What we ate: Local food

Photos courtesy Artisan Catering

Top 10 reasons to buy local food include: Better tasting food, sustaining rural heritage and protecting the natural beauty of the mountains, says the Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project. For your wedding, tapping into the bounty of local farms has never been easier.

"When you buy local food, you help keep local farms in business, strengthen our economy, preserve rural landscapes and encourage sustainable agricultural practices," adds ASAP's marketing and communications contact, Rose McLarney. "And you benefit directly: You enjoy fresher food."

Know those popular green bumper stickers that read "Local Food: Thousands of Miles Fresher"? — that's what they're talking about.

"For a special event like a wedding, you want the best ingredients," explains McLarney. "When you buy local, you get those in several senses. You get better tasting food. You get unique, regional food that is a reflection of your wedding's location. And you get food that's really fitting for a celebration, because it's good for your whole community."

A bride and groom who live in WNC probably already have an idea of their favorite local flavors. They might know a farmer from one of the area's many tailgate markets, or favor a particular baker or producer of specialty foods. Mead, wine, beer, goat cheese, chocolate, honey and jam are just a handful of the many products that can be locally sourced.

For those planing a wedding from afar (or for local residents needing some suggestions), McLarney recommends ASAP's Local Food Guide at www.buyappalachian.org. "They can either search for specific ingredients or browse the Caterers & Bakers section," she says.

Salad dressing, coffee and freshly milled grains can be found in the guide; so can vegetarian chefs, dessert masterminds and pasta makers.

Local food, like slow food, is a movement. Actually, the two are intimately linked. "Slow food is an idea, a way of living and a way of eating," reads the Slow Food USA Web site. "It is a global, grassroots movement with thousands of members around the world that links the pleasure of food with a commitment to community and the environment." But if joining a movement seems like a major undertaking on top of planning and carrying off a wedding, don't let the revolutionary language throw you. At its essence, local food means edibles that travel the shortest distance from farm to plate. Whether it's an heirloom tomato or a delicately balanced, three-tiered cake, the less time spend in transit, the better.

And, because wedding planning doesn't leave much spare time for trawling farmers markets in search of the best radicchio and ripest strawberries, consider leaving all that shopping to the experts. The local caterer or chef you choose to prepare you meal or hors d'oeuvres can sleuth in your stead. Another bonus for going local: the folks making your food have the insider info on where to find the very best goods.

"We have had the pleasure of serving several 100-mile menus to brides and grooms who are committed to minimizing the environmental impact of their wedding and showcasing the very best of what WNC has to offer," writes Miki Kilpatrick from Saffron Fine Foods. "All of the meat, fish, fresh vegetables and dairy are sourced from within a 100-mile radius."

A few of the many places Saffron Fine Foods gets delicious veggies, meats & cheeses:
Happy Cow Creamery, Pelzer, SC
Looking Glass Creamery, Asheville
Sunburst Trout Farm, Candler
Farside Farms, Asheville
Huntley Family Farms, Barnardsville
Deep Woods Mushrooms, Mills River
Madison Farms, All-Over-Madison-County
Holly Springs Nursery, Mills River


Thanks for reading through to the end…

We share your inclination to get the whole story. For the past 25 years, Xpress has been committed to in-depth, balanced reporting about the greater Asheville area. We want everyone to have access to our stories. That’s a big part of why we've never charged for the paper or put up a paywall.

We’re pretty sure that you know journalism faces big challenges these days. Advertising no longer pays the whole cost. Media outlets around the country are asking their readers to chip in. Xpress needs help, too. We hope you’ll consider signing up to be a member of Xpress. For as little as $5 a month — the cost of a craft beer or kombucha — you can help keep local journalism strong. It only takes a moment.

About Alli Marshall
Alli Marshall has lived in Asheville for more than 20 years and loves live music, visual art, fiction and friendly dogs. She is the winner of the 2016 Thomas Wolfe Fiction Prize and the author of the novel "How to Talk to Rockstars," published by Logosophia Books. Follow me @alli_marshall

Before you comment

The comments section is here to provide a platform for civil dialogue on the issues we face together as a local community. Xpress is committed to offering this platform for all voices, but when the tone of the discussion gets nasty or strays off topic, we believe many people choose not to participate. Xpress editors are determined to moderate comments to ensure a constructive interchange is maintained. All comments judged not to be in keeping with the spirit of civil discourse will be removed and repeat violators will be banned. See here for our terms of service. Thank you for being part of this effort to promote respectful discussion.

One thought on “What we ate: Local food

  1. Feeling Fit With Dana

    I love the idea of eating locally. It is hard, especially where I live. I shop at the Farmer’s Market when I can though.

Leave a Reply

To leave a reply you may Login with your Mountain Xpress account, connect socially or enter your name and e-mail. Your e-mail address will not be published. All fields are required.