By Jesse Wood
Nov. 13, 2014. An official unveiling of Bon Appétit Appalachia, a map highlighting the foods, farms and flavors of the region, will take place at F.A.R.M. Café in downtown Boone at noon on Friday, Nov. 14. This is the only official unveiling taking place in North Carolina.
Bon Appétit Appalachia is a project by the Appalachian Regional Commission, an economic development agency that represents the region of Appalachia, which spans 13 states. The map showcases 283 farms, farmers’ markets, farm-to-fork restaurants, wineries, craft breweries and more.
On Friday, six-foot renderings of the map will be on display at F.A.R.M. Café and a number of dignitaries are slated to speak, including: Earl F. Gohl, federal co-chairman of the Appalachian Regional Commission; Dr. Pat Mitchell, Assistant Secretary for Rural Development in the North Carolina of Commerce; and Wit Tuttell, executive director of Visit NC, a unit of the Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina.
In addition to F.A.R.M. Café being listed on the paper map published by Food Traveler Magazine, a dozen other locations are featured on the interactive map that can be perused at VisitAppalachia.com. Appalachian Mountain Brewery in Boone, Grandfather Vineyard and Winery in Foscoe, Watauga Lake Winery in Butler, Tenn., Trosley Farm in Elk Park, Maverick Farms in Valle Crucis, Proper in Boone, The Gamekeeper in Blowing Rock, The Local Lion in Boone, Hob Knob Café in Boone, Silverstone Hams in Zionville and J & M Produce in Blowing Rock are among the 650 listings on the digital map.
“It’s definitely an honor,” Amanda Merritt, volunteer coordinator at F.A.R.M. Café, said of the pay-what-you-can community kitchen being listed on the region-wide map. “We were never expecting to have this much recognition, but it’s great that they are coming and it’s going to definitely bring some great publicity.”
In addition to a number of local establishments being highlighted, the Appalachian Regional Commission and the ARC Tourism Advisory Council selected Boone-based Destination by Design to assist with publishing the map and website for this project.
In the spring and summer of 2013, ARC accepted nominations for establishments to be placed on the map, and 900 nominations were received months later. The nominees were then filtered by the following criteria:
- Within the borders of Appalachian Region
- Tourist-ready and great tourist experience
- Good faith effort to source locally as much as possible on a year-round basis
- List names of farms and/or farmers who supply locally-grown foods on menus, display boards or other literature regularly seen by patrons
- Offer local beers and/or wines by name on your regular menu
- Participate in efforts to promote local foods in your community – farmers market demonstrations, local food workshops, speaking engagements, catering for events, etc.
- Consistently carry menu items or offer specials that are built around local, seasonal ingredients
The Bon Appétit Appalachia website states that “the purpose of the map is to provide merely a ‘taste’ of the region’s diversity and abundance of local food destinations that would be of interest to tourists. This initiative is not meant to be a comprehensive listing, or a ‘best of’ campaign.
To peruse the map, which will be updated and refined as time goes on, click to www.visitappalachia.com.
F.A.R.M. Café is located at 617 W. King St. in Boone. For more information, contact F.A.R.M. Café at 828-386-1000 or click here.