Jeremiah’s Italian Gelato Is Coming, Grocer Receives $750,000 USDA Grant

A “squad of frogs” prepare to take the plunge and open a frozen treat store in North Asheville, a local grocery store receives a substantial grant to make a lasting impact, and two Asheville restaurant workers are recognized by a global society.

Italian ice cream slippery in AVL

A cool development is taking shape in North Asheville.

Jeremiah’s Italian Ice is set to open in late March at 705 Merrimon Ave., next to Asheville Pizza & Brewing and Bruegger’s Bagels. This is the old site of Asheville Tacos & Taps.

The local franchisees are Caitlin Olson and her parents, Rusty and Diane. The family has signed on to open three franchises in the greater Asheville area over the next two years. The Merrimon Avenue location is the first of the trio.

“I grew up in Florida, and Jeremiah’s has always been our favorite place,” said Air Force veteran Caitlin Olson. “If we were happy or if we were sad, it didn’t matter. We’re going to Jeremiah’s. It just became our family favorite.

Jeremiah's Italian Ice is set to open in late March at 705 Merrimon Ave.  in Ashville.

Jeremiah’s Italian Ice opened in Florida in 1996. The company took an aggressive approach to continuing to grow the brand in the South.

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Several years ago, the Olson family learned about franchising. However, it wasn’t until 2019 that the company introduced franchise opportunities and reached out to the Olsons to see if they were still interested. By this time, the family had moved to Asheville, which works with the company’s mission to enter North Carolina markets.

“We always talked about how fun it would be and how great the brand and the product would be. How fun it would be if we could have one someday,” she said. “We jumped at the chance. to bring him to Asheville.”

More than 40 flavors of Italian gelato ranging from fruity to java will be featured on regular and rotating seasonal menus. Between 24 and 26 flavors will be available at a time, Olson said.

Jeremiah's Italian Ice restaurant serves a variety of popping Italian ice cream flavors as well as chocolate and vanilla soft serve ice cream.

Some of the most popular are Red Raspberry, Mango, Cookie Butter, and the signature mint chocolate chip called Scoop Froggy Frog. Olson’s longtime favorite flavor is cotton candy.

“It’s lighter than ice cream and more refreshing,” Olson said. “If you’ve ever had shaved ice…it’s not like this. It’s thicker, it’s creamier, it’s a really fantastic product.

Additionally, the ice cream will be available in vanilla, chocolate, or swirl.

“It’s similar to soft serve ice cream but it’s richer and thicker and creamier,” she said.

Customers can have the best of both worlds and order the Gelati, which is a layering of Italian gelato and ice cream.

“It’s by far the most popular flavor, and it tastes so good,” she said.

The Asheville store will operate through one drive-thru window and two walk-in windows. The candy store will have patio space for customers.

The hours will be from noon to 10 p.m. from Sunday to Thursday and from noon to 11 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. The grand opening day and events will be announced.

“We had so many fun family memories there growing up. Hopefully we can bring the same atmosphere and environment here to Asheville where people can come and have fun and feast with friends or family,” Olson said. “People can come back and try a new product and hopefully fall in love with it as much as we do.”

Franchisees welcome the opportunity to get involved in the community through partnerships and collaborations with local schools, organizations and businesses.

Special delivery

Mother Earth Food, a local food hub and home grocery delivery service, received financial support for its sustainability.

Mother Earth Food is the recipient of the US Department of Agriculture's Local Food Promotion Program grant for $750,000 for its food expansion project.

The local business is the recipient of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Local Food Promotion Program grant for $750,000 to be used for the Mother Earth Food Expansion Project over the next three years .

The multi-faceted initiative will allow the company to invest more in education and marketing of local foods, as well as increase purchasing power to support local farmers and food artisans.

“The grant gives us the opportunity to increase customer accessibility to quality local food and directly support our local farmers and food artisans,” CEO Janelle Tatum said in a press release. “As we work hand-in-hand with these food producers and connect them to food-conscious consumers, we maximize the ripple effects that local food brings to our community and our economy. »

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Mother Earth Food markets itself as “a farmer’s market delivered to your doorstep.” The company sources its supplies from farms and food vendors in WNC, North Carolina and surrounding states. Mother Earth Food’s planned expansion will impact 301 current local and regional farmers and food artisans and an additional 50 who will gain or retain access to existing and new retail and wholesale customers, according to the company.

Mother Earth Food is the recipient of the US Department of Agriculture's Local Food Promotion Program grant for $750,000 for its food expansion project.

The company will take new approaches to its friend referral program, revamp its website and increase its investments in local, social media and digital advertising.

The company announced that it will increase accessibility to local nutritious foods with the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), via Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) cards. The minimum order will be reduced to $20 to give customers more flexibility when shopping. And the company is evaluating the expansion of delivery areas to optimize accessibility.

According to Mother Earth Food, other parts of the plan include consolidating operations to accommodate growth and deepening supplier relationships.

Honors of the Golden Bow

The catering company McDonald’s took note of the performance of two Asheville employees and “loves it”.

Ashleigh Berry is the General Manager of McDonald’s at 800 Fairview Road, owned and operated by Christine Nevant.

Pictured, left to right, are Noel Blackwood, Brandon Smith, Ashleigh Berry, Christine Nevant and Stephanie Taylor.  Noel and Stephanie work for the McDonald's company.

Berry is the recipient of a 2021 Ray Kroc Award for $2,500 and a trophy. This is a prestigious award given to the top 345 McDonald’s restaurant managers from 60 markets around the world.

“Ashleigh meets every criterion for this award,” Nevant said in a press release. “She propelled this restaurant to the top. She is a single mother and works so hard. She is the personnel manager for all my restaurants. She excels in recruiting and training. Ashleigh really takes care of our employees.

Brandon Smith, director of operations for Berry’s six restaurants, has been selected as the recipient of a McDonald’s Mid Manager Award.

“It’s a trickle down,” Smith said in a press release. “It’s an honour. We have great GMs like Ashleigh and great crew members who have helped me get this honour. I’m proud of Ashleigh. Her award is very well deserved. She’s very goal-oriented.

Since her teenage years, Berry has worked for McDonald’s, starting as a crew member at a location in Weaverville owned by Naomi King. For 10 years, she held the position of general manager, including seven years spent at Nevant.

The Fairview Road restaurant has taken on many community initiatives led by Nevant with Berry and Smith. Berry accepted the award, acknowledging the franchise staff and owner.

“It’s a token of appreciation for my team,” Berry said. “It’s an honor, but it’s a huge gesture for our people. The day I learned that I had won, I went to the restaurant and celebrated my team. It’s a family here in this restaurant. I have an incredible team.”

Tiana Kennell is a food and restaurant reporter for the Asheville Citizen Times, part of the USA Today Network. Email him at [email protected] or follow her on Twitter/Instagram @PrincessOfPage. Please help support this kind of journalism with a subscription at the Citizen Times.

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