Guests of The Residences at Biltmore have a luxury kitchen with all of the finest appointments at their disposal during their stay. In addition to supermarkets such as Harris Teeter nearby, there are also two excellent farmers markets within a short distance of the hotel, which offer wonderful selections of locally grown and handcrafted foods. The Residences at Biltmore Concierge staff is here to make a guest's gourmet experience as convenient and tastefully done as possible, so do not hesitate to ask for assistance.
Photo: Dwaine Swing is Co-owner of Oak Moon Farm and Creamery with his wife, Cynthia Sharp.
Meet the Local Farmer on an Asheville Vacation
A unique characteristic of the Asheville area is the large number of independent farms in and around town. Even before the Biltmore Estate was completed in the late 19th Century, Asheville was a central place where the local farmer could sell produce or other wares. When Grove Arcade was built in the late 1920s it was constructed as an open-air farmer’s market. Today, the Portico Market, near the Battery Park Avenue entrance to the Grove Arcade, continues the tradition of farmers and local craftspeople selling directly to the public in downtown Asheville.
French Broad Food Co-Op Farmers Market is less than ½ Mile Away
For seventeen years, farmers from across the Western North Carolina area have been setting up tables at the The French Broad Food Co-op Farmers Market, at 90 Biltmore Avenue. This local market is less than ½ mile north of The Residences at Biltmore, on the edge of downtown Asheville. The farmers market is held on Wednesdays from 2 p.m. – 6:30 p.m. and Saturdays from 8 a.m. – 1 p.m. The farmers and craftspeople who sell here all bring farm grown or handcrafted natural and organic products to the table.
A quick visit to the French Broad Food Co-op Farmers Market will satisfy the tastes of the everyday person and whet the appetite of the epicurean, or anyone who loves to make or taste fresh, gourmet food. Farm to table food is one of the hottest commodities in Asheville, especially with the price of gas driving supermarket prices higher and higher. Buying from a Western North Carolina farmer cuts down on the amount of resources needed to transport food and supports local growers.
Fresh Goat Cheese for Sale at Farmers Market in Downtown Asheville
Some great gems are waiting to be uncovered at the smaller farmers markets in Asheville. Dwain Swing and his wife Cynthia Sharp keep a herd of 90 goats at Oak Moon Farm and Creamery in Bakersville, about an hour away from Asheville. Dwain sells freshly made goat cheese at the French Broad Food Co-op market on Saturday mornings. His goat farm is the focus of a cover story in the November 2008 issue of the Dairy Goat Journal. Dwain says that in addition to plain and herb seasoned goat cheeses, they will be selling aged cheeses very soon.
Honey Soap Made with Natural Ingredients
Another regular craftsperson at the French Broad Farmers Market is Pam Reed. Pam began making soaps in Colorado for her children, who were sensitive to chemical additives. Pam owns Plush Soap Farms and she makes and sells handcrafted honey soap that is chemical free. She procures the honey from a local, West Asheville beekeeper. Soaps are made with the finest natural ingredients such as cocoa butter, shea butter and pure essential oils.
Buy Some Local Baked Goods on a Visit to Downtown Asheville
If there’s a sweet tooth that needs to be satisfied, or a homemade bread lover in the family, look for the bakery table at the farmers market. A couple named Dimitri and Darci DeWulf, owners of Loaf Child Bakery, bring breads, sweets, cookies, brownies, pies and tarts to sell at the French Broad Food Co-op market on Saturdays. Their baked goods are also for sale at Green Life on Merrimon Avenue in North Asheville. Dimitri says that all organic flour is the base ingredient for their breads and sweets, and that local ingredients are utilized whenever possible.
Speak Directly to the Farmer Who Grew or Raised the Food
It is clear that many of the local vendors in Asheville are close to their products and their customers. This is precisely what local farmers markets are all about. Visiting a farmers market is more than just a trip to the store to pick up a few things for a meal. Visiting a local farmers market is a chance to witness some local color and speak directly to the person who grew the food. Vendors sell fresh fruit and vegetables, free range meats, flowers, and more. On Saturday mornings, a dulcimer player performs at the market to enliven the atmosphere with some mountain style music while neighbors who are regulars at the market greet one another. When visiting a local farmers market, become a part of the Asheville atmosphere, relax, ask a few questions about the food, and say hello to the locals.
The Residences at Biltmore Concierge Will Make Your Gourmet Meal a Snap!
Upon returning to The Residences at Biltmore, remember – it’s the Concierge’s job to help make your stay, and therefore your meal, special. For some it may be an extra hand with the bags while returning to the suite. Or maybe it is the delivery of an item that will complete the gourmet kitchen, such as an extra corkscrew, kitchen utensil, or special type of seasoning. Whatever a guest may need to make that gourmet meal a little easier, The Residences at Biltmore Concierge is ready to assist. Bon Appetit!