A Taste of Asheville: Top Locally Made Goods
Asheville, North Carolina is well-known for its unique (and tasty!) food and brewery scene. Our cozy city brings an eclectic mix of individuals who want to sample everything the region has to offer—and Asheville makes sure they will keep coming back for more.
We have so much variety, one could stock an entire grocery store with foods from our local purveyors! These brands put the art in artisan foods, honing their unique craft and telling their story with each and every taste.
The secret’s in the sauce
The famous line, “the secret’s in the sauce” from the acclaimed film Fried Green Tomatoes is a common one used in the south—we definitely love our sauces! Our region offers an array of sauce, jam, and jelly makers. Many food traditions are passed down from generation to generation, and you’ll find most brands represented here are passionate about what they do because it’s in their bloodline.
We have so much variety, you could stock an entire grocery store with foods from Asheville area purveyors
Here are a few of my favorites:
- Imladris Farm: This 7th generation farm produces marvelous jams using berries either grown onsite or sourced from local farms. They even hand package their products.
- Smoking J’s Fiery Foods: From salsa and hot sauce to dry rubs and BBQ sauce, this spicy company exists to make your meats and nachos taste better. Plus, they grow all of their peppers on their family farm right outside of Asheville in Candler, NC.
- Lusty Monk Mustard: They’re “devoted to the idea that condiments should never be boring,” and their mustards are anything but ordinary. With quite a kick, this mustard definitely isn’t for sissies!
Honorable Mentions: Fire from the Mountain hot sauce, Pick & Preserve jams and jellies, Postre Caramels salted caramel sauce, Firewalker Hot Sauce Company, and Charley King’s jerk sauce.
For the carnivorous (plus some options for our vegan friends!)
From dry rubbed wings to a juicy Boston butt, the south is known for its delectable meats—and Asheville takes their proteins seriously. Our local livestock farmers offer additive-free meats from well-loved animals, which taste better because they were properly cared for throughout their life.
If you’re looking to get local meat or meat substitutes from the best, try these local favorites:
- Hickory Nut Gap: This farm is raising and harvesting some of the best meat in the south, all while nurturing the local community. They offer great CSA packages to locals, as well as whole animal options. You can find them in a variety of local stores.
- Carolina Bison: In many ways, the bison is the quintessential meat product of America. It represents a sustainable food source, and owner Dr. King is on a mission to keep this tradition alive and well. Bonus: bison is not only delicious, it’s good for you too!
- Smiling Hara Tempeh: For those who don’t like meat, there’s always tempeh! If you’ve never tried fresh, local tempeh, you are in for a treat: it’s much more tender and flavorful than the national brands.
Honorable Mentions: The Chop Shop local butchery, East Fork Farm, Foothills Butchery, No Evil Foods vegan-friendly meats, Sunburst Trout Farms.
Pass the cheese, please
Cheese: a mouth-watering dairy treat that’s been keeping mouths happy for centuries. Within these hills are numerous cheesemakers who both understand artisanal European cheesemaking techniques and innovate with their creamy creations.
- Three Graces Dairy: This dairy farm does it all. Local goat, sheep, and cow’s milk is the source of their delicious creamy concoctions. Our favorite? Their feta is amazing and will take an ordinary salad from mediocre to fabulous.
- Looking Glass Creamery: This family farm is doing it right. Studying under the best of Vermont, they brought their tradition to Western North Carolina—and boy are we glad!
Honorable Mention: Spinning Spider Creamery goat cheese and aged cheddar from the “cave cheese guy” can be purchased at Asheville City Market on Saturdays. (Southern Living magazine named their Stackhouse the best goat cheese in the South, so get there early to avoid missing out!)
What is cheese without pickled okra, hummus, and hand baked crackers? To fully enjoy Asheville’s finest foods, you need to know about all the munchies that will enhance the rest of your plate!
- Green River Picklers: Using traditions handed down from generations before them, this company knows how to please your palate with simple ingredients. Beets, beans, okra, cucumbers, asparagus, jalapenos—if it grows locally, they will pickle it (and it will be delicious).
- Roots and Branches: They didn’t mean to produce the finest crackers around, but that’s what happened. This restauranteur couple started baking after closing their restaurant in New Jersey. They planned on it being a hobby until getting rooted in Asheville, but once locals tasted these crunchy crackers, business was booming.
- Roots Hummus: Known as the “microbrew of hummus,” this company takes chickpeas to the next level. With a multitude of flavors like black bean, lima bean, thai coconut curry, and mango sriracha, your taste buds will thank you when you slather anything with it!
Honorable mentions: Farm and Sparrow breads, Asheville Pretzel Company.
Spread the local love
Whether you’re buying a gift for someone out of town or want it all for yourself, there are places that can make your dreams come true.
- Asheville Goods: Because many of these foods cannot be found in larger chain groceries, it can be difficult to figure out just where to pick up the items on this list. Luckily, Asheville Goods is an awesome local company that is dedicated to spreading the love. They provide locals and out-of-towners alike with Asheville noshing experiences—and they come in pretty packaging to boot!
- Asheville Tailgate markets: There are plenty of tailgate and farmers markets that feature many of these businesses. Plus, you’ll be able to experience the offerings of many local farmers at these weekly markets, too!
What local foods are your favorites? Let us know in the comment section.
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