130 Alabama culinary destinations featured in national tourism campaign

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MOORESVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) - The Alabama Mountain Lakes Tourist Association held a luncheon at 1818 Farms to help the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) launch a new national tourism campaign. For the state of Alabama, 130 culinary destinations have been selected for the ARC’s Bon Appétit Appalachia, a tourism map guide of unique culinary destinations published as an insert in Edible, a magazine dedicated to celebrating the local food culture with a focus on farms, orchards, wineries, specialty shops, food artisans and home cooks.

Bon Appétit Appalachia showcases approximately 900 of the Appalachian Region’s most distinctive food destinations, including 130 in Alabama. Approximately 195,000 copies of the map-guide are provided as an insert in the summer 2016 issue of thirteen Edible partnering publications.  There is also an online version of the map-guide.

“It's a compilation of 550 food entrepreneurs from the 13 states who are engaged in restaurants, bakeries, breweries, distilleries, and wineries," explains Earl Gohl, Federal Co-chairman of the Appalachian Regional Commission. "What we're trying to do is encourage entrepreneurs to look at this avenue and this opportunity as a way to really strengthen your local communities economy and as a way to give back."

Gohl says the map plays an important role in promoting agritourism throughout the region.

"What we've learned is that folks actually use this map,” explains Gohl. “They use the website when they travel throughout the region to find great places to visit, to have dinner, and to stay over."

Natasha McCrary, owner of 1818 Farms, says raising awareness about farms like this one, is key.

“There are a lot of people who weren't aware that there was the Bon Appétit Appalachia and a lot of people I talked to weren't even aware of the ARC," says McCrary.

McCrary thinks her farm was a perfect fit for the tourism campaign launch.

"We like to promote a sense of community here,” explains McCrary. “We want people to be able to feel like they can come to the farm and be a part of our family. We are big on educating and I want every person to come here to leave here a little bit smarter than when they arrived."