Wellness café yields the new crop of a hallowed ground
Kingdom Harvest Wellness Café is a coffee shop, wine bar, and CBD dispensary, and while the name might evoke religious connotations, the actual back story isn’t lofty or remote. It’s real, it’s fascinating, and it’s in our own backyard.
“I was looking for high-quality CBD products and I tried out a bunch of different kinds,” explains shop owner Kimi Roberson. “I fell in love with the Kingdom Harvest products, so I started out as a customer. I saw some pictures of their farm and I fell in love with it. I asked if I could go and help with a harvest at the farm” — which is how they wound up hiring her. Roberson has been working as their grower for the last fours years.
That farm of which she speaks has a lot of history to it, and is the key to understanding a unique piece of culture in Western North Carolina — one that was lost for generations and is now periodically revived in local-history articles, presentations, and visual art.
“It’s grown in an area that used to be known as the Kingdom of the Happy Land,” says Roberson. “After slavery, there were a lot of people who were homeless and didn’t have anywhere to go. They were able to settle in this gorgeous land and farm it and get their lives started that way.”
The former community sits near the current unincorporated town of Tuxedo sidling the South Carolina line. “There’s a whole lot of beautiful history on this farm,” says Roberson.
Beginning in the 1870s and lasting around 30 years, the 200 acres that made up the Kingdom of the Happy Land were home to up to 200 formerly enslaved African Americans who mostly hailed from the Deep South. It was run by their own appointed king and queen, had rules and guidelines, and provided work, food, and shelter for its parishioners. Citizens of the Kingdom often earned money by hauling luggage for travelers up the steep incline of the Saluda Grade in the days before the railroad. They raised livestock, made their own clothes, and compounded herbs grown on the farm to make “Happy Land Liniment,” a salve sold to neighbors to ease arthritic pains.
The history was first recorded in historian Sadie Smathers Patton’s 1957 pamphlet The Kingdom of the Happy Land, and the agrarian element is philosophically maintained by the current farm and its abundant harvest. These days the reap from the former grounds of the Happy Land is distributed as far as Florida, New York, and Idaho, and, nearer to home, at the Kingdom Harvest Café in Brevard. In lieu of the Happy Land Liniment, there are hemp extracts, skincare products, edibles, and even pet products. They also sell an array of products containing Delta-8 — a legal psychoactive cannabinoid — for those seeking that extra bit of happy in whatever land they roam.
The café opened in September of 2021, themed as a CBD and wine bar. “My partner in the shop, Alyssa [Connor], is a coffee fanatic and has been wanting to open a coffee shop for a while,” says Roberson. “So it made perfect sense for us to have the greatest of options: coffee, CBD, beer, wine, and snacks.”
Their full espresso bar serves Bean Werks coffee from Asheville, local beers on draft and in cans, as well as local wines. Bagels and pastries, muffins, dips and chips, charcuterie boards, wraps and salads round out the menu, which won the approval of the Blue Zones Project — an organization that seeks to recreate the environments of some of the healthiest communities in the world. “Blue Zones are regions where people live the longest and have the healthiest lives,” explains Roberson. “We’re actually the only CBD company that is part of the Blue Zones [program].”
Kingdom Harvest Wellness & Wine Café, 29 West French Broad St. #106, Brevard, open Monday through Saturday, 8am-5:30pm. For more information, call 828-862-5120 or see kingdomharvestbrevard.com.