It’s easy for a foodie to get spoiled in Asheville. Whether grabbing dinner downtown or shopping the tailgate markets and grocery stores for the makings of a homemade feast, the smorgasbord of choices is vast, diverse and endlessly innovative.
It hasn’t always been this way, of course. It wasn’t that long ago that Asheville was a dining desert, with only a few hardy culinary trailblazers, like Mark Rosenstein, Vijay Shastri and Laurey Masterton, willing to try their luck in a mostly boarded-up and derelict downtown.
Just a few short years ago, the French Broad Food Co-op, a couple of small tailgate markets and a skimpy handful of restaurants were the only businesses around buying produce from the progressive WNC farmers who were trying to make a go of it, and locally made value-added food products like Blue Blaze Soda and Smiling Hara Tempeh were the stuff of epicurean dreams.
It’s thanks to the work of a few pioneering visionaries and upstart organizations that the path was paved for Asheville’s present-day culture of culinary excellence. In this issue, Mountain Xpress takes a look at the roots of Asheville’s thriving food scene and a few of the many venturesome individuals and organizations who built it from the ground up.
It would fill the pages of many issues of Xpress to highlight all of the players who helped create our Foodtopia, so we encourage you to join the conversation — share your thoughts and memories of the history of our food community at www.mountainx.com.
Click the links below for stories about some of the Asheville food scene’s pioneering individuals and organizations: