Diversity and Independence in Local Food Businesses


The tagline of Asheville-based grocery store Katuah Market says it all: “Local By Nature.” A locally owned and community-oriented natural food store in Biltmore Village, Katuah Market has a mission to promote local farms and the food they produce, as well as other locally made items. The store’s commitment to the local community can be seen in their professed obsession to seek out “local folk ready to bring their new hot sauce, vegan brownie, or hand-crafted soap to retail because we believe in a strong local food economy.” Operations like Katuah Market play a pivotal role in a local food system by filling a niche that both supports the livelihood of local farmers and local food artisans and by connecting families and individuals to a variety of sources of locally produced foods. The success of local food entrepreneurial enterprises like Katuah Market pave the way for the success of a wide range of food-related businesses in our area.

The five-county region is no stranger to innovative food businesses dedicated to local food:

  • Farm to Home Milk, based in Asheville, is a delivery service that brings fresh product from area producers like Farside Farms (eggs and poultry), Hickory Nut Gap Farm (beef and pork), Looking Glass Creamery (cheese), and Sunburst Trout Farms (trout) to homes and businesses.
  • WNC is North Carolina’s “Apple Country,” so it was only logical for entrepreneurs Trevor Baker, Lief Stevens, and Joanna Baker to open Noble Cider in the heart of our region. Sourcing primarily from orchards in Henderson County, the hard cider producer has been pleasing palates since 2012.
  • Transylvania County is home to Mountain Select Natural Products, a rabbitry providing a locally raised, low-fat, low-cholesterol white meat alternative for upscale restaurants and health-conscious grocery stores.
  • Blue Ridge Hops, in Madison County, grows USDA certified organic hops. The variety and abundance of local food businesses in the five counties is a testament to impact of local food as an economic driver and revitalizer.

These are just a few examples. Dozens more exist in the region, and many can be found in the Local Food Guide at www.AppalachianGrown.org.

See more from the LOSRC/ASAP/NEMAC project:

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