Fall is a busy time around the Exchange Place Living History Farm. Between field trips, the Fall Folk Arts Festival and highly-popular Witches Wynd, it's one of the site's busiest times of the year.
When something is important, however, you make time for it and that's exactly what the Exchange Place is doing this fall by introducing a brand new and unique event designed to raise funds for a cause near and dear to the hearts of the historic site and the people who love it.
Sassafras Supper, a fundraiser for the Exchange Place Junior Apprentice youth program, will be held at 5:30 p.m., Friday, Sept. 22, at St. Paul's Episcopal Church, located at 161 East Ravine Road, in Kingsport. The event will feature a delicious and creative farm-to-table supper created by local chef Nathan Brand, a keynote talk by award-winning cookbook author Sheri Castle, and traditional Appalachian music performed by Katie Hoffman.
People who know food know Sheri Castle. Her "New Southern Garden Cookbook" was selected as the 2012 Cookbook of the Year by the Southern Independent Booksellers Association. She is a former senior food editor for "Southern Living" magazine, and has published numerous cookbooks.
Brand is also making quite the name for himself among foodies. He has cooked at many fine restaurants across the United States and abroad, and is currently working on bringing his special brand of locally-focused, ingredient-driven, no-waste cooking to Northeast Tennessee.
Hoffman isn't a stranger to folks here in the Appalachian region either. The founder and owner of Appalworks.com, she is a singer and scholar of traditional Appalachian ballads and has a CD, "Beautiful Day," to her credit. The co-chair of the 2003 Appalachian section of the Smithsonian Folklife Festival and the traditional music producer for a four-part PBS series entitled "Appalachia: A History of Mountains and People," Katie has also studied regional foodways and worked for years on local food initiatives in Appalachia.
Volunteers from Exchange Place will be on hand at the supper to talk about the site and the Junior Apprentice program, which unites young people between the ages of 12 and 18 with a passion for history and community service. As a non-profit, volunteer-run living history farm that interprets antebellum life in rural Northeast Tennessee, Exchange Place is the perfect place for the Junior Apprentices to hone their skills and knowledge by attending workshops and engaging with the public at events and festivals.
All profits from the Sassafras Supper will go to the Exchange Place Junior Apprentice program.
Tickets for the event are $100. In addition to the special farm-to-table supper, speaker and entertainment, each ticketholder will receive a one-day pass to Exchange Place’s Fall Folk Arts Festival (good for either Saturday, Sept. 23 or Sunday, Sept. 24). All profits will go to the Exchange Place Junior Apprentice program. Tickets are available online. You can visit exchangeplace.info and follow the link near the top of the page to the Sassafras Supper or purchase directly online at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/sassafras-supper-tickets-36196669212. Or call 423-288-6071.
The Fall Folk Arts Festival will be held from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Sept. 23, and from noon to 5 p.m., Sept. 24, at The Exchange Place. Admission is $3. In addition to her talk at the Sassafras Supper, Castle will also give a couple of short talks at the festival on Sunday, Sept. 24. Scheduled for 1 and 3:30 p.m., each talk will cover a different topic and provide opportunities for questions from the crowd. Castle will also be available at select times during the festival for those who want to meet and talk with her, or purchase a book and have her sign it. Those times have not yet been determined.