Exploring the Appalachian Agricultural Tapestry through ASAP's Local Food Guide - TribPapers

Exploring the Appalachian Agricultural Tapestry through ASAP’s Local Food Guide

Staff rendering.

Asheville – Tucked in the cozy embrace of the Appalachian peaks, the familiar hum of the 2024-25 Local Food Guide by ASAP is here once again, ready to connect the folks of Western North Carolina with the flavors of their homegrown community. This year, the Local Food Guide brings together the bounty of local farms, farmers markets, eateries, and producers, painting a picture of the rich culinary tapestry that our region has to offer.

At the core of our farming culture, the Local Food Guide serves as a trusty companion for those seeking the freshest produce, meats, and handmade goodies crafted by our very own Appalachian Grown farmers. With its down-to-earth listings of farms and eateries, the guide serves as a practical bridge between local producers and food enthusiasts across the hills and valleys of WNC and beyond.

Within the Guide’s pages lie the stories of our hardworking farmers—the hands behind the harvest, the heartbeats of the land. From the tales of community-building efforts like Delia Jovel Dubón’s outreach in Henderson County to the trials and triumphs of farmers like Lyric and Noah East at Wild East Farm, their stories paint a picture of resilience, passion, and the everyday joys and challenges of Appalachian agriculture.

Sprinkled throughout the Guide are recipes straight from the fields, shared by farmers from Two Trees Farm (Sustainabillies), Lee’s One Fortune Farm, Two Stones Farm + Mill, Carringer Farms, and Terra Lingua Growers. These simple and delicious recipes, made with love and a touch of mountain magic, invite readers to savor the authentic flavors of our region and experience the joy of farm-to-table goodness.

Sarah Hart, the dedicated Communications and Engagement Director at ASAP, highlights the Guide’s practical organization into subregions, offering readers an easy way to explore the unique offerings of each local farm. This regional approach underscores the Guide’s commitment to celebrating the diversity and character of Appalachian farming.

As the Guide finds its place at farmers markets, visitor centers, and dining tables across the region, it calls out to all who want to deepen their connection to the land and support local producers. For those eager to explore the rich offerings of our agricultural landscape, the digital version of the Guide opens up a world of listings, searchable by location, products, and activities, making local food accessible year-round.

Behind this essential publication is ASAP, the Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project, dedicated to nurturing local farms, fostering connections between farmers and consumers, and building healthy communities through the power of local food. Supported by key partners like the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Dogwood Health Trust, and the Community Foundation of Western North Carolina, ASAP exemplifies the spirit of collaboration that sustains the agricultural heartbeat of our region.

In the rolling hills of the Appalachians, where the bounty of the land meets the hands of our dedicated farmers, the Local Food Guide stands as a practical tool for every local food enthusiast. Guided by the wisdom of the land and the dedication of our community, this annual publication invites us to savor the flavors of our region, celebrate the hard work of our farmers, and embrace the local food culture that brings us all together. Through its pages, a world of locally grown delights awaits, inviting us to support our farmers, enjoy the fruits of our land, and celebrate the spirit of Appalachian agriculture.

For those ready to embark on a culinary journey close to home, the Local Food Guide is a road map to the flavors, stories, and traditions of Western North Carolina. As it finds its way into the hands of readers near and far, may its practical listings guide our choices, its local tales inspire our hearts, and its message of community and sustainability resonate throughout the valleys, hills, and small-town nooks of our beloved Appalachian region.