Raf, Doriyan, and I enjoyed the first ever VeganFest held in Asheville, North Carolina. There were a lot of great local brands serving top notch vegan treats gathered in Pack Square for a good time. We also saw a few farms and non-profit organizations set up too. It warmed my heart to see so many compassionate local brands all in one place. Finding vegan friendly spaces and products can be tricky sometimes; it can be almost impossible in some places. With so much inclusion and local support, being a vegan in Asheville is pretty exciting.


Here are 3 brands that I learned more about at VeganFest:



1. Smiling Hara

My favorite dietitian Denise over at Vine Ripe Nutrition introduced me to Smiling Hara’s Tempeh when I directed her latest Youtube video. The Tempeh brought the Blueberry Kale Salad to life. At VeganFest, I got to catch up with Sarah (one of the owners). Smiling Hara Tempeh offers soy and soy-free tempeh made from organic legumes. They are nominees for Martha Stewart’s American Made Contest.





2. Green River Picklers

Pickles are my favorite snack, and they always have been. When I transitioned to a clean diet, I was horrified to find that even the most common kosher pickles have Yellow 5 in them. For a long time, I was in search of not only a clean pickle but also a good one. I found it at the Hendersonville Tailgate Market. Green River Pickles makes the best pickles I’ve ever tasted. I use them on my salads or eat them straight out of the jar. At VeganFest, I learned they actually use raw cucumbers. I am sure that is a part of the reason I enjoy them so much.



3. The Hop

The Hop Ice Cream Cafe has been in Asheville since 1978, and I discovered it at VeganFest. While they sell all types of dairy based ice cream, pastries, and cakes, they also have an extraordinary vegan selection of sorbets and ice cream on the menu as well. At VeganFest, the three of us tried the Black Raspberry-Peach Sorbet and enjoyed it. I was surprised to find out they had 3 locations around Asheville. I am looking forward to trying out more of their vegan treats.


Check out more pictures from this awesome event on Facebook!