Regional foods shine in Asheville with culinary travel packages and fall recipes

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ASHEVILLE, N.C. (August 7, 2013) — Top chefs and home cooks across the country are returning to traditional dishes and preparations from the past—many of them borrowed from the larders and woodstoves of Southern Appalachia. Flavors that were preserved for decades by cultural isolation are now trending and popping up on menus and dinner tables: apple stack cakes and warm biscuits, chow-chow and pickled okra, fresh-caught trout and free-range chicken. As summer winds down into fall, growers and artisans in the Asheville area are ramping up for the harvest season where heirloom ingredients and handcrafted flavors take center stage.

Early settlers in the Blue Ridge Mountains turned to farming, fishing and foraging to survive, and that agricultural heritage has remained in the area, enriched by the innovative craft of newcomer chefs and next generation growers. During the harvest season, visitors to the Asheville area can experience the local flavor for themselves—on the table in creative local restaurants, in the fields at area family farms and fresh from the forest on unique foraging adventures. Travel ideas, Appalachian-inspired recipes and a calendar of events are available at

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Six Harvest Adventures: Taste Your Way through the Season

  • An Apple a Day: Take part in apple picking season at dozens of Western North Carolina u-pick farms, including the Orchard at Altapass, which also features bluegrass music, hayrides and authentic mountain culture. Take home a basket of apples to make this traditional Apple Stack Cake recipe.
  • Wild Foods for "Find" Dining: The Blue Ridge forests are teeming with wild edibles, from mushrooms to native blueberries. Visit Graveyard Fields for a sweet bite of this year's bumper blueberry crop, or team up with Asheville forager Alan Muskat for a personal walk in the woods.
  • Artisanal Cheese Trail: Nine regional creameries have teamed up to showcase the flavors of local cheeses with the WNC Cheese Trail. The self-guided trail links farms and creameries where visitors can pet goats, watch cheesemaking and taste and purchase delicious cheeses from chevre to cheddar curds.
  • Fishing for Flavor: The cool, pristine streams of the Blue Ridge Mountains are alive with rainbow, brook and brown trout. Book a guided fly fishing trip, or make a reservation at one of the many Asheville restaurants that serve locally raised Sunburst trout.
  • In the Market: Enjoy the plentiful harvest at one of the area's 20 tailgate farmers markets, which feature baked goods, crafts, jams and flowers in addition to local meats and produce. You may even run into a local chef shopping for the evening's entrees.
  • Moveable Feasts: Culinary tours are a great way to sample a variety of regional foods. Check out the Eating Asheville tour for a guided outing to downtown restaurants, or embark on the Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project's Farm Tour in September to see family farms first-hand.
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Mountain Travel Deals

Appalachian Harvest Recipes

Whip up your own Appalachian fall foods with recipes for apple stack cake, cast iron-cooked trout with smoked grits or blueberry buttermilk tart.

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Kids with a kid on a farm in Asheville, NC
A farmers market in Asheville, NC
Apple Stack Cake Recipe from Early Girl Eatery in Asheville, NC