Since 2017, Mother Ocean Seafood Market has been making a splash on the local food scene. The business began with refrigerated trailers full of fresh and frozen seafood sold at area tailgate markets, before opening a brick-and-mortar store on Merrimon Avenue in 2020. More recently, owner Sam Kosik hired chef Chris Cox to develop Mother Ocean Seafood Market’s prepared food offerings in the store and to create a hot food menu focused on seafood-centric sandwiches like po’ boys, lobster rolls and fried seafood baskets.
On July 15, Mother Ocean expands yet again, taking over the stationary food truck at Pleb Urban Winery in the River Arts District.
“Graham House built it out, but he got busy with other things,” says Kosik. “So, I called my friend Denny Ward, a great chef from Charleston, who knows seafood. He has moved up here and will be in the truck.”
Current hours for RAD Food Truck powered by Mother Ocean Seafood Market are Thursdays, 3-8 p.m., Fridays and Saturdays, 1-9 p.m. and Sundays, 1-7 p.m. The menu will change frequently, but expect the lobster roll, crab cakes and shrimp cocktail, as well as a daily poke or ceviche made from trimmings of the day’s fresh catch.
In other news from Mother Ocean, Kosik reports that on Wednesdays, 3-6 p.m., at Smoky Park Supper Club, he’ll be partnering with chef Steve Goff for a pop-up serving oysters on the half shell, smoked oysters and smoked meats.
Pleb Urban Winery is at 289 Lyman St.. For more information, visit avl.mx/bro. Smoky Park Supper Club is at 350 Riverside Drive, avl.mx/9wo. Mother Ocean Seafood Market is 640 Merrimon Ave., avl.mx/brn.
Editor’s note: Following the publication of this story, Sam Kosik notified Xpress that the Mother Ocean food truck has had to temporarily end services due to health-related issues among its staff. There is no set date for the relaunch, though plans are in the works.
In a pickle
Nearly 400 people attended the inaugural PicklePalooza at Blue Ghost Brewing Co. on National Pickle Day, Nov. 14, 2021. The second annual event will remain at Blue Ghost but will move to the Fletcher brewery’s backyard and take place Saturday, July 23.
“Blue Ghost’s yard is about the size of two football fields and has a stage, so we’ll be able to really spread out,” says Don Paleno — the “D” to partner Justin Dewalder’s “J” in DJ’s Pickles, the local small-batch pickle company that launched in February 2021.
The stage will be the setting for two live music acts and a DJ spinning tunes. Activities will include a pickle-eating contest, Paleno’s take on the popular sport of pickleball, which he calls Pick-a-Ball, and a pickle bucket race.
In addition to DJ’s Pickles jarred products and swag, other local makers will sell their wares. Blue Ghost’s food truck will also be serving, as will Kinfolk, who will endeavor not to run out of fried pickles this year. Additionally, Diggity Doughnuts will have a dill doughnut, and Pelican’s Snoballs will offer a pickle-flavored icy.
Admission is free, but $5 donations are encouraged to benefit Asheville Area Habitat for Humanity. PicklePalooza 2022 kicks off at 1 p.m. and will run until 9 p.m.
Blue Ghost Brewing is at 125 Underwood Road, Fletcher. For more information, visit avl.mx/brm.
On July 1, chef Silver locovozzi, who uses they/their pronouns, celebrated the launch of their Filipino restaurant Neng Jr.’s inside Different Wrld, a creative hub located in West Asheville.
“It’s a very small space, like a New York City restaurant in Asheville,” says locovozzi. “So, we’ve had to be smart about fitting all the equipment like a glove.”
The menu will also be succinct. “It will be a 10-item menu, mostly small plates and three to four larger dishes, so people can build the meal they want,” locovozzi explains.
locovozzi admits that translating Filipinx food is a challenge when it is not nearly as familiar to Americans as Chinese, Indian, Mexican and Italian. “Filipinx food is hard because it has never hit that mainstream avenue,” the chef says. “But I would say the moment is now, and I’m excited Neng Jr.’s will be the first in Asheville.”
Through July, Neng Jr.’s will be open Friday and Saturday only, with reservations from 5:30-9:30 p.m. and walk-ins from 10 p.m.-midnight. locovozzi expects to extend operations to four nights a week in August.
Neng Jr.’s is at 701 Haywood Road (entrance is in rear of the building). For updated information, visit avl.mx/brj.
Bites & a Flight will pair four Barn Door ciders with four bites by the chefs; one of those small plates will be a fresh corn and crawfish fritter with shishito pepper aioli. Tickets for the 5:30 or 7 p.m. service are $40 per person.
Barn Door Ciderworks is at 23 Lytle Road, Fletcher. For tickets, visit avl.mx/brl.
“Take two tomatoes and call me in the morning.”
Not what most people expect to hear from their physician, but that’s the advice Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project is promoting through the Farm Fresh Produce Prescription program the nonprofit piloted in 2021 and has expanded this season.
The program allows health care providers to “prescribe” patients fresh fruits and vegetables from local farms to help treat or prevent diet-related illnesses. Patients can redeem prescriptions, totaling $20 to $60 per week at nine farmers markets or through The AVL Box, a local food delivery service.
ASAP is working with Mountain Area Health Education Center and Sona Pharmacy to offer produce prescriptions. The program is also available as a service of the Healthy Opportunities Pilot with select Medicaid insurance providers. Eligible patients are those who suffer from or are at risk of developing a diet-related condition and are either eligible for a federal supplemental nutrition program such as SNAP or enrolled in Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program.
Those patients receive a prescription identification number to present at a participating farmers market information booth in exchange for Farm Fresh Bucks used to purchase fresh fruits and vegetables from any produce vendor.
Program participants may also use their prescription identification number to order produce boxes via The AVL Box, available for delivery or at four pickup locations in Asheville, Black Mountain, Fairview and Hendersonville. Access to that service is available at avl.mx/8pq.
For more information on the prescription program, visit avl.mx/brd.
The Asheville Buncombe Food Policy Council has renamed and refreshed its quarterly newsletter and invites folks interested in advocating for food systems improvements to subscribe.
The summer 2022 issue of Fair Fare announces the good news of ABFPC’s award of a $5,000 Buncombe County Tipping Point grant to fund their Community Cold Storage Project, which supports neighborhoods with outdoor food pantries by installing refrigeration of some type. The organization’s Outdoor Pantries Project continues to expand with its newest partner, Southside Community Farm.
For more information about supporting the OPP and where they are located, visit avl.mx/brf. To keep up to date on food sustainability, food justice and community news, projects and events, subscribe to avl.mx/brg.
Homegrown culinary teams
Asheville and WNC restaurants are often staffed with graduates of either A-B Tech’s Culinary Arts and Hospitality program or its Baking and Pastry Arts program. Recently, The Biltmore Co. and the college began working together to ensure a new batch of students can learn and earn locally.
The partnership includes four training scholarships, which support individualized training programs. The first recipient is Baking and Pastry Arts program student Andjela Legrand.
The scholarships provide funding each semester and employment at the Biltmore Estate, with a schedule built around students’ class schedules.
The Biltmore is also sponsoring A-B Tech’s Student Hot Food Culinary Team in the American Culinary Federation’s National Competition in Las Vegas the final week of July. This year’s competition marks lucky number 13 for A-B Tech; according to a recent press release, the college has sent more competition teams to the ACF Nationals than any culinary program in the country.
Biltmore executive chef Mark DeMarco has provided kitchen space for the team to practice and experience a taste of the judging process. Team members include captain Roman Nourse, Emmer Moraza Rodriguez, Michael Tan, Christy Greer, Josh Waters, team manager Jason Gray and coach Stephen Hertz.
Asheville is home to two James Beard 2022 national award winners — Curate for Outstanding Hospitality and Chai Pani as Outstanding Restaurant. Add 10 Wine Spectator magazine 2022 Awards of Excellence recipients to our town’s crowded trophy case.
To qualify, restaurants must offer a minimum of 100 bins. Nine of the 10 are repeat winners; West Asheville’s Jargon restaurant makes its debut on the list. Posana and Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse both received two wine glasses, designating Best of Award of Excellence, while Chestnut, The Blackbird, Vue 1913, Corner Kitchen, Avenue M, Sunset Terrace and The Dining Room join Jargon as Awards of Excellence winners.