Since the beginning, French Broad Chocolate has been deeply committed to sustainability. Dan and Jael's pilgrimage from Costa Rica to Asheville was on a bus Dan converted to run on waste fryer oil... with auxiliary power supplied by a solar panel he mounted on the roof!
Opened in 2008, The original Chocolate Lounge (around the corner on Lexington Avenue) was a 4-star Certified Green Restaurant, with a 5 panel solar hot water system and many other energy efficiency improvements. When the Chocolate Lounge relocated, we undertook an adaptive reuse of the first floor of the historic Legal Building, occupying what had, for most of its history, been a bank. Key improvements included LED lighting, low flow plumbing fixtures and a high efficiency hot water system, and use of reclaimed building materials.
At our new Chocolate factory in the RAMP Studios, we share our cacao shell mulch with local farmers and gardeners, and anything that can be composted is picked up by our colleague Danny of Danny's Dumpster, helping build our local soil fertility!
The list of initiatives we have taken to minimize our environmental footprint is a source of pride, but our most longstanding and devoted effort is in the purity and wholesomeness of our food.
Living in the fertile southern Appalachian mountains amid kindred agrarian spirits, we look no further than a holler in Old Sandy Mush for our flats of strawberries each spring, or Annie Louise's market stand for our fall pumpkins. We believe in supporting our community and its economy and are blessed to be surrounded with good food; chocolate and desserts are our contributions to that goodness! We must reach outside our foodshed for a few of our staples (like cacao and sugar!), but we remain true to our values, seeking farmers and producers whose values are in line with our own.