Farm To Table Cuisine
The farm to table movement celebrates fixing food with local ingredients, directly from the field to your table. The movement is popular and important for several reasons. First and foremost, food straight from the field tastes better. The fresher the ingredients the better the meal is. Local ingredients are also better for the environment as less travel means less energy consumption and less pollution. Also small farms tend to use more humane and environmentally friendly practices, raising free-range chickens, grass-fed beef and organic vegetables. Local farms also protect and enrich our culinary and agricultural culture, sowing heirloom seeds and raising heritage breeds so our table is enlivened by the same food traditions that nourished our parents, grandparents and beyond.
It’s all about community
Buying from your neighbors makes sense. You are able to help the local economy thrive and you know where your food comes from. Farm to table gives you both a feeling of belonging and the power of really knowing what you are eating. Western North Carolina is a tight-knit community where farmers are appreciated and we chose to open Early GirlTM in Asheville because local ingredients are treasured and readily available. We hope our menu inspires you to come back and to support great food and community agriculture both here and in your town.
Fresh food tastes better
Fire From the Mountain
Dorene and Pete Jankowski began Fire From the Mountain in 2005 on their farm in Zionsville. We began using their smoked habanero hot sauce in 2008. Dorene and Pete were some of the first in our community to find a way to make great quality value-added products from produce grown on their farm, bottle it, market it and distribute it.
They met in New York City in 1985 while on duty serving in the US Coast Guard. After their commitment to the service they married and settled on the coast of North Carolina followed by several moves on the east coast finally in 1998 purchasing a small cottage built in the 1950s north of Boone where they now live. This homestead is on a humble two acres of bottom land on Hoskins Fork which flows into the upper reach of the New River. They immediately started growing their own food, raising chickens and goats, and rebuilding the soil, while Dorene worked in the restaurant business waiting tables, tending bar, and eventually becoming a daytime cook at one of the area’s premier country club. Her passion is cooking and creating dishes from whatever resources are at hand. Their small garden yielded the ingredients for salsa and hot sauces to satisfy their need for savory flavors which they shared with friends and soon were convinced to offer it to the public. So began their journey in 2005 of starting Fire From The Mountain, with three products, all made using peppers grown on their farm, produced at Blue Ridge Food Ventures in Candler. They have been producing there since the facility was opened in 2005 and currently have eight products on the market. Pete continues to work off the farm as a building contractor, specializing in traditional timber frame homes and energy efficient buildings. The rest of the time he is crawling in the dirt planting and tending to the hundreds of plants of many different pepper varieties and helping Dorene with the day to day farm chores. While their primary focus is growing peppers for our sauces, they also grow a wide variety of produce to diversify soil and offerings at the Watauga County Farmer s Market, with greens, herbs, blueberries and vegetables.
One of our favorite parts of Dorene and Pete’s story is the way their farm ties in with how sustainable food in our region has grown. They bottle their sauces and salsas at Blue Ridge Food Ventures, the largest shared-use food processing center in the southeast. Blue Ridge is an important piece of our puzzle towards a sustainable food system here in Western North Carolina. Fire From the Mountain sells to groceries and restaurants throughout North Carolina. As our region has grown so has their business, but it remains rooted here- helping farmland to remain farmland and helping retail outlets to keep serving local fare to their guests.
Next time you are in please try their smoked habanero hot sauce on top of your eggs, added to your BBQ sandwich, your meatloaf, your potatoes, your girts….you get the idea. We have been serving it long enough that guests ask for it by name when their food is served. You can also take a bottle home purchased from our host stand or check out their website Fire From the Mountain.
and try some of their other amazing sauces and salsas. The way in which Pete and Dorene have supported us and we support them- that’s the good stuff, the connection and the joy of running a business in Asheville.