The Highland Center
The Allegheny Mountain School is a project of The Highland Center, located in Monterey, Virginia. It’s mission is to serve all citizens of Highland County by being a catalyst for cultural and economic development, and to preserve a historic landmark as a symbol of unity and pride for our community.
Taste of Highland celebrates summer’s bounty
The Recorder August 25, 2011
More than 100 people sampled the “Taste of Highland,” which included grilled beef, lamb and chicken; black bean, corn and onion salad; potato salad; garden greens; Amish cole slaw; roasted peacock vegetables; wheat bread; apple pie, and apple cake with maple icing. Everything served was baked or picked that morning.
MONTEREY — More than 115 people gathered on The Highland Center lawn last Friday evening for the second annual Taste of Highland picnic.
The event was a community effort that highlighted the diversity of local foods in Highland County, with live music and a menu that featured seasonal Highland-grown products.
Farmers’ market vendors participated by donating vegetables, eggs, syrup and more. Fellows from the Allegheny Mountain School helped organize the event, contributing vegetables from their garden and making bread, cheese and desserts from local ingredients.
Betty Mitchell, executive director of the Highland Center, was pleased with the turnout at the Taste of Highland. She dined with Ivana (center) and Hana Gocava and their family. Ivana lives in Vienna, Virginia, now; Hana arrived from the Czech Republic earlier last week. (Recorder photo by Margo Oxendine) Other contributing vendors included Brittany Whitelaw, Church Hill Produce, Ginseng Mountain Store, Highland Hills Farm, Nicole Balenger, Jon and Patricia Donaldson, Sarah Ricketts, Lee Mitchell and Douglas Bernier.
The event underscored the need for local meat processing and built excitement for the Alleghany Highlands Agricultural Center, which is under construction.
“Two years ago when we gathered for the first Taste of Highland picnic, the ag center was still in its planning phase,” said Lloyd Bird, president of The Highland Center’s board of directors. “Now the facility is under construction and will soon be a reality. The Highland Center has long promoted local foods with its farmers’ market, community kitchen and business incubator, and the ag center will help bring those projects full circle.”
Linda Simmons and BJ Sheaffer slaved over a hot grill, cooking up chicken and lamb kebabs for the dinner. Betty Mitchell, executive director of The Highland Center, echoed Bird’s remarks and spoke about the new Allegheny Mountain School project. “It is invigorating to see so many young people committed to growing food and preserving a rural way of life,” Mitchell said. “We invite you to learn more about this project by joining the fellows up on the mountain for their open house next Saturday.”
Mitchell also recognized the many volunteers, vendors and sponsors who made the event possible. Sponsors included Highland-Bath Farm Bureau, Farm Bureau Insurance, The Law Offices of John C. Singleton, First and Citizens Bank, Blue Grass Valley Bank, Farm Credit and Country Mortgages, Allegheny Instruments, Highland Telephone Cooperative, Shenandoah Spring Water, Computer Helper, Summit Community Bank and Shenandoah Valley Electric Cooperative.
Longtime friends Donna Bedwell and Gail Price mentioned how glad they are to find themselves back in Highland County, tasting the best local growers and producers have to offer. Bill Bratton donated the tent and participants from the Youth Employment Program helped with set-up and preparation. Music was performed by Filip and Kristyna Goc.
Proceeds from the event benefited The Highland Center, which is a catalyst for cultural and economic development in Highland County.