Venture into local foods

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The ultimate capitalist compliment is, “You should go into business!,” a line frequently heard by home cooks who’ve mastered the art of making chocolate-chip cookies, pound cakes or devilled eggs. But in Buncombe County, sophisticated eaters put a different spin on the same suggestion, telling talented kitchen amateurs: “You should contact Blue Ridge Food Ventures.”

Blue Ridge Food Ventures, jointly sponsored by AdvantageWest Economic Development Group and the state’s Department of Agriculture, maintains an 11,000-square-foot commercial kitchen for use by culinary entrepreneurs who might not have the capital to create a facility specifically for the production of their pickles or potato chips. Many popular local items, including Lusty Monk mustard and Theros olive oil, have emerged from the so-called “kitchen incubator.”

More than 30 entrepreneurs working with Blue Ridge Food Ventures will showcase their products next Tuesday, Sept. 23, at the organization’s Second Annual Marketplace — a dream event for folks who gravitate toward the sample set-ups at grocery stores. The event, which will be held at A-B Tech’s Enka campus, is open to the public from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Admission is free, but participants are asked to pre-register at www.blueridgefoodventures.org.

For more information, call 665-9464.

— Hanna Rachel Raskin, food writer

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