Monday, October 20, 2014

Washington, D.C., writer travels Appalachia, following the Bon Appétit! Bon Appalachia! map

Washington, D.C., freelance writer Melanie Kaplan recently traveled through Appalachia, spending a few days following the Appalachian Regional Commission's Bon Appétit! Bon Appalachia! interactive map that highlights about 650 distinct eateries in Appalachia in an attempt to bolster the region's economic development. 

"I had many of the same preconceptions a lot of people do about Appalachian fare (lots of fried food, the occasional squirrel) and had never considered visiting this part of the country to eat," Kaplan writes for The Wall Street Journal. "But the more I studied the map, the more intrigued I was by all of the farm-to-table restaurants in off-the-tourist-track places."

Kaplan, who traveled with Hazard, Ky., native Travis Fugate, visited about a dozen spots in Lewisburg, W.Va., Charleston, W.Va., Pikeville, Ky., Abingdon, Va., Meadowview, Va. and Boone, N.C.

"Over the course of the trip, we’d seen coal towns struggling to reinvent themselves and restaurants straining to be sustainable and profitable," Kaplan writes. "We’d talked about the challenge of providing healthy, tasty food to less-than-affluent locals. It seemed fitting that our last stop was Boone’s F.A.R.M. (Feed All Regardless of Means) Café, a pay-what-you-can kitchen where you can buy a meal, trade volunteer hours for food or pay extra so someone else can eat later." (Read more)

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