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Fresh at Farmers Markets This Week

This past weekend’s snow may have put you behind your gift-buying schedule but no worries, just stop by farmers markets this weekend to get all the gifts left on your list! Also, there’s still plenty of local food available for your regular weekly grocery shopping.

The coming week (December 16-22) will be the last chance for market until after the new year, so be sure to grab all the greens, roots veggies, and other goodies you’ll want to have until then! Consider stocking up for Christmas and New Years Eve dinners, such as the traditional New Year’s meal of collards and black-eyed peas, using dried Tiger beans from Ten Mile Farm (Asheville City Market).

This last week leading up to the holidays, we’re highlighting a range of gift ideas to be found at markets, but there are only so many we can cite — be sure to visit them yourself, and see what you can discover!

Holiday decorations: Dried flowers, colored corn, and holly are great ways to bring color to your holiday decorations, adding to trees and wreaths.

Gift certificates: Farmers market tokens or gift certificates for markets are terrific stocking stuffers. Give your loved ones the gift of choosing their own local present this year.

Crafts: Small potted plants are good gifts for the horticulturalists in your life. Pick one (or more) up from markets this weekend.

Agritourism opportunities: Gifts don’t have to be physical items. Throughout the growing season, many farmers have CSAs, or community supported agriculture. Some farms may offer shares for next year’s season to give as gifts. Ask farms at markets if they have CSA opportunities you can purchase as presents.

Value-added/shelf-stable foods: Jams and jellies are superb for gifts, since they’re made with fresh, local fruit, and can give folks far and wide a taste of the Southern Appalachians.

Farmers markets shift this time of year to holiday schedules, closings, moving inside, changing hours, and in some cases changing names or adding more gift-oriented vendors. To find out about your neighborhood farmers market, visit ASAP’s online Local Food Guide, or you can check out each market’s website, newsletter, or social media pages for updates. You can certainly always find produce farmers and other food vendors to fulfill your grocery needs in addition to keeping an eye out for great gifts.

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.