The philosophy at Posana has always been to offer a seasonal menu that draws inspiration from locally available foods. Such a philosophy could never be implemented, however, without a partner such as the Appalachian Sustainable Agricultural Project (ASAP). This connection to the Western North Carolina industry of growing and producing food helps us to operate in an ecologically conscious manner. With that said, we’d love to tell you a bit more about how this works and give you more information about ASAP’s importance in our area.

We don’t see ingredients as coming from a box or can; we see ingredients as coming straight from the source. This means we need strong relationships with local growers and producers. That relationship with area farmers enables us to offer the freshest ingredients available in every season. While Asheville’s climate limits the ingredients that can be grown year-round, we incorporate local items whenever they are in season. That’s where ASAP comes in.

This organization explains its mission as existing “to help local farms thrive, link farmers to markets and supporters, and build healthy communities through connections to local food.” ASAP does that in lots of ways, but for now we’ll concentrate on those that have the biggest impact on a restaurant like ours.

ASAP connects area chefs and food-service buyers with the farmers that suit their needs. This means that we can utilize ASAP to find the farmers growing the ingredients we need to make your food as fresh, healthful, and tasty as possible. As part of that process, ASAP certifies local products grown or raised in the Southern Appalachians as “Appalachian Grown.” When consumers see the “Appalachian Grown” logo at a restaurant, as ASAP says, “they know they’re buying fresher foods that support your family farms, strengthen our local economy, preserve rural culture, and protect the region’s natural beauty.”

We have been intimately involved with ASAP since we opened our doors. Our very first day of business was the inaugural Growing Minds benefit, which we now host every year on our anniversary. This benefit is an important part of our mission: we create a 100% local menu and donate 100% of the proceeds to ASAP’s Growing Minds program. This program was started to teach WNC kids about where their food comes from, and being a family-oriented restaurant, this is especially important to us.

All of us who partner with ASAP also benefit from its Local Food Campaign, which includes a Local Food Guide, a local food bumper sticker, the Get Local initiative, and other marketing programs that illustrate the benefits of foods grown right here in our region.

The Local Food Guide comes in print and online versions (the online version can be found on the ASAP website), and now there is even a free app available for download. The guide helps you find ASAP restaurant partners like us in addition to tailgate markets, roadside stands and partners such as bed & breakfast and grocers. As part of the Get Local initiative you can join the whole community in celebrating a featured local food each month. For instance, February is meat month, so all of those fabulous locally raised meats are in the spotlight.

Recent research from ASAP shows that the demand for locally grown farm products in our region is at an all-time high. You want to know where your food comes from and our partnership with ASAP allows that to happen. ASAP has as a vision of “strong farms, thriving local food economies, and healthy communities where farming is valued as central to our heritage and our future.” We share that vision 100%, and we salute ASAP for all the wonderful work that the organization does.