MCDOWELL COUNTY, WV, July 13 – Appalachian Gold, a new food brand featuring shelf-stable products made with ingredients grown on vacated coal-mining lands, will launch on July 17 after the airing of CNN’s new season of United Shades of America. This episode highlights Jason Tartt, farmer and owner of T&T Organics in McDowell County, West Virginia, and his family farm where ancestral mountain farming techniques drive economic development and build Appalachia’s sustainable future.
Born out of a four-fold partnership for social enterprise in the region, Appalachian Gold will release a series of regional food products, including salad dressings, infused oils, hot honeys, and maple syrup. Their first release will be “Mama’s Meat Sauce,” a recipe passed down through the Tartt family and enjoyed by the United Shades of America crew. Viewers can pre-order Mama’s Meat Sauce for $7.99 a bottle (plus shipping) at appalachiangold.com.
Appalachian Gold draws together four organizational partners to bring the brand to life: (1) T&T Organics (McDowell County, WV), overseeing the training of new farmers and the cultivation of ingredients used for Appalachian Gold products; (2) Economic Development Greater East (Vallscreek, WV), coordinating the operations and employment of individuals in McDowell County; (3) Together For Hope (Clinton, MS), assisting in grant and fundraising efforts for operational costs; and (4) Y’all Company (Winston-Salem, NC), leading marketing efforts, food creative development, and national/international sales.
“We want local communities to be proud to represent this brand,” says Jason Tartt. “For food producers, we support your work and want to make sure you can financially continue to do it with dignity, because the agricultural system does not really have a handle on supporting small farmers, Black farmers, beginning farmers, or people who do things on a small scale.”
“These are products with a story and a purpose,” says Amelia Bandy, Executive Director Economic Development of Greater East, “What is being produced in Appalachia could help save many communities by creating jobs and inspiring creativity. Everyone has to eat! There is a lot of division that doesn’t exist around the table. This brand could unify our region.”
“Changing the lives of even twenty families in a town of only a thousand can make a huge impact,” says Jason Coker, President of Together For Hope. “In asset-based community development, we don’t ask what you need. We ask what you already have.”
“We believe food has the power to bring us together and to unite us,” says Josh McGee, Owner and Sauce Boss with Y’all Company. “We are excited to bring what is being produced in McDowell County and all of Appalachia to the rest of the world!”
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