By Natasha Anderson
If you’re reading this section, you probably have an interest in supporting your local community and your own health by leading a farm-to-table lifestyle. And you probably know that’s not always easy to do. Busy schedules and the ubiquity of convenience foods can ruin the best of intentions.
That’s why Mother Earth Produce, an Asheville-based delivery service for organic and local produce and other edibles, is such a hit with customers. Not only do they deliver bins of fresh fruits and vegetables to your door at no extra charge, they also have a wide selection of meats, dairy and prepared foods from a network of more than 25 farmers and artisans.
“They’re constantly rotating items, so it’s exciting to see what’s offered,” says Lyndsey Thomas, a customer in Black Mountain, NC, who began utilizing the service because her schedule often prevented her from visiting local farmers’ markets. “It’s so easy to go online and eliminate frequent grocery trips.”
Though fresh fruits and vegetables are the backbone of its business, Mother Earth Produce continues to expand its selection of prepared foods due to popular demand. “More and more people want the convenience,” says Andrea Duvall, the company’s owner. “Our selections change with the seasons and there’s always something new.” Current offerings include pot pies from Madison Pot Pie in Marshall, NC, vegetable lasagna with cream sauce from Swamp Rabbit Café in Greenville, SC, and cranberry walnut bread from Flat Rock Village Bakery in Flat Rock, NC.
Because Mother Earth Produce shares the same values as their suppliers, who rely on seasonal ingredients, they’re able to work closely together to maintain quality and freshness. “They understand that one week we have tomatoes and the next week we don’t,” says Mary Walsh, co-owner of Swamp Rabbit Café. “If we partnered with a bigger distributor, we couldn’t get away with having a soup for three weeks and then it’s gone.”
This level of coordination extends to other areas, including preparation, packaging and even planting. The dishes at Swamp Rabbit Café are made the night before pick-up, and promptly refrigerated or frozen for optimal freshness. Sunburst Chef and Farmer, an aquaponics farm in Asheville, plans their fall and winter lettuce plantings with Mother Earth Produce in mind. The farm also accommodates special requests from Mother Earth Produce customers, as do other partners.
“We’ll sometimes make something special for them that we don’t sell in our cafe,” says Walsh. “And we’re always talking about ideas for new selections.”
These efforts aren’t wasted, according to Thomas. “I love that they tend to have specialty items that aren’t offered in stores. And having my produce, meats and cheeses delivered to my door is heaven-sent.” She also notes that the quality is consistently exceptional, citing favorites like cheddar biscuits, lima bean hummus and soups and enchiladas for a quick dinner.
Delivery is free and you can place a one-time order or set up recurring orders at motherearthproduce.com. Natasha Anderson writes regularly for The Laurel and is an avid traveler.