On the Menu

lodging spreadLodging
February 2015

The guests who meet Alan Muskat in their Asheville, North Carolina, hotel lobby at 10 a.m. are in for a different experience than most travelers wandering downstairs for breakfast. There’s no ordering coffee or lining up for a buffet; instead, Muskat hands everyone a “brife” — a little gadget that’s a mix between a brush and a knife — and leads them into the local woods to forage for the food they’ll eat for dinner.

“There’s so much research about the health benefits of wild foods, and a lot of new interest in learning about how to harvest your own,” says Muskat, who partners with area hotels to create wild food tours, enabling guests to forage for edible wild mushrooms, herbs, and other plants. “It’s clear that people are increasingly looking for über-healthy food options, and the beauty of this kind of experience is that guests actually leave with information they can use when they get home.”

Of course, the majority of hotel guests aren’t looking to go so far as to harvest the ingredients that’ll go into making their meals, but the growing interest in Muskat’s tours is proof that now, more than ever before, people are looking for healthy, organic, and hyperlocal food options when they travel.