Local Produce Used in Asheville, NC Restaurants
From tomatoes to potatoes and corn to country ham, Asheville’s farmers and culinary artisans produce some of the best crops in the country. And when they take their products to local farmers markets and the back doors of independent restaurants in the area, everybody wins.
“Back in 2005 when we opened, chef Bill Klein went to the farmers markets and incorporated his finds into nightly specials,” says Treavis Taylor, who owns fig bistro with his wife, Traci. “He built relationships with the farmers, and now they know what we need and bring it to us regularly.”
One of many independent restaurants in Asheville that draws heavily on local resources, fig gets its rainbow trout from Sunburst Trout Farm in Canton, its haricot verts, or green beans, from an organic grower nearby, and its mushrooms from a forager.
“They just stop at our back door and say, ‘Hey, look what I’ve got,’” Taylor says. Taylor, who grew up on a farm in eastern North Carolina, says he knows first-hand the benefit of supporting local farmers and “bringing things full circle” as much as possible in the community.
“If in any town, you were to try to eat only local food, you’d have a hard time, but we use local as much as we can,” Taylor says. “Ninety-five percent of our produce is definitely local; we don’t even put tomatoes on our hamburgers in the wintertime because they’re not available locally.”
The Lobster Trap & Fiore's
Local ingredients also matter to patrons, who gravitate to dishes that weren’t imported from parts unknown.
“We get the comment a lot that the food just tastes better,” Taylor says. Though its seafood is flown in fresh from Maine, The Lobster Trap serves local foods whenever possible, including produce, Ashe County cheddar cheese in the Oyster House beer cheddar soup and Three Graces Dairy chevre on the grilled North Atlantic salmon.
At Fiore’s Ristorante Toscana, chef and owner Anthony Cerrato insists on “fresh, local, seasonal products that are prepared simply and artfully.” At French comfort food restaurant, Bouchon, local smoked trout and goat cheese are used in the salade fumé, among many other homegrown options.
Blue Ridge Dining Room
At the Blue Ridge Dining Room at The Grove Park Inn Resort & Spa, chef Denny Trantham currently works with 13 local farms within 100 miles of his restaurant.
“The foods we get are fresher and better priced,” Trantham says. “We’re definitely reducing our footprint and cutting down on transportation. It’s for the greater good. My goal is 100 percent sustainability, but it is a challenge.”
Trantham, a western North Carolina native, gets fresh microgreens and salad greens from Jolley Farms in Canton; country ham from Watagua Farms in Boone; free-range chicken breasts from Tanglewood Farms in Winston-Salem; stone-ground yellow grits from Logan Turnpike Mill in Blairsville, Ga.; apple products from Henderson’s Best Produce in Henderson; and herbs from Blue Heron Farm in Leicester.
“I’m proud of my roots, and I know there are a lot of good, quality food products in this area,” Trantham says. “As a chef, it’s a win-win to help the environment, support the local economy and give our customers what they want.”
Read about more ways Asheville, NC restaurants are going green.