Edible Asheville: Locavore Love

Edible Asheville: Locavore Love

When my friend and colleague Mark Essig reached out to me about a new project he had taken on, I was all ears. I respect Mark a lot. He is a great writer and loves a great locally sourced meal and libation as much as any respectable foodie. When I heard  he had taken on being the managing editor for Edible Asheville, well- wow.

Having published the Farmer and Chef Cookbook a little more that a year ago, I did my fair share of research regarding locally driven food literature. I also researched the premise of the Edible publications, which span across the country. Asheville needed a magazine of this stature. I even did some very prelimary groundwork of finding out how to make that happen. Then time, work, life— you know the drill. It all got away from me. I still felt certain it was needed, yet I wasn’t going to be the person to make it happen. How fortuitous for Mark to reach out. How even more, to finally meet the woman that will make it a reality, Tennille Tracy.

Debby and I were asked to be the Recipe Editors for Edible Asheville, sharing recipes from our book, and pending the issue theme, original recipe development to coincide. We are honored to be a part of this publication, and look forward to working with the highly cultivated and food-loving creative team that comprise Edible Asheville.

CSL: Tell us a little about your background?

TT: I’ve been a reporter for a little over 15 years. I was in New York for several years, covering venture capital investing and buyout deals. I’ve also covered politics in DC. Most recently, I wrote about national food policy for The Wall Street Journal. I’ve worked for a daily newspaper for so long, I can barely remember what it’s like to have hobbies and interests outside of my job. But I really like history. I love visiting historic homes and taking walking tours. I also like just hanging out at home, making G&Ts and watching Netflix.

CSL: What brought you to Asheville and the desire to start an Edible pub?

TT: While covering food policy for the paper, I came to realize just how troubled our food system is. Truth be told, it’s a bit heartbreaking. Our collective health is suffering – both physical and environmental – because of the way we grow and consume food. And our local economies are weaker because of the way large corporations have centralized food production. When it was time for me to consider the next phase of my career, I knew I wanted to promote something different. Edible magazines, which are all over the country – all locally owned and produced – are a really rare example of successful food journalism happening at the local level. I knew I wanted to be a part of that – and to explore what was happening with food in Asheville.

CSL: Do you see a particular vision for this magazine?

TT: Yes and no. As a professional journalist, I have high standards for writing and reporting. And I definitely want the magazine to do three primary things – to inform, to inspire and to entertain our readers. But part of my job, as the publisher of Edible Asheville, is to get feedback from other people. I’ve spent the last five months meeting with chefs, farmers and brewers and taking notes. Lots of notes. I’ve been a reporter long enough to know that my job is to ask the right questions – and the answers usually come from someone else.

CSL: Anything that has surprised you during this whole launch process?

TT: I guess this isn’t surprising, so much as it is a confirmation of what I already expected. And that is that there’s a tremendous amount of talent in the area. The editors, writers and photographers working with us are brilliant. I mean, brilliant. And our managing editor, Mark Essig, is incredibly smart and keeps a sharp focus on quality journalism. … If I had to say anything else, I’d say I’ve been a bit overwhelmed by the reception we’ve gotten. So many people have volunteered their time and energy to help launch the magazine and shape its direction. This area – Asheville and, more broadly, all of Western North Carolina – is a very special part of the world. My goal is to publish a magazine that does it justice.

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