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herbs from Lunar Whale Herbs

It can be hard to see past the rainbow of tomatoes, peaches, corn, summer squash, peppers, eggplants, and other summer favorites weighing down tables at farmers tailgate markets right now. But farmers are also bringing some superstar herbs to markets that pair wonderfully with these vegetables and offer new flavors.

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The Metcalf family of Burley Stick Farm

ASAP likes to share the stories of people who help us fulfill our mission. This month we talk with farmers Morgan and Darrell Metcalf of Burley Stick Farm, which will be part of ASAP’s Farm Tour, Sept. 18–19. They’re pictured with their children on the farm.

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corn

Corn arrived at farmers tailgate markets especially early this year, thanks to an early planting gamble that paid off for Lee’s One Fortune Farm. You can get solid yellow or bicolor “peaches and cream” ears from the Lees now at ASAP, Black Mountain, West Asheville, River Arts District, and East Asheville markets. Expect other farms to have it ready in the next few weeks. 

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As eggplant joins the march of summer produce available at farmers tailgate markets, our thoughts are turning to Middle Eastern meze. You can easily fill several platters with a colorful combination of tomatoes, cucumbers, roasted squash and beets, babaganoush, hummus, tzatziki, eggs, olives, pickles, and pita for a feast. Or you could toss everything into a single pita for thoroughly satisfying sabich sandwich.
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cherry tomatoes

Fireworks will light up skies this weekend, but colorful displays of another sort are filling farmers tailgate market tables. Whether you are gathering with friends and family or preserving some time for yourself, here are a few ways you can celebrate the best of local food this holiday weekend.

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new potatoes and summer squash

Freshly dug new potatoes in red, yellow, and purple are here! You really don’t need to do much to enjoy these. They are delicious on their own, salt-boiled or roasted with olive oil. But new potatoes also work well in simple salads that celebrate some of the best summer produce at markets now, including green beans, cucumbers, tomatoes, and more. Look for new potatoes from Full Sun Farm and Gaining Ground Farm at North Asheville and River Arts District markets; Sleight Family Farm at West and North Asheville markets; Root Bottom Farm at West Asheville Tailgate Market; Smallholding Farm at Weaverville and East Asheville markets; and Ten Mile Farm at ASAP Farmers Market.

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Erica Fernbach of Seven Oaks Farm

ASAP likes to share the stories of people who help us fulfill our mission. This month we talk with farmer Erica Fernbach, who co-owns Seven Oaks Farm with Karl Brandstaetter in Rutherford County.  Seven Oaks Farm is part of ASAP’s Appalachian Farms Feeding Families program, which pairs farms with food relief sites and childcare centers in their communities and provides agencies with a budget for purchasing local food. Erica is pictured on the right with Cynthia Cooper of Chase Corner Ministries.

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Sure, the image is a little trite: Dad in his battleworn apron, presiding over the Weber. But since Sunday is both Father’s Day and the first day of summer, we’re going to lean into the stereotype and devote this column to grilling. Grillable veggies like summer squash, spring onions, and mushrooms are plentiful at farmers tailgate markets right now, in addition to a wide assortment of steaks, sausages, chops, and birds.

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raspberries

Steamy weather and intermittent thunderstorms can make cooking meals a real drag. Times like these call for a few refrigerator staples that can perk up a simple salad or help power through an afternoon lull. Luckily, fruit and berry season is kicking into gear at farmers tailgate markets. Beyond fresh eating and desserts, these are great for making zippy vinaigrettes and icy drinks.
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Summer squash from Full Sun Farm

June is here and farmers tailgate markets are picking up speed with warmer weather and new produce finds each week. Look for garlic scapes, basil, summer squash, and even the very first cherries of the year.

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