There are exciting and unexpected finds to be had at area farmers tailgate markets this week! The first signs of summer are here with the arrival of such delectable items as tomatoes, cucumber, summer squash AND peppers! You might be thinking, but wait, isn’t it still spring? Season extension practices such as hoop houses and greenhouses allow farmers to share these summer favorites with us so early in the season. McConnell Farms (Asheville City Market, West Asheville Tailgate Market, and Asheville City Market – South) has tomatoes to offer, and Dawson Green (Cashiers Tailgate Market) has tomatoes, cucumbers, and peppers. Get those grills ready, because summer squash, which can be found at Blue Meadow Farms at the Asheville City Market- South, is a favorite, too.
A handful of the earliest spring crops are only going to be around for a little bit longer, so be sure to grab them while you still can. Rhubarb, strawberry, and asparagus season is winding down, and you won’t see them again until next year. Farmers at the Transylvania Farmers Market, East Asheville Tailgate Market, and Historic Marion Tailgate Market still have some rhubarb and Fosters Garden at the Cashiers Market and Cherryfield Farm at Transylvania Farmers Market both have strawberries. Crisp sugar snap peas are also a huge spring hit that have a short season. You can find them at Kuster Farms at the East Asheville Tailgate Market. They’re perfect for snacking, in salads, or even try them in a sandwich. There’s some beautiful broccoli and cauliflower around right now, such as at Gladheart Farm at Asheville City Market- South, and, though they’ll disappear for a couple of months, they will reappear later in the season!
Typical bountiful spring produce is not to be ignored. An abundance of greens can be found all over the region! Bok choy, kale, endive, spinach, lettuce, and chard are among the varieties. Spring is a wonderful time to make big, leafy salads. And, McConnell Farms’ cherries get more delicious each week, and are a wonderful fruit to follow in strawberries’ footsteps.
Bring the kids with you to tailgate markets this week and every week! Many markets are ramping up their youth programs this summer. At Asheville City Market, ASAP’s Growing Minds @ Market kicked off this past weekend with fruit painting led by the Asheville Art Museum. On Saturday, June 14, Growing Minds @ Market will welcome partner MANNA FoodBank with more fun kid’s activities. Over at the Jackson County Farmers Market, the Jackson County Cooperative Extension’s 4-H Program will be providing educational activities next week. In Clay County, Kid’s Day will be celebrated at the Evening Harvest Farmers Market in Hayesville, on Thursday, June 12.banana peppers, cucumbers, greens, Growing Minds @ Market, rhubarb, strawberries, sugar snap peas, summer squash, tomatoes