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Nathan Morrison of Simple Bread

Of course, there is an abundance of food at area farmers tailgate markets. But that isn’t the only cornucopia — people and a sense of community abound at markets as well. There is something fulfilling and wholesome about seeing the same faces week after week, year after year. As a visitor or newcomer, you’re sure to be welcomed with smiles, conversations, and ready answers to questions. Food certainly makes markets, but they would be nothing without the extraordinary people who grow, raise, produce, preserve, bake, and bring all that food to us.

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As it starts to feel increasingly more like late summer, preserving the flavors of summer looms larger in many minds. There are folks who are fantastic at preserving all season long — starting with jam from the first strawberries. And then there are others that do it inconsistently — some pickled beans here, some frozen peaches there. Of course, not everyone takes part; some folks prefer to buy fresh each week throughout the whole year, only eating summer’s bounty at the point it’s harvested.

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Flowers from Flying Cloud Farm

Area farmers tailgate markets are full of delights to discover. On any given week, you can find locally grown and locally made treats that can surprise you, make you smile, and give you something to look forward to cooking or preparing when you get home.

Flowers. More and more produce farmers are growing and selling flowers at farmers markets. It’s a way for them to diversify their market offerings and attract pollinators to their farm. And for shoppers, it’s an opportunity to bring home something fresh and beautiful to decorate your home with each week, as well as an additional way for you to support local farmers.

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Watermelons from Full Sun Farm

Though there’s plenty of “back-to-school” talk, summer is still in session. There are two weeks left until most kids in the area go back, and that leaves enough time to pack in last-minute swimming excursions and grilling. At area farmers tailgate markets, local farms have all the goods to have a great cookout!

Pick your protein: farmers have locally raised meats including beef, pork, chicken, turkey, rabbit, lamb, and trout. Of course, the meat is the main event for a cookout, but let that not distract you from the classic summer side dishes that turn the meat into a full meal.

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Tomato sandwiches can be a surprisingly contentious topic. There are the traditional minimalists who say that there is only one, true tomato sandwich: store bought white bread and mayonnaise, a thick-cut raw beefsteak tomato, and a pinch of salt. But, if you’re daring, there are many variations of the tomato sandwich worth giving a try, and with ingredients from area farmers markets, you might find the tomato sandwich that’s just right for you.

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Vegetables at market aren’t just good for making meals — they’re also great for snacking. Stop by farm vendors at area farmers tailgate markets to discover your new favorite mid-afternoon bites. Read the rest of this entry »

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Rainbow of summer veggies

The height of summer at farmers markets can be dizzying for a shopper. So many colors, shapes, sizes, varieties, choices! The list literally ranges from A to Z: apples, beans, beets, cabbage, carrots, celery, collards, corn, cucumbers, eggplant, fennel, flowers, garlic, kale, kohlrabi, okra, onions, peas, peppers, potatoes, summer squash, tomatoes, tomatillos, and zucchini.

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There’s a stretch of weeks in the summer when the widest range of veggies are available, and we’re entering that abundant period now! Area farmers tailgate markets have nearly any summer veggie you’re looking to find.

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Nightshades have started to come to the light of farmers markets. Potatoes have been at the markets for weeks, in all shades and sizes, and now eggplant, peppers, and yes, tomatoes, are here, too!
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Summer produce can be familiar and comforting, but it can also encourage us to move beyond what we know and love. This week, a couple of new veggies appeared on the scene, and while somewhat less heralded by the general public, they are absolutely scrumptious and well worth giving a few more tries, or a very first try, if they’re new to you!

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