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Fresh at Farmers Markets This Week

The weather this year has not been kind to fruit. Late frosts in spring, hailstorms, and weeks of temporary drought followed by daily thunderstorms have left fruit altered in some cases, and limited their availability in others.

Earlier this growing season, strawberries literally took a hit during the spring hailstorms. Whole fields of fledgling strawberries were subjected to the storms. Though there were still many strawberries at market, there were less than there would have been otherwise.

There have been few to none red raspberries and wineberries available at market this year, as well. Typically there aren’t many farmers that bring these berries to market, as they’re more challenging and time-consuming to harvest than blackberries, but in most years, there are pints to be found here and there. This year, few farmers brought any, and those that did brought a limited amount.

According to Creasman Farms, the last frosts lead to frozen blooms that have resulted in the current absence of white peaches and nectarines. It also caused some altered exteriors for the yellow peaches that they do have for sale. Because of the hail and frost, their apples, expected in late summer and early fall, will have more superficial markings, but, as a result of the dry weeks we had, they may be sweeter than in milder years. To learn more, visit Creasman Farms at River Arts District Farmers Market, Asheville City Market, or the Transylvania Farmers Market.

Recently, articles in Food & Wine and NPR have claimed that “blemished” fruit is potentially more nutritious. The argument is that when the fruit sees “stresses” such as hail and other bad weather, they create more antioxidants in order to survive the less than ideal conditions. Additionally, similar conditions that create scarring in fruit, can also lead it to produce more sugars, making it sweeter. As a result blemished fruit may be even better than its perfect-looking counterparts.

One of the wonderful benefitsof shopping from farms directly at tailgate markets is to learn the stories of our food. Hearing about why some items don’t appear as we think they “should,” provides the knowledge and understanding to make informed choices and help us as shoppers and community members to support our farmer through all weather, literally.

In less than one week, ASAP is hosting a fundraising event: the Local Food Experience. Join ASAP on August 18, for a delicious evening of seasonal and local fare, prepared and served by Appalachian Grown™ farms, artisans, and chefs. Meet the faces of your local food system, while enjoying the bounty of summer. The event also includes a raffle, silent auction, and family activities. Visit the event page for more information about the Local Food Experience, or visit our full calendar of community food and farm events.

Area farmers tailgate markets take place throughout the region. Find out where farmers tailgate markets are on which days. As always, you can find information about farms, tailgate markets, and farm stands, including locations and hours, by visiting our online Local Food Guide.

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