Olivette Riverside Community and Farm Shares Harvest Bounty With Western North Carolina Nonprofits Battling Food Insecurity

solution for food insecurity

Olivette Riverside Community and Farm, Western North Carolina’s first and only “agrihood” built around a working four-season organic farm, is working to alleviate food insecurity in Western North Carolina with four unique programs.

In addition to providing fresh produce for Olivette residents and others who purchase Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) shares, the farm is working to end food insecurity through these outreach efforts:

1. Supporting ASAP’s Double Snap program — Olivette provides fresh produce for the Southern Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project’s Double SNAP for Fruits and Vegetables, and recently donated almost $5,300 to the program from its HarvestFest fundraiser. SNAP is the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. ASAP’s Double SNAP effort offers a match on dollars spent by SNAP customers at participating farmers markets with tokens that can be used for produce. SNAP customers who spend $10 with their EBT cards get $10 in SNAP tokens plus $10 in Farm Fresh Bucks, which can be spent with any vendor for fruits and vegetables. About 150 people turned out for Olivette’s HarvestFest ASAP Double Snap Benefit, a celebration of local farmers, community, and music held on Sept. 11.

2. The Equal Plates Project is Olivette’s most recent venture. Olivette partnered with We Give a Share, a local nonprofit connecting chefs, farms, and communities to serve food to people in need. We Give a Share pays Western North Carolina farms and producers to provide fresh food to the Southside Kitchen at the Arthur R. Edington Education & Career Center. Southside Kitchen uses those products to prepare 1,500 meals per week that are offered free of charge to homebound and senior Asheville Housing Authority residents. Olivette residents raised $5,000 that will go directly to Olivette Farm to be used for meals distributed by the project. Olivette’s farmers will work with the chef directly and plan crops according to the project’s needs, providing $500 worth of produce monthly for 10 months of the year.

3. Sharing Is Caring — In this program that started two years ago, Olivette residents donate CSA shares that are distributed to local nonprofits Haywood Street Congregation and BeLoved. “This year we are donating 55 CSA shares: 31 to Haywood and 24 to BeLoved,” says Olivette Farmer Daniel Pettus. “Haywood and BeLoved identify families and individuals that are in most need of the produce and distribute the shares to them weekly.” Olivette delivers these shares directly to Haywood and BeLoved during its CSA season, which runs for 20 weeks from mid-May through mid-October.

4. Gleaning — Olivette works with two local nonprofits, St. Andrews Society as well as Bounty and Soul, to make sure all the produce grown at Olivette Farm gets to people in need. “Gleaning works in several ways: harvesting from the fields directly and picking up produce that was not sold by the farm via their normal avenues,” Pettus says. “These organizations will come and glean from the fields in beds that are soon to be transitioned into cover crop or a new crop, and the farm will donate produce that would otherwise be composted.”

While the Sharing is Caring CSA ends mid-October and will pick up again mid-May 2023, the Equal Plates project and gleaning distribution are year-round programs, Pettus says.

About: Olivette Riverside Community and Farm near Asheville, N.C., is Western North Carolina’s first “agrihood,” built around a four-season organic farm and designed to connect people with nature, community, and their food.

To request an interview with Olivette’s farmers, contact publicist Michelle Tennant Nicholson: Michelle@WasabiPublicity.com or 828-749-3200

Contact Information

Michelle Tennant-Nicholson
Wasabi Publicity, Inc.
Saluda, NC
United States
Voice: 828-749-3200
Website: Visit Our Website

Heaven’s Pantry, headquartered in Pennsylvania, has brought a totally unique energy bar to market. Motivated by the lack of a truly healthy and all-natural energy bar that actually tastes good, they got to work in 2019 on research and development. After many late nights in the test kitchen, they broke the mold and accomplished the mission. With only six all-natural ingredients – Dates, Cashews, Almonds, Cocoa Powder, Coconut Oil and Sea Salt – The Holy Grail of Energy Bars was born.

Justin, Manny and Rob
Founders Justin, Manny and Rob

Manny Lai, Justin Gottlieb and Robert Marchionni met when attending Lehigh University. They became friends because they all shared an entrepreneurial spirit. After college, they stayed in touch while all doing their own thing. Lai worked long hours at a top consulting firm. Perks included unlimited free coffee from the local coffee shop. However, caffeine came with a dizzying mid-day slump. He wanted a better solution. Marchionni had been pondering what to do after college. He wanted to start a business, but as a consultant, he could only scale that so much. He had been making energy bars at home since he couldn’t find a high-protein snack that wasn’t loaded with sugar. Gottlieb was focused on running and exercise, as a balance to his work life. Like Lai, he was frustrated with the lack of healthy choices for energy bars, without the side effects of caffeine and all the added sugars and other junk.

While on a long drive on a summer night, Marchionni had business on his mind. He called Lai, and the homemade energy bars came up. Lai had an “ah-ha” moment. This could be the answer that he (and so many others) was looking for to replace coffee. There was a gap in the market they could take advantage of. He also realized the scalability of the idea, which he shared with Marchionni, who immediately suggested they meet for coffee to run it by Gottlieb and get serious about this endeavor and form their company.

Customers are more savvy these days, they read the ingredients, they want to know what they’re eating. With our energy bar, the simple ingredients speak for themselves.

Lai and Marchionni spent countless hours in the test kitchen, building off of Marchionni’s homemade bars, to create an energy bar recipe that provides sustainable energy, naturally, without the added sugars and crash. As they experimented, Lai thought of some early childhood memories and was inspired. His parental units fed him fruits and nuts to enhance his cognitive function when studying. He realized that simplicity was the way to go. Wholesome, nutritious and simple ingredients were the answer. “Sometimes innovation can be super simple” declared Lai “It doesn’t need to be some complicated idea.”

As they worked late into the night, perfecting the recipe, they got it down to the essence of the perfect energy bar. With only six all-natural ingredients, their new energy bar was born! It was so good in fact, that they thought it could pass as a brownie. Gottlieb tried it, and as part of their target market, agreed – they had the answer. Now what to call it? An amazing energy bar needed an equally amazing and strong name.

They picked “Excalibar” – basing it on the lore of King Arthur and the Knights of the Roundtable. “We chose this theme due to the integrity, ethics, and industriousness of Arthur and the Knights. It’s how we pride ourselves in doing business and is reflected in the purity and wholesomeness of our products. It’s a tool used by an upstanding warriors to get themselves through the day. Whether it’s adventuring in nature, building a career or running a business. The strength of the Excalibar is represented by our products – which are specially formulated to boost people with the night needed to conquer what challenges life throws at them.” asserts Lai.

Now it was time to truly get down to business. They worked out of a shared space in a ghost kitchen in downtown Easton, Pennsylvania to make and launch the product. They did everything themselves – from the marketing to the manufacturing. Made in small batches, they reached out to health food stores and gyms to sell the product. The initial response was good. People all had the same reaction – they thought it tasted great and loved the fact it only had six ingredients with no added sugars. They managed to get into a few stores. They were off to a good start, but they knew they had to look forward and plan on how to scale the business.

In the autumn of 2021, they revamped the logo and packaging, initially having done it themselves, with a local ad agency doing the design. Marchionni secured a co-packer to make the product and package it. The new look helped them get into some more stores. Notably, they secured The Farmstand, bustling marketing within the Easton Public Market, as a client. The bars were an instant success, doing well positioned right next to check out, as an impulse purchase item. Tanya, manager of the Farmstand says “Excalibars is Excellent. A yummy, healthy way to get the protein you need and satisfy that sweet tooth. Our customers love them!”

As they look forward, they’re making an even bigger push to get bigger clients, focusing on scalability. With their recent print ad campaign in Supermarket News, they’re already gaining interest. “Wholesale purchasers see the value in this particular product” proclaimed Lai “Customers are looking for all-natural, gluten-free and vegan options. Excalibar fits that need. In addition, customers are savvier these days, they read the ingredients, they want to know what they’re eating. With our energy bar, the simple ingredients speak for themselves”

As they expand, the team runs the business from three different locations in the country. Today, Lai works as a VP in a Fortune 500 Company, in North Carolina, while being a managing partner of Heaven’s Pantry in the evenings. He credits his high level of productivity to a balanced diet. Excalibar’s 6 natural ingredients were carefully selected to aid cognitive performance and boost energy without leading to a slump or crash. Gottlieb is on the west coast in California. “Balancing a full-time engineering job with starting a new company has been a fun and challenging journey. I am passionate about the ExcaliBar and I want everyone to have an opportunity to taste how delicious it is. It feels great to share a healthy and tasty product that I can call ‘mine’ with others. This really motivates me to work hard on helping our company grow.” Gottlieb states. Marchionni resides in Pennsylvania and is focused on servicing its local clients. “When our ad agency came up with the tagline ‘The Holy Grail of Energy Bars’ we all immediately agreed they nailed it. It truly is the elusive energy bar everyone has been searching for all this time.”

Today one can find the Excalibar for sale at La Purisma Naturista, Santa Ana, CA, Newport Coffee Company, Newport Beach, CA, Palm Berrie’s locations in North Carolina, Highmark Farmstand, Easton, PA, Ivy’s Bridge to Better Health in Tustin, CA and Taste of Nature in Wind Gap PA. Check them out on Instagram @heavenspantry

Contact Author

Heaven’s Pantry LLC
1 908-547-7747

The virtual brand is celebrating National Cheeseburger Day on September 18 with $5 cheeseburgers all day.Cheeseburgers tower

Smokey Bones’ virtual brand The Burger Experience is celebrating National Cheeseburger Day on Sept. 18 with $5 cheeseburgers all day.

But it doesn’t stop there. Burger Experience is honoring America’s love of cheese and burgers all month long. Throughout September, guests are encouraged to post a pic of themselves eating The Burger Experience to their social media channels with the hashtag #BurgersYesCheese for a chance to win cheeseburgers for a year.

“The cheeseburger is the quintessential American food and I would put our Classic with Cheese up against any other cheeseburger available,” said Cole Robillard, CMO. “Our lineup of burgers is as good as any gourmet burger you can find, but at an affordable price.”

woman holding Cheeseburger
The Burger Experience menu features five burgers: The Classic, Classic with Cheese, Bacon Cheeseburger, Mushroom and Swiss Burger, and Green Chile Burger – all served on a grilled brioche bun. Bringing an extra zip to the burgers is the restaurant’s XTC sauce, a combination that includes umami notes of mustard, soy, and hoisin sauce for a savory and complementary taste that harkens back to the days of the original burger joints.

Also available is a Crispy Chicken Sandwich with mayo and pickles and a Good Seed Veggie Burger, topped with lettuce, tomato, red onion, pickles, and a garlic mayo with a touch of sriracha.

The Burger Experience operates inside Smokey Bones’ 63 locations across 16 states. Guests can order delivery via the Burger Experience website (Smokey Bones’ virtual brand The Burger Experience is celebrating National Cheeseburger Day on Sept. 18 with $5 cheeseburgers all day.

About The Burger Experience

The Burger Experience is a delivery- and carry-out-only brand from Smokey Bones. With 62 locations across 16 states, The Burger Experience offers five quality burgers served with a secret XTC sauce. The specialized menu only offers crinkle-cut fries for guests to order alongside their burgers, allowing the brand to focus on making the best burgers in America at a competitive price. For more information, visit www.burgerxorder.com.

Facebook: @theburgerexperience
Instagram: @theburger_x

Media Contact:

Contact Information
Kim Miller
Ink Link Marketing
Miami, Florida
United States
Voice: 305-631-2283

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