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The summer-like weather of the past week feels quite at odds with the changing leaves and October dates. This juxtaposition of the seasons is also reflected in the produce at market: there’s winter squash, broccoli, and sweet potatoes, yet there are also still tomatoes, cucumbers, and okra to be found, as well as other delights not as emblematic of either season.

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Cruciferous vegetables, also known as brassicas, are autumnal superstars. Broccoli, cauliflower, romanesco, cabbage, kohlrabi, and other varieties are just now beginning to come into full swing. Broccoli is back and other brassica are on their way!

What’s the difference between cruciferous and brassica vegetables? There isn’t any. They’re interchangeable names for the same family of plants. Brassica is part of the Latin name for the family, and cruciferous refers to the four leaf arrangement on some plants in the family.

Broccoli (and its companion, cauliflower) are around in spring, disappear in summer, and return with fanfare in the fall. Find the first broccoli now from Aardvark Farm (Asheville City Market, River Arts District Farmers Market, and Yancey County Farmers Market) and Paper Crane Farm (West Asheville Tailgate Market and Asheville City Market). Other farms throughout the region will have broccoli, as well as cauliflower, in the coming weeks.

Napa cabbage is in its prime, now through early to mid-November. Napa cabbage is the traditional variety used for kimchi, so now is the perfect kimchi-making time of year. You can find napa cabbage from farmers throughout the region, including a purple variety from Ten Mile Farm (Asheville City Market and River Arts District Farmers Market).

October marks the beginning of market closing season. Oakley Farmers Market and East Asheville Tailgate Market both had their last markets of the season at the end of September. Check your favorite markets’ listings in ASAP’s online Local Food Guide, as well as their social media pages, to find out when their seasons end.

Each week farmers have a wide array of fruits and vegetables. In addition to produce, you can always find a range of meats, cheeses, eggs, breads, baked goods, value added items, fresh flowers, and other treats!

Area farmers tailgate markets take place throughout the region. As always, you can find information about farms, tailgate markets, and farm stands, including locations and hours, by visiting ASAP’s online Local Food Guide.

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The return of the root vegetables is imminent. Though some root veggies are around for most of the year — for example, potatoes last from midsummer harvests through their midwinter storage crops — other root vegetables come and go. Radishes and turnips have just begun to appear at farmers’ stands, and more (carrots, beets, sweet potatoes, etc) are on their way.

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The first sweet potatoes always arrive later than the first winter squash. Once that initial squash makes an appearance, it’s only a matter of weeks before the sweet potato does, and for fans of these tubers, those weeks are a countdown.

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ASAP likes to share stories of people who help us fulfill our mission and contribute to growing our local food movement. This month in celebration of the start of the school year, we’ve spoken with Amanda Fox, the Student Support Specialist at Emma Elementary School about using their school/community garden (maintained in collaboration with their neighbor, Emma Family Resource Center), to grow food with their students. Hear how Amanda’s students react to gardening and trying new things, and how the community uses the garden too!  Read the rest of this entry »

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Winter squash is beginning to take center stage at area farmers tailgate markets, along with the cooler temperatures and crisp, fall-like weather. 

There’s already a range of squash varieties. Kabocha, Delicata, Butternut, and Acorn are all here, ready to be roasted. These squashes have so much flavor, you need not add more than butter and a sprinkle of salt. And don’t forget the seeds – all of these squashes have great seeds for roasting. Remove them from the meat of the squash, clean them, and roast at a low temperature until they’re dry and crisp. Add butter and seasoning to make a great snack!

Two particularly exciting varieties to check out are Spaghetti squash and a Honeynut squash, which look like baby Butternut squash. Ask anyone who has tried them – they’re absolutely delicious! These squash are especially sweet, making them great for dessert ingredients for pies and other fall treats. Find Spaghetti squash and Honeynut squash from Wendy Town Farms at West Asheville Tailgate Market, as well as from other farms throughout the area. 

Each week farmers have a wide array of fruits and vegetables. In addition to produce, you can always find a range of meats, cheeses, eggs, breads, baked goods, value added items, fresh flowers, and other treats!

Area farmers tailgate markets take place throughout the region. As always, you can find information about farms, tailgate markets, and farm stands, including locations and hours, by visiting ASAP’s online Local Food Guide.

 

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Long, hot summer days are fading into cooler evenings and the first hints of fall. That means a new crop of late-summer fruits at area tailgate farmers markets, even as you savor the last of the berries and peaches.

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Nathan Morrison of Simple Bread

Of course, there is an abundance of food at area farmers tailgate markets. But that isn’t the only cornucopia — people and a sense of community abound at markets as well. There is something fulfilling and wholesome about seeing the same faces week after week, year after year. As a visitor or newcomer, you’re sure to be welcomed with smiles, conversations, and ready answers to questions. Food certainly makes markets, but they would be nothing without the extraordinary people who grow, raise, produce, preserve, bake, and bring all that food to us.

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As it starts to feel increasingly more like late summer, preserving the flavors of summer looms larger in many minds. There are folks who are fantastic at preserving all season long — starting with jam from the first strawberries. And then there are others that do it inconsistently — some pickled beans here, some frozen peaches there. Of course, not everyone takes part; some folks prefer to buy fresh each week throughout the whole year, only eating summer’s bounty at the point it’s harvested.

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Flowers from Flying Cloud Farm

Area farmers tailgate markets are full of delights to discover. On any given week, you can find locally grown and locally made treats that can surprise you, make you smile, and give you something to look forward to cooking or preparing when you get home.

Flowers. More and more produce farmers are growing and selling flowers at farmers markets. It’s a way for them to diversify their market offerings and attract pollinators to their farm. And for shoppers, it’s an opportunity to bring home something fresh and beautiful to decorate your home with each week, as well as an additional way for you to support local farmers.

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