From dinners to art exhibitions to trivia and much more, the Watauga Food Council is coordinating a series of events to celebrate “Greening My Plate” month in April.

“This is our seventh year to promote healthy eating and local foods during April,” said Margie Mansure, extension agent with the N.C. Cooperative Extension in Watauga and Caldwell counties. “The first year it was just a week and it was too much for a week so we made it a month.”

Mansure said that April is the first month of the year “where it starts to feel like spring.”

“At the end of (April) and first week of May is when the Watauga Farmers’ Market opens and it’s a celebration for us,” Mansure said. “Everything kind of ends with the market opening.”

The Watauga County Farmers’ Market starts Saturday, May 4, and takes place weekly at Horn in the West from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m.

“We’re looking forward to tomato season, so there’s hope,” Mansure said, showing excitement for the upcoming warm weather.

The month started out on April 2 with the Culinary Arts program at Caldwell Community College and Technical Institute’s Watauga campus hosting a “carry out cuisine” event.

Weekly, the High Country Food Hub will have a pickup day, with orders due by Monday to pick up that Wednesday from 11:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. The Food Hub is located at the extension office at 252 Poplar Grove Road in Boone. Orders can be made online every Monday at highcountryfoodhub.org.

April 3 had a Sheri Castle cooking class at the Watauga county Agriculture Center from 6-7:30 p.m., presented by Blue Ridge Women in Agriculture.Movies at the Museum at the Blowing Rock Art and History Museum was to take place April 4 from 6-7 p.m. Castle, as part of BRWIA, was to present and discuss themes from the Lexicon of Food series presented by PBS, as part of the Lexicon of Sustainability project.

The Town of Boone was to have its “Earth First Friday” at the Jones House on Friday, April 5, from 5-6 p.m.

The Boone Winter Farmers’ Market concludes with two final events on Saturdays, April 6 and 20. From 9 a.m. to 12 p.m., farmers congregate at the Watauga County Agricultural Conference Center to make homemade treats, plus handcrafted skincare, candles, crafts, photography and much more available.

BRWIA is hosting and April gathering happy hour at The New Public House at 293 Sunset Drive in Blowing Rock on Tuesday, April 9, from 5:30-7:30 p.m.

To RSVP for the free event, visit www.eventbrite.com, and use the keyword BRWIA to find the event.

Local food trivia will be held at Lost Province Brewing Company, located at 130 N. Depot St. in Boone, on Wednesday, April 10, from 7-10 p.m. Mansure said the winner will receive a gift card.

Saturday April 13, will have”Eggstravaganza” activities for kids at F.A.R.M. Café, located at 617 W. King St. in Boone with local food samples.

A guided tour of BRAHM for the “Farm, Forage, Feast: High Country Foodways” exhibit will be held on Tuesday, April 16, from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. The exhibit is available to view until April 20.

Mansure thanked Willard Watson III, BRAHM program and outreach coordinator, for putting together the tour.

Later on Thursday, April 18, the High Country Food Hub will be hosting a restaurant tour at Reid’s Café, located at 4004 N.C. 105, Unit 8, Sugar Mountain, from 6-7 p.m.

“Each dinner will feature local ingredients crafted into delicious menus designed by local chefs,” a statement on the restaurant tour from Mansure said. “Participants will hear stories from the three-featured local farmers about their craft and why small-scale agriculture plays such an important role in the High Country. This third meal will highlight the fresh flavors of spring with a special four-course meal designed, prepared and hosted by Reid’s Cafe.”

Thursday, April 25, will have a growing vegetables in containers workshop from 5:30-7:30 p.m. at the Watauga County Agricultural Conference Center. The workshop is designed for people who either lack space in their garden or have their gardens eaten by wildlife.

“Come learn what vegetables can grow well in containers, how to pick the right size container, the type of soil to use, and how to get the plants started,” Mansure stated. “The class will conclude with everyone starting their own lettuce container garden to take home to grow. $10 fee to cover the cost of pots, soil and seedlings will be collected the day of the class. If you wish to observe class without creating a container garden to take home, there is no charge.”

To register, call the Watauga Extension office at (828)-264-3061 or email paige_patterson@ncsu.edu.

The month will conclude with two cooking classes focusing on feasting on farm-fresh ingredients. On Wednesdays, May 1 and 8, from 5-7:30 p.m., the Watauga County Agricultural Conference Center will host Mansure and livestock extension agent Eddy Labus.

“We’re going to use local meat for that and dishes with whatever vegetables are available,” Mansure said.

Potential attendees may email Kirsten Dillman at kirsten_dillman@ncsu.edu or call the Watauga County extension office at (828) 264-3061 to sign up. The cost is $35 for both classes or $20 for one. To secure your spot, please pay in advance at the NC Cooperative Extension, Watauga, located at 971 W. King St, Boone. Checks should be made payable to “Watauga CES.”

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