Local Food

Appalachian Food Services is self-operated making us "local" in every sense of the word. We do not contract out our food services but rather are self-operated and employ a local staff to prepare the food that is served on campus.  We operate three central production units (Meat Cutting Room, Vegetable Prep and the Bake Shop) to ensure that diners enjoy the freshest possible products.  Each day's menu items are prepared in our kitchens by local cooks and chefs. Furthermore, all sales and profits benefit the local economy and the university.

Learn more:  Food Services Sustainability & Local Food 2016-2017 Year in Review

Defining Local

What is Local & Why

  • Appalachian Grown™ products
  • Got to Be NC / Goodness Grows in NC products
  • NC products
  • Regional products (grown and produced within 250 miles of Appalachian)
  • Third-party certified products

Appalachian Grown™ Products

Appalachian Grown logoThe Appalachian Grown symbol is displayed with farm products grown or raised in Western North Carolina and the Southern Appalachian Mountains. The Appalachian Grown™ label is a trademark of Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project.

The Appalachian Grown region includes the following counties by state:

  • Map showing counties in the Appalachian Grown regionGeorgia: Fannin, Franklin, Gilmer, Habersham, Lumpkin, Pickens, Rabun, Stephens, Towns, Union, White
  • North Carolina: Alleghany, Ashe, Avery, Buncombe, Burke, Caldwell, Cherokee, Clay, Graham, Haywood, Henderson, Jackson, McDowell, Macon, Madison, Mitchell, Polk, Rutherford, Swain, Transylvania, Watauga, Wilkes, and Yancey
  • South Carolina: Anderson, Cherokee, Greenville, Oconee, Pickens, and Spartanburg
  • Tennessee: Blount, Bradley, Carter, Cocke, Greene, Jefferson, Johnson, Knox, Monroe, Polk, Sevier, Sullivan, Unicoi, Washington
  • Virginia: Carroll, Grayson, Scott, Smyth, Washington, Wythe

Got to Be NC / Goodness Grows in NC Products

Got to be NC logoThe Goodness Grows in North Carolina program is the official marketing program for the NC Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. The primary goal of the program is to assist in the promotion of North Carolina Agriculture as a whole and increasing the visibility of NC products by working with growers and companies that produce NC agricultural products.

The Goodness Grows in North Carolina label may be used only by qualified producers or processors of North Carolina agricultural and food products.

  • The label may be applied only on North Carolina produced or processed products which use product ingredients from North Carolina when readily available.
  • Products not indigenous to North Carolina do not qualify (Ex. citrus, coffee, etc.).
  • Imported products from foreign sources are not eligible.
  • Only the first/top-quality products from a product line will be considered for membership.
  • The processing/production facilities or corporate headquarters must be located in North Carolina.
  • If the processing facility is located out-of-state, the product must be a 100% North Carolina agricultural product.
  • Identification of the North Carolina corporate headquarters is required on product packaging.
  • Facilities and products must meet all Federal and State regulations where applicable.

NC Products

Because we want to help stimulate our state's economy, we support NC companies not designated as Got to Be NC or Goodness Grows in NC. 

Regional Products (grown and produced within 250 miles of Appalachian) / Third-party Certified Products

Map with circle showing area within 250 mile radius of Boone, NCThrough Appalachian's Office of Sustainability, we participate in the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education's (AASHE) STARS® program.

The Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System™ (STARS) is a transparent, self-reporting framework for colleges and universities to measure their sustainability performance. STARS® was developed by AASHE, an acknowledged thought leader that advances sustainability by providing invaluable resources, with broad participation from diverse representatives of the higher education community.

STARS® Food and Beverage Purchasing criteria is as follows:

  • Grown and processed within 250 miles of the institution
  • Third-party certified (USDA Certified Organic, Marine Stewardship Council Blue Ecolabel, Food Alliance, Fair Trade, Certified Humane Raised and Handled)

Purchasing Local

What's in Season chart of NC fruit and vegetable availability. For a PDF chart, see http://www.ncagr.gov/markets/availabilitychart.pdfWe purchase 10-20% from local sources, depending on availability, and look to increase this percentage in future years. We want to establish lasting and beneficial relationships with local farmers and producers, as well as help develop a stronger local economy by supporting NC businesses.

What's in Season

  • Our isolated, higher elevation region has limited farm acreage
  • The short growing season limits product availability
  • Crop abundance occurs during the summer while the majority of students are away
  • Many of our area farmers primarily grow specialty products for area restaurants and farmers' markets
    • We have met with local farmers and producers on several occasions and have established an open line of communication with those who are mutually interested in providing Appalachian with local products
  • North Carolina's only year round produce crop is sweet potatoes
  • Some abundant crops, such as beets and turnips, are unpopular with diners

Local Food on Campus

  • Meal cooked with local productsWe have developed and continue to add to a list of items served in the dining concepts that are Always Local & Sustainable
    • This list includes beverages, dairy, grains, grocery items, meats and produce - we added 16 new items in 2015-2016
  • We work closely with local produce distributor, Lett-US-Produce to obtain much of the local produce that is served on campus
  • We continue to purchase local apples from Bill Mortez, owner of Moretz Mountain Orchard and Farm in Boone, NC
    • The orchard was started by Bill's grandfather in the 1930's
    • They have over 90 different varieties of apples - sweet to tart, antiques to modern
  • We held our first Carolina Chowdown local meal during Earth Week 2011
  • We introduced the local Blue Ridge Burger, with ground beef sourced from North Fork Farm in Zionville, NC, during Earth Week 2013
    • It was added to the daily menu at Rivers Street Grille in 2013
    • We began serving 100% local North Fork Farm ground beef at Rivers Street Grille in 2015
  • During the fall semester 2013, we launched Local Appetite, a community-based partnership between Appalachian Food Services, local farmers and distributors and community organizations to bring fresh, seasonal produce to campus 
    • This initiative continued in 2014 and 2015; in 2015, we purchased 500 cases of local produce from Local Appetite farms
    • Local Appetite will return in the fall of 2017
  • We introduced a new series, Sustainable Seafood Days, featuring sustainably-sourced seafood from Sea To Table in 2015-2016; the series continued in 2016-2017 and new dates are scheduled for 2017-2018
  • The Markets sell a selection of Local & Organic products 

Want to learn more, take a Food Services Behind the Scenes Tour!