Rustic wedding venue planned in Haywood

By Vicki Hyatt | Oct 30, 2013
Photo by: Vicki Hyatt photo Joseph, Tara and Ashe, 7, are shown at the Cathey's Walnut Grove Farms.

When Joseph and Tara Cathey held their dream wedding in a rustic, outdoor setting, it did more than create a beautiful lifetime memory of the beginning of their life as a couple.

It has sparked a desire to offer others a similar opportunity.

The Catheys operate Walnut Cove Farms on the 200-year old family property just outside Waynesville. In addition to their landscape business, the couple grows vegetables that are sold to consumers through a "Community Supported Agriculture" or CSA program, delivered to area restaurants or available the Waynesville Tailgate market.

There's a spot on their property surrounded by trees that overlooks the mountains and a portion of the Mountain Research Station that will be a perfect site for a wedding. A golf cart can be used to transport guests up a slight hill to the site, and rustic buildings near a pond can serve as the focal point for the reception.

"We want to create a space in Haywood County for others to have a similar rustic wedding experience," Tara Cathey said of their wedding. "It's also a great way to showcase these beautiful mountains."

The site will showcase dogwood, redbud, cherry and apple trees in bloom in May and June, have multiple varieties of wildflowers in bloom during July and August and be ablaze in fall color during the fall months.

In case of bad weather, tents will be available and those selecting the Walnut Cove venue will have the option of incorporating the fresh fruits and vegetables grown on the farm into their reception menu.

"We can offer catering in house using local ingredients and our produce," Tara Cathey said, "and we can also deliver vegetables and herbs to the client's caterer of choice."

Heirloom varieties

The Catheys focus on heirloom varieties — ones that can be openly pollinated unlike the genetically modified seeds widely available on the market.

There are a number of heirloom tomato varieties available, and the couple has found an heirloom sweet corn variety that's a sure winner.

"Corn has been hybrid for so long that this was hard to find," he said. "We have the potential to grind cron for our own breads.

The Cathey farm harkens back at least 200 years, said Joseph Cathey III, and his intentions are to maintain the sustainability that has long been associated with the land and the family.

Event venue

The outdoor venue will be open to not only weddings, but to other events as well.

"We would like to have a farm-to-table type event each month from April to November offering live music, local food and sustainable living demonstrations," Joseph Cathey said.

For example, April would feature cooking ramps or polk salad. May would feature organic gardening techniques and planting by signs, June will be inoculating mushroom logs; July cooking in a Dutch over, August will be a canning demonstration, September will focus on seed-saving techniques and October will highlight making apple cider.

Outdoor space rental for those planning events will start at $2,000 and the cost will increase from there depending on the other type of services or food desired.

To find out more about the venue or becoming part of the Walnut Cove Farms CSA program, call 400-0115 or email