Want to Eat Local in Appalachia? Here's a Map That Can Help
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What does a Cornbread Festival in Tennessee, a Paw Paw festival in Ohio and the Hatfield McCoy Moonshine Distillery in West Virginia all have in common? They’re among hundreds of destinations featured on a map called Bon Appétit Appalachia. The map features Appalachian restaurants, wineries, and festivals serving locally sourced food has just been updated with more listings by The Appalachian Regional Commission. The map has 62 regional food destinations in West Virginia.
The Bon Appétit Appalachia Map was first published in 2014. Since then, hundreds of new listings have been included on the map, featuring restaurants like the Dish Café in Raleigh County. Manager Rosy Corley says customers come for the locally raised beef and fresh veggies. “They’re just so excited to be able to eat what we call real food that’s not processed and I think that trend is becoming more and more popular.”
And that increasing popularity for authentic local food is driving other restaurants across Appalachia to buy food locally when possible, even if doing so can get expensive.
Another location on the map is Fish Hawk Acres farm and catering in Upshur County, a business that recently expanded, opening a new market and cafe in downtown Buckhannon. Debbie Hubert is a caterer with Fish Hawk Acres. She says the biggest challenge they face trying to buy more local ingredients is the time it takes to find the high quality food items they need on a consistent basis. “We buy as much local food as possible, but if we have to get product out of season, we get it from a bigger food source,” Hubert says.
The Appalachian Regional Commission hopes their Bon Appétit Appalachia map will help encourage more customers to visit small businesses across the region.
Politically, Appalachia encompasses 423 counties across 13 states — and West Virginia’s the only state entirely inside the region. That leaves so much room for geographic and cultural variation, as well as many different views on what Appalachia really is. For Inside Appalachia, we turned our entire episode over to the question, “What is Appalachia?”