Local Farms

With a hoard of more than 700 family farms and businesses committed to local food, Western North Carolina is a veritable gold mine of fresh eats. Whether you’re seeking tailgate markets, U-pick farms, roadside stands, or a quaint farm stay, Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project is the go-to resource. For more than a decade, the organization has spearheaded the local food movement, connecting farmers with food service buyers, chefs, and consumers. And ASAP’s Growing Minds Farm to School program is making great strides helping kids connect with their food sources through farm field trips, cooking classes, and putting local produce in school cafeterias.

Artisan Food Producers

From gourmet mustards and hot sauces to artisan cheeses to bamboo pickles, Western North Carolina abounds with locally made specialty food products. One of the region’s greatest resources in helping these small business entrepreneurs get their products to market is Blue Ridge Food Ventures. The 11,000-square-foot shared use kitchen incubator and natural products manufacturing facility offers support in product development, guidance through the many regulations and production standards, advice on packaging and design, and more. And the Asheville Wine & Food Festival is a great chance to meet many of these makers and purchase directly from the source.


Food Trails & Tours

So much to eat, so little time! Sample highlights of the area’s culinary scene during a guided tour. Eating Asheville and Asheville Food Tours offer the best of downtown and Biltmore Village dining with 2.5-hour walking food tours that takes in samples and sips from restaurants and gourmet shops. Have a more specific hankering? Cheese lovers can get a taste along the WNC Cheese Trail, a passion project-in-progress put together by our area dairy farmers and artisan cheese producers. Choose your own cheese adventure for an afternoon or span a whole weekend.

Regional Spirits

North Carolina distilleries are fast becoming known throughout the country. The first female distiller in the state, Troy Ball of Troy & Sons, has established her company’s distribution of whiskey throughout the United States and internationally in just a few years. Southern Artisan Spirits, distillers of Cardinal Gin, won Double Gold in the 2012 San Francisco World Spirits Competitions. We have more than a dozen distilleries in North Carolina and more are planned. And their products range from gin, rum, vodka, to moonshine. From the movie Thunder Road (filmed in Asheville) and the stories of Junior Johnson, a legendary local bootlegger and NASCAR Hall of Famer, and notorious moonshiner Popcorn Sutton, our distilleries perpetuate the legends and our heritage.


Ask around town and you might come across someone who’s lived here long enough and remembers when Biltmore Avenue, Asheville’s main drag, had but one restaurant. That’s a snapshot of the city’s food landscape in the early ’90s. And boy has it grown. Asheville now boasts some 200 independently owned restaurants serving farm fresh fare from around the region. In fact, the entire Western North Carolina region, from Boone to Hendersonville to Highlands, has seen a farm-to-table renaissance, with farmers, food producers, chefs, and restaurateurs working together to strengthen the local food movement. We hope you’ll stay and sample the flavors from around the region. Here are a few resources to get you started.


Local Wines

You might be surprised to learn that there are 35 wineries within 100 miles of Asheville. We are surrounded by wineries, and more are on the way. North Carolina has just reached 121 wineries and boasts more than 425 vineyards, ranking the state among the top five destinations in the country for wine enthusiasts. What’s more, North Carolina wineries and vineyards contribute more than $1.2 billion to the state’s economy, and nearly 7,600 jobs are supported by the industry.


Craft Brews

Somewhere between Biltmore and the Blue Ridge Mountains, beer has found a foothold as one of the major musts in Asheville. Named “Beer City, USA” for years in a row, Asheville boasts more than 20 area breweries, with more up and coming, including New Belgium and Sierra Nevada on the horizon. Feeling crafty? Asheville Ale Trail’s comprehensive list and map offers need-to-know tips and info for a DIY tour (minus the designated driver).

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