FOOD SHOPPING ASHEVILLE/WAYNESVILLE
Recently bought a home in Maggie Valley which is definitely not the best place for a chowhound/gourmet cook. We made several trips into Asheville and have had some excellent meals (thanks to tips from this board). Now, the challenge is food shopping so I can create great meals at home. Give me an itinerary for a day of shopping (including stopping off for a nice lunch or early dinner before heading back. If you know of any places in Waynesville, that would be great, too. Looking for wonderful, fresh, local ingredients. Thanks in advance!
Ingles has probably the largest selection at the best price. There is a very large Ingles in Waynesville. In Asheville you have Fresh Market - high end gourmet, Earth Fare & Greenlife - organic. But Ingles carries many of the same organic items but they are less expensive.
IMO, Greenlife is superior to Earth Fare, and Fresh Market is WAY WAY down the scale if it is anything like the FM's in Greenville, Hendersonville and Spartanburg.
For a shopping day, I would stop at the French Broad food CoOp's tailgate market (in season), then on the the Asheville wine Market across the street on Biltmore, then hit Greenlife. The organic produce vendor in Grove Arcade is also worth a stop. Very reasonable prices and off and on some beautiful things. The best heirloom tomatoes I have had anywhere except my backyard.
There is also a tailgate market on Saturday afternoon outside Greenlife (I was there today, it was gone...for the season I suppose). Look for a dark haired lady with a Russian accent. She has beautiful lettuces and other veggetables and wonderful flower boquets that last for almost two weeks.
I don't know about Waynesville, but if you will venture into Sylva, Annie's bakery has fantastic bread...better than their pastries. I recommend the buttermilk currant bread and some of thier hot chocolate for a very nice breakfast on a chilly morning.
if you like to cook, especially if your tastes are exotic or you're adventurous, shopping in this area stinks.
there are no good butchers. meat at grocery stores is of lesser quality and variety is lacking.
fish is difficult to find. i like the vendor that sets up shop across from the muni golf course near river ridge on fridays. area stores are inconsistent in quality and availability.
farmer's market is decent, as are some of the area tailgate markets. pick up a mtn express for tailgate listings.
there's a decent asian market in regent's park near sams club.
area grocers are middling. ingles is the big regional chain. some of their stores are good, others not. you'll have to figure out which are the good produce days at the ones convenient to you. fresh market has decent meat and produce, but they're pricy. greenlife and earth fare are green grocers. both have pretty good meat selections. produce at both is very hit-or-miss. both are pricy. pretty much everything else can be found at other stores for less (unless you just have to have greenie buzzword packaging - ie "natural," "holistic," "organic"). harris teeter usually has varied, decent produce, but they're pricy as well.
i mail order quite a bit of stuff, including olive oil, spices, nuts, vinegars, chocolate, etc since i can't find what i want locally. i also stock up during visits to family up north.
if i were shopping for fun, instead of my usual weekly trip, i'd go on a friday, hit the farmer's market & whatever tailgate markets are running that day. i'd pack a cooler and get fish from the guy above. i'd hit the asian market at regent's park. i'd wrap up with margaritas at lucky otter (shopping of any sort is stressful for me, alcohol usually succeeds it).
oh mark, you're so overpriviledged ;-)
Everything is relative. We always take a cooler when we go to Asheville so we can load up on foodstuffs. The shopping is SO much better than in Greenville.
It is a shame about the lack of butchers. We have none in Greenville either. However Greenlife sells Coleman beef and Bell and Evans chicken...that's why we switched to them from Earth Fare (who used to have both purveyors, but switched)
I think the tailgate markets are fantastic! I got some of the most beautiful baby lettuce last week I think I've ever seen.
I order my chocolate too. Not that I can't find the stuff, but I can't pay for it. Have you tried chocosphere.com? I buy Valhrona cocoa powder in bulk from them. Thanks for reminding me...I think I need to place an order.
We're coming to the Asheville area next week (M-F) and will be cooking most of the the week so we'd appreciate some help w/ local purveyors. We're staying btw Asheville and Hendersonville but are fine driving for good stuff (and will be spending time downtown anyway). I've searched through the threads but I'm left with a few questions
1) WNC Farmer's Market? Is it any good this time of year? Is it just produce or do they also do meat, poultry, dairy, etc.?
2) French Broad Food Co-op: Is it members only or can anyone shop there? Is it any good?
3) Good bread?
4) Good cheese selection?
5) local, pastured beef/pork/poultry/eggs? Hickory Nut Gap, linked in other thread is the right idea but their farm store is too late in the week to be of much help?
Thanks in advance.
Wow, I totally forgot about that post from two years ago. Some of the suggestions from my original post were very right on. Things are definitely different in the winter than the summer months. WNC Farmers Market is pretty good in the summer, but I haven't been in the winter. It's mostly produce, but they do have cheese and some meats (like bacon, ham, etc.) Anyone can shop at the French Broad Food Co-op. The only one that I know for sure tailgates there in the winter is the salmon guy and he really does have delicious wild salmon (both smoked, cured and fresh). That's on Wednesdays (I'm 99% sure). There's a very good bakery/pastry shop/cafe downtown Asheville. The name escapes me. It's not right downtown, but a few minutes out. Do a search or post for the name and someone will have it. I like the cheese selection and Earth Fare and Green Life. There's a local goat cheese perveyor they carry at Earth Fare that is wonderful. It's in the center case - the one with fig is delicious. Just ask them and they'll know exactly what you're talking about. The meat, poultry and fish is very nice at Earth Fare, too. I haven't been to Hickory Nut Gap, but have heard good things. We're part-timers, so I'm still checking out the scene. Shopping is challenging, but can be fun. We still bring food with us and mail order certain things. Good luck and have a good time.
At exit 44 off I-40 there is a Bi-Lo. They will cut anything for you. Their rib eyes are really good. I also buy my crab legs from Sams. 4 minutes on each side on the grill. Yummy. Hummm, maybe I should run get some for dinner.
Since the fish market that was on Merrimon closed there really hasn't been great seafood to find; however, the Ingles across from Fresh Market on Merrimon will order things for you as will FM.