These are the salad days of area farmers tailgate markets. They’re young, just beginning, bustling with excitement, and chock full of everything you need for a spring salad—from lettuce mixes to spinach to radishes!
Like your salad with a bit of a kick? Punch it up with watercress, spotted recently from Long Valley Eco-biotic Farm (Madison County Farmers & Artisans Market, West Asheville Tailgate Market, Weaverville Tailgate Market, Sundays on the Island) and Paper Crane Farm (Asheville City Market, West Asheville Tailgate Market ). Early spring is the prime flavor time for spicy watercress, which also goes well in sandwiches and sauces. Arugula can be found now, too, for a peppery punch. Harvest Table Farm recently brought theirs to the West Asheville Tailgate Market, along with the piquant green Mizuna.
Highgate Farm (Madison County Farmers & Artisans Market, Weaverville Tailgate Market) also has arugula now, along with herbs like sage. Farmer John Kunkle shares that the mild winter allowed his herbs to grow through the season, so they don’t have to replant! Of course, many other vendors have a variety of herbs now, including the unexpected. Dancing Doe Farm brought Basil Mint starts to Asheville City Market last week. The unique basil-like mint plant can be used as a basil substitute year-round.
Local herbs will punch up just about anything you can find at markets now, especially proteins. While you’re shopping, don’t hesitate to ask farmers for their favorite recipes. Mackey Farms (Madison County Farmers & Artisans Market, Weaverville Tailgate Market) encourages roasting their rabbit with fresh local rosemary and has recipes on hand.
More tailgates open for the season this week, with vendors offering everything from veggies (springtime favorite asparagus remains) to baked goods and prepared foods to handcrafted soaps and jewelry. The market at Greenlife Grocery—now called Greenlife Third Thursday Market—moves from Sunday to the third Thursday of every month this year, beginning April 19 (2-6 pm). The Yancey County Farmers Market in Burnsville opens Saturday, April 21 (8:30 am-12:30 pm).
*Note: All of the markets mentioned above are now open for the season, but this is not an exhaustive list. And, many farmers mentioned here may also vend at other markets not yet open for the year. For dates and more information, head over to our online farmers market calendar, or search for tailgates in our online Local Food Guide (while there, look for the “What’s Fresh!” sections of listings).Tags:arugula, Asheville City Market, herbs, lettuce, Madison County Farmers & Artisans Market, Sundays on the Island, watercress, Weaverville Tailgate Market, West Asheville Tailgate Market