Did you know that Haywood County is home to over 700 farms encompassing more than 56,000 acres of land? With that much farmland, you are pretty much guaranteed to find some of the freshest, tastiest food anywhere in the region, especially when you dine at any of our farm to table restaurants. In today’s world of processed foods that are packed full of ingredients you can’t even begin to pronounce, the opportunity to dine on a delicious farm fresh meal of homegrown ingredients is a special culinary experience. But in Haywood County, farm to table experiences don’t just take place in our restaurants. Opportunities to enjoy simple, locally-grown goodness are bountiful in Haywood County all year long and we invite you to come discover them for yourself!
Photo – Chef Kaighn B. Raymond – Frogs Leap Public House
Currently, the height of harvest season is upon us so you’ll find a variety of local ingredients available on menus across Haywood County. In fact, there are over two dozen delicious restaurants to enjoy a meal featuring Haywood County grown or produced ingredients. And trust me…you can totally taste the difference! Keep in mind too that the concept of “farm to table” isn’t just about fruits and vegetables; it includes a wide variety of tasty products that are available year round. Rainbow trout sustainably raised in the flowing head waters of the Pigeon River, hormone-free grass-fed beef, fresh free range eggs, and a wide variety of culinary products created with locally harvested products are just some of the items you’ll find year round at our local restaurants and markets. Farm to table isn’t just a meal, its an authentic experience!
Photo – Rachel McIntosh – Dilly Beans from Copper Pot & Wooden Spoon
A perfect example of some of those tasty products comes from Chef Jessica DeMarco, owner of Waynesville-based business Copper Pot and Wooden Spoon. Chef DeMarco creates her innovative jams, pickles, and other spreads from Haywood County grown ingredients during the height of their harvest season. The final products – like Spiced Apple Beer Jam or Pickled Ramps – can be enjoyed all year long at local restaurants, markets, and are even available for you to take home. In addition to Copper Pot, you’ll find many other tasty treats served up at local business across the county, or shall we say brewed up?
Another innovative approach to a farm to table experience comes from Clark Williams, owner of Waynesville micro-brewery, Frog Level Brewing. Clark partners with local hop grower (and owner of farm to table restaurant Coffee Cup Cafe in Clyde) Heidi Dunkelberg to utilize a crop of her hops from H&K Farms Hop Yard in Canton. Together they create the annual “Frog P” Pale Ale, a beer brewed entirely with Haywood County grown hops – and it just happens to be due out in a few weeks! The best part? This is just the start to the many farm to table experiences you can have at anytime in Haywood County.
Photo – Heidi Dunkelberg – Hops from H&K Farms Hop Yard
So now that I’ve sparked your interest and made your mouth water, you’re probably wondering where you can learn more about all these restaurants and experiences. Thanks to local agritourism initiative, Buy Haywood, a full listing of restaurants and a variety of other agri-adventures can be found in their annual “Find your Adventure” Buy Haywood Agritourism Guide. Not only can you reference the digital version, but free copies of these guides can be picked up at the Haywood County Visitor Center at 1110 Soco Rd in Maggie Valley or at wide variety of participating business. Visit buyhaywood.com to learn more and find a full listing of agritourism offerings.
If you like this story, also read our “Embark on an epic ‘Agri-Adventure’ in Haywood County” blog!