Special Report: Home Grown

Updated: Monday, February 4 2013, 07:49 PM EST
Special Report: Home Grown story image
"Buy Local" it's the two word business mantra of the mountains that keeping commerce close to home is good for everybody.
Food is a perfect example of that partnership - farms, groceries and restaurants.
All those black-and-white "Buy Local" signs you see haven't been around all that long.
The concept was actually started almost 20 years ago by some farmers and restaurateurs who saw advantages in helping each other out.
But is buying local really better for the consumer???
A herd of bison grazing on a foggy morning in Leicester, the cows not far from the gated pasture that holds more than a dozen aggressive bulls.
Today, it's a breakfast of barley mash. They eat local too courtesy, "Beer City USA".
Mike Ellington, Ranch Manager, "it comes from the local brewery here, the wedge, over here in Asheville.. we get it over there a couple times a week."
Carolina Bison sells regionally, but mostly close to home.
From the farm, to the processor, then this distribution warehouse in Asheville.
Dr. Frank King, Carolina Bison, "to me it's the way things are designed to work.. you know, we're getting back to roots.. we're getting back to understanding the values of what we eat and what's raised locally."
So it's on up the local food chain to Earth Fare, following Dr. King's bison, which is also trimmed and sold as steaks.
Burgermeister's in west Asheville also buys from Carolina Bison.
Larry Gaddy's visiting from Hoke County and likes the idea of what's become so popular here, "it's hundreds of miles fresher that way.. and this is really very good.. now if you'll excuse me haha!"
Julie Stehling and her husband John own Early Girl Eatery in downtown Asheville, and were here when the "Buy Local" push began.
She believes most who advertise it deliver and that the concept just makes sense, "to be able to know where, who and how your food was raised.. is power.. to have that knowledge.. on top of that, if it doesn't travel farther, it definitely tastes better."
Perhaps the largest and most obvious example of the "Buy Local" food movement is the tailgate market.     
What's been a roadside staple for generations has "gone urban" and year-round. 
Click here for a full list of Winter Farm Markets.

By Frank Kracher
Follow Frank on Twitter @FrankKracherSpecial Report: Home Grown
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