but the thing that captivated me was the special activities for the children. There were none.
City kids would have been horrified. They would have clinged-on to their parents and whined, then whipped out their iPhones, iPads, and other portable hypnotic devices and retreated into their own electronic world.
Not these country boys and girls. They just played — like I remember playing ‘back in the day’ — running, jumping, chasing, tagging, playing on the swing set, balancing on the log that crossed the stream or helping tend the bonfire.
These country kids had fun, and in the process exercised their arms, legs and imaginations. They were rarely out of their parents’ sight, but never under foot.
It was a wonderful sight to behold — kids actually playing.
All the while, their parents were free to enjoy the great the music and friendly conversation. I took more pictures of the kids that day than anything else, and all the while reflected on the Bocephus song, “A country boy can survive.” — which (sadly) none of my grandkids have on their iPhones.
To get more information about the Cathey's CSA, simply point your browser to www.walnutcovefarms.com.