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Winter, Wine, And A Walk Outside, Inside Appalachia

Chum's hotdog stand in Marmet, W.Va.
Zack Harold/ WVPB
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Chum's hotdog stand in Marmet, W.Va.

For some, winter can be a difficult time -- dark and cold. For others, time outside in the winter is a powerful experience. After everything we’ve been through in the past year, getting outside can be one way to help with the stress. Taking a break from social media and the news, getting bundled up and venturing out into nature, even just for five minutes, can help.

In this episode of Inside Appalachia, we’ll go outside into a cold, crisp forest on a winter hike. We’ll hear why the winter months actually provide unique opportunities to hear birds.

We’ll also learn about a group of Italian immigrants who escaped religious persecution and moved to the mountains of North Carolina. They brought cultural traditions, including winemaking, to this small pocket of Appalachia. And we’ll also delight in one town's twist on the classic West Virginia slaw dog — the “Marmet Yellow slaw dog.” The dish has been around since the 1930s but isn’t widely known outside this tiny Kanawha County town.

In This Episode

Love Of Snow

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Eric Douglas
Ashlin Douglas, our associate producer's daughter, eats snow, just like Reid Frazier's daughters.

A few years ago, Reid Frazier, a reporter with the Allegheny Front, wrote a story about his children’s love of snow, and what it taught him about embracing the simple joys of the new year.

Birds Of Winter

Andy Kubis, a producer for The Allegheny Front headed out for a winter hike with Gabi Hughes, an environmental educator at Beechwood Farms Nature Reserve north of Pittsburgh. The reserve is run by the Audubon Society of Western Pennsylvania, Their aim was to find out what there is to see and hear in the coldest months of the year.

Blocking A Pipeline

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Mason Adams
Tree sitters blocking the Mountain Valley Pipeline in Yellow Finch, Virginia.

Some of Appalachia’s most rugged and beautiful places are located along the Allegheny Mountains. Straddling Virginia and West Virginia, this stretch of mountains is the site of the 300-mile Mountain Valley Pipeline, a major natural gas pipeline project. But it’s still incomplete.

This is partly because of activists. The Yellow Finch tree-sits have blocked the pipeline in Virginia for more than two years. In November, a judge ordered the protesters out, but the tree sitters are still there. Inside Appalachia co-host Mason Adams has been reporting on this issue for the last six years. He recently visited Yellow Finch, and brings us an update.

Using The Bright Sunshine

Companies and government officials are promising to use more renewable energy as a way to address climate change. One way to do that is to build solar farms, but a solar farm needs flat land. That’s something that’s in short supply in Appalachia.

Developers have found some flat land in portions of Appalachia, including in Pennsylvania. StateImpact Pennsylvania’s Rachel McDevitt reports how the solar industry could take some communities by surprise. They might just push back.

 

Revival Of The Yellow Slaw Dog

Chums-2.jpg
Zack Harold
Yellow slaw hotdog at Chum's Hotdog stand in Marmet, W.Va.

Have you ever heard of the Marmet yellow slaw dog? The dish has been around since the 1930s, but isn’t widely known outside this tiny Kanawha County town. Folkways reporter Zack Harold has been digging into this story. He called up Inside Appalachia co-host Caitlin Tan to talk about this unique take on the iconic West Virginia hotdog. Click here to see the abbreviated recipe for the yellow slaw dog.

Making Wine

In the 1890s, a few dozen Italian immigrants settled in Valdese, North Carolina. They built communal bread-baking ovens, they made a special type of sausage, played bocce ball and they made wine. Rebecca Williams of our Folkways Reporting Corps has the story.

Our theme music is by Matt Jackfert. The fiddle music you heard in today’s show is from the archived field recordings at the Augusta Heritage Center, recorded in the 1990s by Gerry Milnes. Other music this week was provided by Dinosaur Burps, Dr. Turtle and Jason Shaw.

Roxy Todd is our producer. Eric Douglas is our associate producer. Our executive producer is Andrea Billups. Kelley Libby edited our show this week. Our audio mixer is Patrick Stephens. Zander Aloi also helped produce this episode. You can find us on Twitter @InAppalachia.

You can also send us an email to InsideAppalachia@wvpublic.org.

Inside Appalachia is a production of West Virginia Public Broadcasting.

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Caitlin Tan is working as Inside Appalachia’s folklife reporter, as part of a Margaret A. Cargill Philanthropies grant. The goal of her reporting is to help engage a new generation in Appalachian folklife and culture.
Roxy Todd is a reporter and producer for Inside Appalachia and has been a reporter for West Virginia Public Broadcasting since 2014. She’s won several awards, including a regional AP Award for best feature radio story, and also two regional Edward R. Murrow awards. You can reach her at rtodd@wvpublic.org.