ASHEVILLE NC – Beans are back in Western North Carolina after taking the winter and spring seasons off. And, they’re a big deal around these parts. It’s been asserted that more heirloom beans, including the well-loved greasy, originated in WNC than anywhere else in the country. Varieties old and new of bush beans, pole beans, fresh shell beans, and dry beans all get ASAP’s Get Local spotlight this month.
Appalachian Grown partner restaurants are excited to give beans a starring role that often goes to berries or the first tomatoes in July. The Junction’s early summer menu highlights braised local October beans with cauliflower, preserved lemon and capers, and root vegetable demi-glace alongside sweet-tea brined chicken. Also find a Hoppin’ John salad with a local lima bean twist to accompany grilled sirloin tip complete with a balsamic reduction, crispy avocado, roasted cherry tomatoes, and a bourbon barbeque glaze. The Market Place is whipping up a local seasonal special of wood-grilled pork shoulder served with a butter bean and kale ragout and a strawberry relish. Neo Burrito’s locations are serving up the option of a local bison sausage and summer veggie burrito or tacos accompanied by a local green bean and bacon salad.
Of course, area tailgates will be brimming with farm-fresh beans. What’s more, July is just the exciting start of the season, and many beans will stick around through summer and into fall. But don’t just look to farmers to buy beans. Like area chefs, artisan food producers are showing beans love now, too. Copper Pot & Wooden Spoon uses just-picked local green beans to produce their famous Dilly Beans with Pickled Peppers—they were featured in Garden and Gun magazine’s 2012 Made in the South Awards. Find Copper Pot at Haywood’s Historic Farmers Market in Waynesville.
To browse more Appalachian Grown partner restaurants serving, as well as groceries and roadside stands selling, local beans now, visit ASAP’s online Local Food Guide. There, also browse Appalachian Grown certified farms growing beans this year. Search by dry, green, pole, shell, and soy.
ABOUT ASAP (APPALACHIAN SUSTAINABLE AGRICULTURE PROJECT)
ASAP’s mission is to help local farms thrive, link farmers to markets and supporters, and build healthy communities through connections to local food. To learn more about ASAP’s work in the region, visit asapconnections.org, or call (828) 236-1282.