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Warming, wholesome, and hearty — soup is the perfect meal as the temperature continues to drop, and area farmers tailgate markets are full of inspirational ingredients for a perfect pot of soup.

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The changing leaves and long-overdue crisp chilly weather has our attentions turned to fall foods, such as apples.

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Rainbow of summer veggies

Calling all photographers and local food enthusiasts!

ASAP produces an annual calendar showcasing the seasonality of local food and farms in our Southern Appalachian Mountains. This year, we want to feature how members of our local food community engage with Appalachian Grown™ food throughout the year. This year’s calendar theme is called “Share Your Experience,” and will feature YOUR photos of local food seasonality in our region. Twelve winning photos will be printed in our 2018 calendar, and spotlighted in social media.

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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!

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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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