MountainTrue Development and Operations Coordinator

Development and Operations Coordinator
Asheville Office
Apply Now

Position Description

The Development and Operations Coordinator will further the mission of MountainTrue by providing excellent and energetic fundraising support for the organization. This position is responsible for the management of data to be used to analyze engagement, donor and marketing functions. This position is also responsible for processing donations, corresponding with donors, and engaging with supporters at events. The Development and Operations Coordinator reports to the Development & Engagement Manager. This is a permanent, full time position based out of the Asheville MountainTrue office. Occasional nights/weekends for select events may be required.

Primary Responsibilities


  • Maintain foundation, business, and individual donor files. 
  • Create event forms and calendar listings as needed.  
  • Develop mailing lists and complete in-house member and appeal mailings.
  • Recommend processes to translate strategies into database tracking, stay current in database features and utility, develop reports, ensure the data’s accuracy and integrity, perform database maintenance and clean-up projects to improve data integrity and database performance, and facilitate end-user training and support.
  • Coordinate and plan for future data conversions/upgrades as needed. 
  • Provide administrative support for fiscal agent relationships, including processing acknowledgments and record keeping


  • Process donations and prepare acknowledgment letters and other donor correspondence.
  • Together with the bookkeeper, reconcile donor records with accounting records.
  • Complete Development & Fundraising Metric Reports.

Donor Relations

  • Answer phone and email inquiries regarding donations.
  • Assist with the planning and implementation of events, outings, and activities. Will be required to work events as needed including occasional evenings and weekends.

Office Management 

  • Provide reports for annual audit and 990.
  • Update annual organizational forms.

Other duties as assigned by the Development & Engagement Manager.


  • Exceptional attention to detail while maintaining productivity including accurate and efficient typing, ability to work on many projects at once, problem-solving skills, and ability to organize and prioritize work.
  • Demonstrated proficiency with Microsoft Excel
  • Experience with CRM (Constituent/Customer Relationship Management) databases and online giving platforms (EveryAction, SalesForce, BlueState, and NationBuilder) preferred. 
  • Excellent written and oral interpersonal communication skills.
  • Ability to work as part of a team as well as independently.

MountainTrue values and respects all types of diversity and strongly encourages applicants from traditionally marginalized groups to apply. We prohibit discrimination and harassment and provide equal employment opportunity without regard to, and not limited to, ethnicity, religion, race, national origin, abilities, gender identity, age or genetic information. We are committed to recruiting, hiring and promoting those from minority and disadvantaged groups. We want to live in a world that recognizes the inherent strengths that come from different viewpoints, backgrounds, cultures and experiences. As a team, we have taken on a commitment to examining our unconscious biases and want to work towards an equitable, peaceful and just world.

Location & Compensation

Location is in Asheville. Salary is in the lower 40s. Benefits package includes 20 vacation days per year, 12 holidays, sick leave, sabbatical after five years, health insurance, simple IRA with employer contribution of up to 3%.

How to Apply

Email cover letter, resume, and three references to Adam Bowers,  The subject line should read: “Development and Operations Coordinator.”  The cover letter should address your work history and interest in the position in 600 words or less. 

Application deadline: March 24, 2023  


Septic Repair Application

Septic Repair Application

Failing septic systems are a major source of bacteria pollution and other pathogens in our waterways. But fixing and maintaining a properly functioning septic system can be prohibitively expensive. That’s why MountainTrue is partnering with the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services to provide grants to qualifying property owners. 

MountainTrue/NCDHHS Waste Discharge Elimination Program
Septic System Repair Assistance Grant Determination Criteria

Septic System Repair grants are available to any property owner in Buncombe, Cherokee, or Henderson counties that meets the eligibility requirements below:

  • Property owner(s) and other financially responsible household members’ total income(s) must not exceed 80% of Area Median Income, and liquid reserve shall not exceed 50% of household income. For purposes of this program, the area median income for a household is the same as the income limits for families published in accordance with 42 U.S.C. 1437a(b)(2), available under the heading “Access Individual Income Limits Areas” at
  • The homeowner(s) must obtain a construction authorization permit for a septic system repair issued by their local county health department.
  • An application must be completed and include verification of household size and gross annual income. Documentation of proof-of-income may be requested during the application review.
  • Funding amounts will be based on household size, gross income, available program funds, and the lowest of three bids from certified septic contractors.
  • The property must be a single-family residence which is owner-occupied.
  • The grant award will be paid directly to the septic contractor, not the property owner.

To Apply On-Line:
Fill out the form below.

To Apply Via Mail or Email:
Download a the grant application (pdf), fill it out, and either email it to or mail it to MountainTrue, ATTN: Gray Jernigan, 29 N. Market Street, Suite 610, Asheville, NC 28801.

Action Alert: Delivering on Goals Requires Stregthening Recommendations

Action Alert: Delivering on Goals Requires Stregthening Recommendations

Action Alert: Delivering on Goals Requires Stregthening Recommendations

MountainTrue has significant concerns about the latest draft of the 2045 Henderson County Comprehensive Plan. While much of the document and its goals reflect the priorities of our community, many plan recommendations are now undermined by weak or ambiguous language. 

MountainTrue staff and volunteers have analyzed the current draft and prepared the following open letter — which has been shared with County Commissioners by MountainTrue’s Southern Regional Director, Nancy Díaz. MountainTrue urges Henderson County residents to urge County Commissioners to adopt stronger recommendations, fix critical flaws with the suitability maps, and formulate an implementation plan. 


What you can do:

Write an email to the Commissioners about your concerns

  • David Hill –
  • William Lapsley –
  • Rebecca McCall –
  • Mike Edney –
  • Daniel Andreotta –


Attend MountainTrue’s next Community Meeting on Monday, February 27, to learn more about the Comprehensive Plan and get involved. 


Submit a letter to the editor (LTE) of the Times News about your concerns.

LTE guidelines:
A 200-word count maximum.
The deadline for letters each week is noon on Wednesday.
The best email to send letters to is
Please include your address and phone number with your signature.

Dear Henderson County Commissioners:

On December 1, the Planning Board approved, with no opportunity for public input, a catalog of edits undermining and further weakening the County’s ability to meet its own goals. In addition, the current Suitability Maps are in conflict with the expressed goals of the plan. MountainTrue urges Henderson County Commissioners to revise the December draft — which doesn’t fully address the priorities of County residents as reflected in the County’s own public survey — by reverting to the earlier language of the 2045 Comprehensive Plan. 

Through the County’s public survey, public input meetings, and hearings, Henderson County residents have made our priorities clear: protecting open spaces and forests, preserving farmland, and conserving unique natural areas. Residents also showed strong desires to expand access to broadband internet, improve water quality; reduce vulnerability to wildfires, flooding, and landslides; expand sidewalks, bike lanes, and greenways; and increase energy efficiency. 

While the County deserves praise for passing a resolution to start conversations with the City of Hendersonville toward establishing a joint water and sewer commission, the Comprehensive Planning process itself has been less than ideal. Overall, the goals of the current plan are good, and the November draft of the Comprehensive Plan laid out sensible recommendations. However, the latest edits proposed by the Planning Board will make meeting the plan’s goals more difficult. 

Weakening the Hand of the County
One of the most exciting ideas to come from the current planning process is the establishment of a preservation program to establish agricultural conservation easements. On page 62, under Goal 2 (Protect and Conserve Rural Character and Agriculture), the Planning Board revised a recommendation (Rec. 2.2.B) from “creating” to merely “consider the creation” of such a fund. The “consideration” of a farmland preservation fund was proposed in the last Comprehensive Plan. It’s time for the County to adopt more ambitious and committed wording. 

On page 67, under Goal 3 (Improve Resiliency of the Natural and Built Environment), the Planning Board ignores safety concerns when it comes to limiting development above and below hazardous steep slopes, demoting a recommendation (Rec 3.3.A) from “encourage the preservation of open space and conservation areas in and around areas with a high potential for landslides” to just “consider encouraging.” The County Commissioners should “encourage” at the very least and would do better by establishing a strong steep slopes construction code.  

On page 68, Rec. 3.4.D the Planning Board replaced “remove regulatory barriers […] for green infrastructure projects” with only the consideration of such regulatory barriers, which is too weak. Furthermore, a definition of Green Infrastructure is missing from the glossary. County Commissioners should adopt this definition: Green infrastructure is a network of natural and built green spaces that provide environmental, economic, and social benefits. It includes green spaces such as parks, trees, urban forests, streetscapes, green roofs and green walls, rain gardens, and more. These green spaces help to mitigate the effects of urbanization, protect ecosystems, reduce pollution, and improve public health.  

On page 68, the imperative (Rec. 3.3.G) to “adopt” best practice design standards for new construction within the Wildland Urban Interface” was downgraded to an “encouragement.” On page 72, in the second paragraph for the description of Goal 4 (Connectivity),  multimodal transportation funding is unnecessarily limited to the Utility Service Area. The County is promoting Greenways as alternative routes for transportation and to connect communities. This means building greenways not just within one Utility Service Area but also between them — such as Edneyville to Hendersonville. In each of these instances, County Commissioners should restore the more assertive language of the November draft and consider further strengthening the recommendations. 

Turning a Blind Eye Toward Real-World Challenges
At their December 1 meeting, the Planning Board excised from the Comprehensive Plan the sole mention of climate change. The region is experiencing more frequent, extreme rain events — what used to be classified as “100-year floods” are now happening every five or ten years. At the other extreme, when droughts do occur, they are expected to be hotter and longer, increasing the risks of a repeat of the destructive wildfires of 2016 — which forced the evacuation of 1,000 people in the areas of Bat Cave, Chimney Rock, and Lake Lure. 

Shifting climatic conditions put our farmers and their ability to grow food at risk, degrade our water quality, and negatively impact our tourism and outdoor recreation economy, yet, the Planning Board ignores these risks with the deletion of a sentence acknowledging these basic realities. The County should restore the language of the prior draft, which read, “As the frequency of extreme weather events increases, flooding, landslides, and drought-induced fires are likely to become a more regular occurrence.” Additionally, we suggest adding a sentence to this section clearly stating that “The County will develop policies and procedures that will improve the resiliency of the County to wildfires, flooding, and landslides.” (Coinciding with 29% of the respondents of the survey (p.144)

In some ways, the draft Comprehensive Plan is proactive when it comes to our changing climate realities. However, in critical areas, the changes made by the Planning Board unnecessarily limit the County’s ability to mitigate and adapt. For example, the Planning Board deleted a recommendation 2.2.D (page 62 in the November draft) that read, “Consider the introduction of Smart Solar programs throughout the County to encourage solar energy development and safeguard farmland” and recommendation 4.6.A-C (page 74 in the November draft) that read “Support the use of electric vehicles to reduce air pollution and dependency on fossil fuels.” Advancements to renewable energy, and more specifically solar panel and battery technology, have made green energy cheaper, cleaner, and more reliable than fossil fuels. To save on energy costs, the County should restore the recommendation to introduce Smart Solar programs, and in light of a recent projection (Bloomberg) that at least half of all passenger cars sold in the US will be electric vehicles by 2030, we would urge the Commissioners to restore the full text of these deleted sections.

Fixing Critical Flaws to the Suitability Maps
There are major flaws with the proposed Commercial and Industrial Suitability Maps found in the draft appendix of the Henderson Comprehensive Plan. These maps appear to conflict with the accompanying Plan Maps, as well as the Comp Plan’s stated goals and public input. Despite strong support for the preservation of open space and working farmlands, the designated suitable areas include sensitive natural areas, prime farmland, and key transition zones between protected lands and low-density residential areas. It appears that the map’s designers did not appropriately weigh for the following criteria: Biodiversity and Habitat Value, Agricultural Lands, Prime Farmland Soils, Wildfire Threat, Landslide Threat, or Flooding Threat.

While we understand that the Suitability Maps are not authoritative, they will certainly be cited by developers looking to build commercial or industrial projects within the areas highlighted as suitable. In addition, these maps will serve as guideposts for future Planning Board members and County Commissioners, which could influence land-use policy decisions. Therefore, it is important that these maps are accurate and reflect the goals and values stated within the Comprehensive Plan. The staff and their consultant should redraw the Industrial and Commercial Suitability maps and adjust the weighting to incorporate values expressed in the Comprehensive Plan’s own goals — namely, the preservation of farmlands and the protection of open space. 

Furthermore, these flawed maps are granted an unwarranted level of importance by the Planning Board in its December revisions to the first Outcome on page 35. The plan’s outcomes are “established based on stakeholder and citizen feedback” (page 54) and are the bedrock upon which goals, recommendations, and actions were subsequently developed. All three outcomes were included without change in every version of the plan since the September 9, 2022 draft — until the Planning Board rewrote Outcome 1 in December. 

The prior Outcome 1 reads, “Make intentional land use decisions that protect agriculture, rural character, and natural resources while strategically guiding development.” This was changed to “Make intentional land use decisions that preserve agriculture, rural character, and natural resources with the Future Land Use Map as a guide” (pages 35 and 56)  This elevated the Future Land Use Map above the important policies articulated in the Comprehensive Plan and is in direct contradiction to the intent expressed in every draft (including the current one) that “the map and associated policies are meant to guide growth and development as well as land use regulations in the County planning jurisdiction …” (page 40, emphasis added). Rather than altering a high-level outcome so late in the planning process, we suggest that the language in prior drafts be restored. 

Erasure & Exclusionary Language
In the “History of the County” section on page 12, the Planning Board has removed a reference to the Cherokee and Catawba and to the “forcible relocation” of Native Americans via the Trail of Tears. As a result, the Planning Board has taken an acknowledgment of a shameful chapter in our nation’s history and erased it completely. While intentions may not have been to hide, MountainTrue would not want the County to appear to be obscuring this part of our history. We encourage the County to reach out to the Eastern Band of the Cherokee Indians and other representatives of Native American peoples to adopt language that is accurate and respectful to our shared history.

Further down on page 12, the Planning Board suggests new language stating that “To plan for the future, the County must acknowledge its past and current strengths, in order to plan for the best possible future development of the County for its citizens.” There is no reason to circumscribe the beneficiaries of this plan to County citizens. There are many people who have a vested interest in the future of the County, including part-time residents, visitors, commuting workers, medical patients, and tax-paying lawful permanent residents.  MountainTrue recommends just ending the sentence with the word “County.”

Looking Ahead to Implementation
In summary, while many of these changes may seem minor, we believe that, in this case, the devil really is in the details. The 2045 Comprehensive Plan is meant to serve as a long-range vision for future growth and development for Henderson County. As such, it is the responsibility of the County Commissioners to ensure that the goals reflect the priorities and desires of the people who live and work in Henderson County and the voters who elected them to office.

Through extensive public outreach and the County’s own community survey, those priorities are clear and largely reflected in much of the narrative and goals laid down in the Comprehensive Plan. Unfortunately, the December edits proposed by the Planning Board seem specifically designed to remove any sense of urgency or accountability and make the plan harder to implement.  

The Comprehensive Plan still lacks an Implementation Section, which the Planning Board has assured the public can be adopted even after the Plan is voted on and approved by the County Commission. Clearly identifying what is to be done, by whom, and by what time is critical to turning the hopes and aspirations of the County residents into reality in a transparent and effective way. While MountainTrue continues to advocate for the inclusion of a well-thought-through implementation process, the lack of an Implementation Section underscores the importance of getting the details and recommendations right now. 


Nancy Díaz

Southern Regional Director, MountainTrue

Interim Creation Care Alliance of WNC Coordinator

Interim Creation Care Alliance of WNC Coordinator
Western North Carolina
Apply Now

Position Description

The Interim Creation Care Alliance (CCA) Coordinator will aid CCA volunteers, the CCA steering team, and MountainTrue staff in completing the mandatory tasks of the CCA Director while she is on maternity leave. This will include planning, promoting, and facilitating various programmatic offerings of CCA, overseeing organizational social media pages (Facebook and Instagram), completing administrative tasks (email correspondence/phone calls), attending internal staff meetings, writing the monthly organizational newsletter, and helping with community outreach. The Interim CCA Coordinator will report to MountainTrue’s Deputy Director of Strategy & Communications.


The Creation Care Alliance of WNC is the faith-based program of MountainTrue. MountainTrue is a nonprofit organization that works with communities across 26 mountain counties in Western North Carolina and in Towns and Union counties in North Georgia to champion resilient forests, clean waters, and healthy communities in the Southern Blue Ridge Mountains. For more information: CCA is a network of people of faith and congregations who have united around a moral and spiritual call to preserve the integrity, beauty, and health of God’s creation. For more information:


Experience: Administrative experience, whether formal or informal, is necessary. A background in faith-based work/congregational life, knowledge of and sensitivity/openness to different faith communities, and a general understanding of the environmental issues facing our communities (such as climate change, species loss, and environmental injustice) are heavily preferred.

Education: Applicants with degrees or experience in fields related to communications, administration, ecology/biology, religious studies/theology, or social work could all be well-suited for this position. 

Skills/Framework: Excellent organizational skills, excellent people skills, strong written/verbal communication skills, strong critical thinking skills, social media ability, the ability to work well in a team, and the ability to learn quickly and jump into a fast-moving environment required.

Additional Requirements

Access to a personal computer and reliable internet service. Flexible schedule and flexibility around start date. 

Start/End Date:

Training for this position will take place in late February – early March 2023. The start date will rely upon when the CCA Director begins maternity leave (likely beginning in late March). Maternity leave will last 14 weeks. The end date for this position will be 14 weeks from the first day of the CCA Director’s maternity leave.

Work Schedule

Approximately 20 hours per week. Flexibility in work schedule, though events and staff meetings will require availability on the scheduled day (sometimes including weekends). Staff meetings are held on the first Monday of each month from 11:00 am – 12:30 pm (virtual or in-person). Steering team meetings are held on the first Thursday of the month from 10:30 am – 12:00 pm (virtual).


Location & Compensation

This position will focus on communities throughout Western North Carolina and living in Western North Carolina is necessary for this position. $20 per hour. Mileage is reimbursed at approximately $0.47 per mile.

To learn more about the position and current openings/discuss this opportunity: Contact CCA Director Sarah Ogletree at or by phone at 828-506-9467.

How to Apply

Please submit a resume and cover letter to CCA Director Sarah Ogletree ( and MountainTrue Deputy Director of Strategy & Communications Karim Olaechea ( with “Creation Care Coordinator” in the subject line.

Application deadline: Friday, February 24, 2023

MountainTrue staffers’ favorite holiday recipes – 2022

MountainTrue staffers’ favorite holiday recipes – 2022

MountainTrue staffers’ favorite holiday recipes – 2022

At MountainTrue’s regular all-staff meetings, we include a fun question as part of our check-ins. Recently the question was, “what is your favorite holiday dish?” This brought up many happy memories and some strong opinions. So, for our December E-news, our staff is sharing some of these recipes and the memories that go along with them. Some of us have so many favorites that we added more than one. Enjoy!

Deviled Eggs – Hannah Woodburn, Watauga Watershed Coordinator

Why it’s my favorite: When we have big family gatherings, the deviled eggs are the first to go. You’ve got to stack your plate with one or two early in the evening if you want to try them at all! This year I hard boiled 48 eggs to make 96 deviled eggs, and there wasn’t a single one left over. Our gatherings are not the same without them! 

Ingredients: eggs, mayonnaise, Claussen pickles, spicy brown mustard, paprika, salt, pepper

Instructions: Hard boil the number of eggs you would like to serve. Place eggs in water and bring to a boil. Then cover, turn off the heat, and let sit for 12 mins (may vary depending on your elevation). It is good to check one from each batch to make sure the yolk is fully cooked. 

After the 12 minutes are up, place the eggs in an ice bath and let them cool. Once the eggs are cooled, peel the shells & slice them in half. Place the yolks in a separate bowl, and combine with a finely chopped pickle, mustard, mayo, paprika, salt, and pepper to taste, and whip until creamy. Spoon or use a piping bag to disperse the mixture onto the halved eggs. Sprinkle with paprika and add an optional garnish (olives, rosemary, cilantro, parsley, etc.) and keep chilled until ready to serve. 

Crockpot Spinach & Artichoke Dip – Sydney Swafford, Outings, Education, and Forest Stewardship Coordinator

Why it’s my favorite: It’s extremely easy but always everyone’s favorite when I’m hosting. I make it for pretty much every gathering. It’s a real crowd-pleaser!

Ingredients: 10 ounces of chopped spinach (fresh or frozen), 14-ounce can of artichoke hearts chopped, 8 ounces of cream cheese, 1 cup sour cream, 1 cup shredded mozzarella, ½ cup shredded parmesan cheese, 4 cloves minced garlic, spices to taste (salt, pepper, herbs, red pepper if you want it spicy, etc.)

Instructions: Combine all ingredients in a small crockpot (or larger if you double the recipe) and set to low for 2 hours. 

After 1 hour, remove the lid and stir. Replace the lid and let cook for an additional hour, stirring occasionally. Serve with crackers or chips of your choosing. I typically leave my crockpot plugged in while serving, so it stays warm!

Granny’s Oyster Dressing – Gray Jernigan, Central Regional Director

Why it’s my favorite: My grandma always used to make this for the holidays, and it was one of my dad’s favorites. Both have passed away, and even though I’m the only one left in the family that likes oysters and this dish, I make it for myself during the holidays to remind me of them. (My mom makes non-oyster dressing for the rest of the family to enjoy.)

Ingredients:  ½ pound toasted bread (any hearty white bread), 1 ½ cups crumbled wheat thins crackers, 8-ounce bottle of clam juice, ½ cup melted butter, ½ cup finely chopped celery, 1 teaspoon celery salt, 1 pint of oysters with juice

Instructions: Crumble the bread and add cracker crumbs into a large bowl. Heat clam juice until it boils. Then, pour the hot clam juice over the bread and cracker crumbs and let it stand for a few minutes. Add butter, celery, celery salt, and salt and pepper to taste. Stir in oysters and let the dish stand for a few minutes. Put in a greased casserole dish and bake at 375 degrees for 45 minutes or until the top is golden brown.

Great-Grandma Hastings’s “Dry Bread” Dressing – Callie Moore, Western Regional Director

Why it’s my favorite: This is my great-grandmother Hastings’s recipe that we always have with our turkey dinner. She grew up a Quaker in southeastern Ohio and lived a high quality of life to almost 103 years old!

Ingredients: 1 loaf of hearty white bread, approximately 4 days old (I used half white wheat and half whole wheat), ½ cup butter, melted, 1 thick slice of onion, sauteed, ⅛ teaspoon salt, ½ teaspoon sage, ½ cup turkey stock. 


In a large bowl, break bread into small pieces the day before and cover with a tea towel. To make the sauce, saute onion in butter and then add the remaining ingredients. Put a layer of bread in a small roasting pan. Drizzle some sauce on. Continue with bread layers and sauce until all bread is in the pan. Bake at 325 degrees for about 45 minutes.

Sauteed Brussels Sprouts With Lemon and Pistachios – Julie Mayfield, Co-Director

Why it’s my favorite: I love this recipe because it is simple and light – a rarity among most holiday casseroles and other heavy dishes. It is also a great way to convert people who think they hate brussels sprouts — they’ve never had them like this!

Ingredients: 3 tablespoon grapeseed oil (ok to use vegetable or any other low-smoke oil); 1 tablespoon minced shallot; about 1.5 pounds of brussels sprouts, trimmed, leaves separated from cores (about 8 cups), cores discarded; 3/4 cup shelled unsalted natural pistachios; 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice.
Note: while you can spend time pulling off each separate leaf of each sprout, I usually remove and toss the 1-2 outer leaves and then slice/shave up from the base of each sprout until hitting the hard core. This is time-consuming, but it’s worth it.

Directions:  Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add shallot and stir for 20 seconds. Add Brussels sprout leaves and pistachios, and sauté until leaves begin to soften but are still bright green, about 3 minutes. Drizzle lemon juice over the sprouts. Season to taste with salt and pepper, transfer to a bowl and serve.

Pear and Parsnip Puree – Amy Finkler, Development and Operations Coordinator

Why it’s my favorite: My husband introduced me to this recipe several years ago, and we always have it for Thanksgiving. I did not grow up eating Parsnips, so for me, this was a fresh and delicious addition to our sides.

Ingredients: 1.5 pounds of parsnips, peeled and chopped, 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, 1 tablespoon light brown sugar, ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon, ⅛ teaspoon allspice, 4 ripe Anjou pears cored and cut into 1-inch cubes, ½ cup sour cream, ½ teaspoon salt, ½ teaspoon ground pepper

Instructions: Preheat oven to 325 F. In a baking dish, sprinkle the parsnip pieces with sugar, cinnamon, allspice, and 2 tablespoons of butter. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 45 minutes. 

In a large pot, cook pears and 2 tablespoons of butter for 3 min. Add the remaining butter and the baked parsnips to the pot and blend with an immersion blender for 30 seconds. Add sour cream, salt, and pepper, and blend until smooth. Serve immediately or keep warm until ready to serve.

Granny C’s Sweet Potatoes Alexander – David Caldwell, Broad Riverkeeper

Why it’s important to me: My Granny C. taught me a love for camellias and good cooking. She was the best cook, and I’m pretty sure that she created this recipe. This dish can be served as a side or a dessert!

Ingredients: 1 cup thinly sliced apples, 2 cups boiled sliced sweet potatoes, 1 cup sliced peaches, 2 medium bananas, sliced, 2 ounces lightly roasted almonds; sauce: ½ cup butter, ½ cup sugar, ½ cup orange juice, 3 ounces Grand Marnier

Instructions: In a saucepan, melt butter and sugar over low heat. When melted, add orange juice and bring to a boil. Remove from heat and stir in Grand Marnier.

In a toaster oven, roast almonds just until they begin to brown. The almonds will cook more in the casserole.

In a shallow medium-sized casserole, arrange from the bottom up: sweet potato slices, apple slices, banana slices, peaches, apple slices again, and sweet potato slices again

Pour the sauce over the casserole and bake at 350 degrees for 20-30 minutes (until the sauce boils). Add almonds and bake for another 10 minutes. 

Pavo A La Brasa – Karim Olaechea, Communications Director

Why it’s my favorite: One of the key ways that I connect with my Peruvian heritage is through food. I don’t often get to visit my Peruvian family during the holidays, as tickets to Lima triple in price in the weeks leading up to Christmas. So, I try to bring a bit of Peruvian flavor to stateside holiday affairs. 

Rotisserie chicken is a big deal in Peru. The original Peruvian chicken restaurant or pollería, La Granja Azul, was set up by Roger Schuler, a Swiss emigré to Peru. The restaurant became an institution, and I have happy memories of my family taking me there when I was a child. Now there are thousands of pollerías throughout the country and abroad, and just as many takes on the original recipe. 

I’ve adapted a traditional pollo a la brasa marinade, and I use it to make a more flavorful and moister turkey or “pavo” that still fits right in on a traditional holiday table. The name of this dish is a bit of a misnomer as I roast the bird breast down in the oven, but if you have a rotisserie or “brasa” hefty enough to accommodate a large turkey … by all means, use it! 

This recipe takes some advanced planning, as the turkey needs to marinate for at least two days, and there aren’t really any good substitutes for two of the key ingredients — ají panca (a fruity yet earthy red chili pepper) and huacatay (an aromatic herb from the Peruvian Andes). I’ve spotted ají panca paste for sale at Tienda el Quetzal on Merrimon Ave in North Asheville, and you can order huacatay paste and other Peruvian ingredients from Amigo Foods

Ingredients: 1 whole turkey, neck, and giblets removed; 2 bottles of dark, malty beer like Negra Modelo or Cusqueña Negra if you can find it; ½ cup soy sauce; juice of 8 limes; ¼ cup of olive oil; ¼ cup of huacatay paste; ¼ cup of ají panca paste; 10 cloves of garlic; 1 tablespoon of fresh ginger, minced; 1 ⅓  tablespoon of ground cumin; 1 tablespoon of dried oregano; 1 tablespoon of salt; 1 ½ teaspoons freshly ground black pepper. Equipment: Large roasting pan, v-shaped roasting rack, meat thermometer (I recommend one that can stay in your bird while it roasts in the oven)

Instructions: In a blender, pour your soy sauce, lime juice, olive oil, huacatay and ají panca pastes, garlic, ginger, and spices. Add half a bottle of beer and put the lid on the blender. Pulse, then blend until the garlic and ginger are liquified, and all the ingredients are fully incorporated. 

Place your fully thawed turkey (I hope you didn’t forget to pull it out of the freezer a week ago!) into a marinating bag and pour half the contents of the blender into the bag. Then pour in the remaining 1 ½ bottles of beer, followed by the rest of the blender slurry. Seal and agitate the bag so that the marinade is well-mixed and covering the turkey. Place the bagged turkey in your refrigerator and let it marinate for at least one day, preferably two. 

On the day you plan to roast your turkey, remove the bird from the bag and pat it dry with a clean cloth or paper towels. Then place your turkey breast down in a v-shaped roasting rack that has been placed in a large roasting pan. This will allow the juices from the dark meat to drip down through the breast while the turkey roasts. Place your meat thermometer in the thickest part of the turkey breast and roast

Preheat your oven to 425 degrees. Once your oven is preheated, roast your turkey for 15 minutes, then turn the oven down to 325 degrees. To ensure crispy skin and moist flesh, resist the urge to baste your turkey or check on it too frequently. When your meat thermometer reads 165 F, it’s ready to come out of the oven. Allow the roast to rest for at least 30 minutes before carving.

Chocolate Steamed Pudding – Bob Gale, Ecologist & Public Lands Director

Why it’s my favorite: My father was a hobby chef in the 1950s-’60s and subscribed to Gourmet magazine, with copies always lying around the living room coffee table or couches. Around holidays, he cooked most of the fancy traditional dinners and desserts, and my siblings and I knew wonderful things were about to be cooked. 

He made this once-a-year dessert, sometimes for Thanksgiving, sometimes for Christmas. More cake-like than pudding, this dessert is cooked in a tube pan within a pot of shallow water and served with a “hard sauce” topping. The buttery, creamy hard sauce melting like ice cream over the warm, almost fudgy-tasting cake is a flavor that is seared into my memory. It is fun to make occasionally. (I say “occasionally” because I would never want to take it for granted!)

Ingredients: 3 tablespoon butter, 2 ¼  cups flour, 2/3 cup sugar, 4 ½  teaspoon baking powder, 1 egg, 2 ½  squares unsweetened chocolate; melted, 1 cup milk, ¼ teaspoon salt

Instructions: In a large mixing bowl, cream butter and mix with beaten egg. Add the sugar gradually. In a second bowl, sift flour, baking powder, and salt together. Add these dry ingredients to your wet ingredients, little by little, alternating with the milk. Then stir in chocolate. Once incorporated, fold the batter into a buttered cake mold. Place the cake mold into the pot of slowly boiling water and steam for 2 hours. (Add water as necessary/do not let it boil away.) The top of the cake will split open, which is normal.

Hard Sauce:
Ingredients: ¼ cup butter, 1 teaspoon vanilla, 1 cup powdered sugar, ¼ cup heavy cream, 2 tablespoons rum or brandy.

Instructions: Cream butter and add sugar gradually. Add vanilla and cream, and beat until stiff. Add rum or brandy. (The texture is harder, more like butter, rather than fluffy like meringue.) Spoon a desirable amount over warm steamed pudding and serve.

Great-grandma Wechtel’s Pumpkin Pie – Callie Moore, Western Regional Director

Why it’s my favorite: This is my German great-grandmother Erma Wechtel’s recipe. I’m the fourth generation of “Wechtel women” to make this pie, including a homemade crust! I’m very picky about eating other pumpkin pies because I think this one is just the best! 

Ingredients: 1 T. flour, rounded, 1 c. sugar, ¼ t. Each of cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger & salt, 1 c. Libby’s pumpkin (half a can), 1 egg, separated, 1 c. milk

Instructions: Mix dry ingredients thoroughly. Add pumpkin and mix. Add egg yolk and milk and mix. Beat egg white with a hand mixer until little stiff peaks form. Fold into pumpkin mixture. Put into an unbaked pie crust. Bake at 400 degrees for 30-40 minutes. Makes a 9″ pie.

Nana’s Gingerbread Cookies – Amy Finkler, Development and Operations Coordinator

Why it’s important to me: This is my Grandmother Betty Joyner’s gingerbread cookie recipe.  Our family makes these cookies every holiday season and has done so for as long as I can remember. My Grandmother passed away in 2021, and I will continue to keep this recipe alive for the years to come. It brings a smile to my face when I bake and think of her.

Ingredients: 1 cup margarine, 1 cup sugar, 1 egg, 5 tablespoons white vinegar, 1 cup molasses, 5 cups sifted flour, 1 ½ teaspoon baking soda, ½ teaspoon salt, 1 tablespoon ginger, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, 1 teaspoon ground cloves, Optional: red hots and raisins for decorating

Instructions: Preheat the oven to 375 F. Cream the margarine and the sugar together thoroughly in a large bowl. Add the egg, vinegar, and molasses and beat well. 

In a separate bowl, sift the flour, soda, salt, ginger, cinnamon, and cloves together. Add this dry ingredient mixture to the creamed margarine and sugar and stir thoroughly (the dough will get stiff).  

Chill thoroughly (at least one hour, but overnight is best).  Roll out to ¼ inch thick on a lightly floured surface.  Use a cookie cutter to cut out desired shapes, and place them on a lightly greased cookie sheet (or baking sheet lined with parchment paper).  

Use red hots or raisins to decorate if desired.  Bake at 375 F for 8-10 minutes or until done. Cool on a wire rack. Yields roughly 1 ½ dozen.
Note: To make these gluten-free, substitute a gluten-free 1:1 ratio flour mix (I like Bob’s Red Mill 1:1). 

Mulled Holiday Wine – Hannah Woodburn, Watauga Watershed Coordinator

Why it’s my favorite: This is just a holiday spin for your red wine drinking crowd at your next gathering. Mulled wine is aromatic and will fill your home will holiday comfort and cheer. 

Ingredients: Red wine (I usually go with a cab sav or merlot), orange juice, apple cider, mulling spices, with an option to add fruit.

Instructions: In a crockpot or on the stovetop, combine a bottle of wine and mulling spices and let the flavors infuse for an hour or two. Add 1 cup of apple cider and 1 cup of orange juice; can be increased based on the amount of wine. This year I used a Bota Box and did three cups each of orange juice and apple cider. 

Add chopped fruit for garnish. For the best taste, serve warm!


40 Years of Environmental Advocacy

40 Years of Protecting the Places We Share

Let’s honor our past and commit to protecting our future by tackling important issues together. Every donation helps; $65 saves one Ash tree from invasive pests, a gift of $500 allows us to monitor a Swim Guide site all summer long, and a gift of $1,000 sends our policy team to Raleigh to advocate for a better future in the Southern Blue Ridge.

Please contact Development and Operations Coordinator Amy Finkler ( if you’re having trouble donating.

We’re counting on you

Your support helps us do what we’re most passionate about — protecting the places we share. MountainTrue is your champion, working alongside you and other environmental organizations to protect and improve the quality of our environment. We take a two-pronged approach, working at both the grassroots and policy levels.

At home

Our four regional offices allow the MountainTrue team to assume a hyper-local approach to our work, focusing on issues that matter most to you.

In Raleigh

Our staff advocates for state-wide policy changes in Raleigh as well as with elected officials in our cities, towns, and counties. 

In our communities

Our Healthy Communities Program advocates for vibrant, thriving urban and rural communities with equitable access to affordable housing. 

On the rivers

With four in-house riverkeepers looking after the BroadFrench Broad, Green, and Watauga rivers, MountainTrue is its own ecosystem of water defenders and protectors. 

In the forests

Our Public Lands team monitors timber sales on over one million acres of public land to ensure old-growth stands, water quality, and sensitive ecosystems in these ancient mountain forests are protected. 

In biodiverse habitats

We help to restore native plant and animal habitats by safely treating and removing nonnative invasive species, because abundant, thriving native biodiversity is our best defense against climate change.