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roast chicken

As we move into November thoughts turn to holiday feasting, and for many that means a turkey centerpiece. Local turkey is available from several local farms in the region, including Hickory Nut Gap Farm and Dillingham Family Farm, though you will need to order in advance—and act fast! These birds tend to sell out every year. Find a list of farms in the area with local turkeys, and information on how to order them here.

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romanesco

This time of year is all about vibrant displays of winter squash, pumpkins, apples, and other fall superstars at farmers tailgate markets. Late summer’s abundance continues through these chillier days, and most vendors are loaded up with dark leafy greens like collards, chard, and kale; root veggies like beets, carrots, and turnips; and tubers like sweet potatoes and potatoes. But there are also a few less-common items we’ve spotted over the past few weeks that deserve to be sought out as well. 
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Halloween is next week, and you might want to focus your farmers tailgate market shopping on plenty of fresh produce and proteins to counteract the inevitable sugar overload. You’ll find autumnal favorites like winter squash and pumpkins, apples, sweet potatoes, ginger, and much more. Want a meal that stays on (gruesome) message? May we suggest the feetloaf.

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cauliflower

Broccoli, cauliflower, kohlrabi, cabbage, and other brassicas have returned to farmers tailgate markets for the fall. These crops make a quick appearance in late spring and early summer, then fade away over the hottest part of the season, returning when the days lengthen and evenings start to cool off. Cruciferous vegetables can make wonderful, hearty comfort food dishes that actually impart a few health benefits as well (like high levels of vitamins C and K). 

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apple taste test

It’s easy to get overwhelmed by the multitude of apple varieties on offer at farmers tailgate markets each autumn. Some are better for baking, some for snacking. Maybe you prefer a sweeter apple or something more tart. Maybe you know you’ve tasted the perfect apple before, but you can’t remember what it was called. How do you choose? Well, apart from asking the farmer’s advice (which is always a good first step), you might consider throwing together an apple taste test.  Read the rest of this entry »

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watermelon radishes from Ten Mile Farm

The weather continues to defy autumn’s arrival, but cooler-weather crops are arriving at farmers tailgate markets, including fresh root vegetables like radishes, beets, carrots, and turnips.

Watermelon radishes are a particularly fun find right now, spotted at both Ten Mile Farm (Asheville City Market, River Arts District Farmers Market) and Headwaters Market Garden (Asheville City Market). These heirloom varieties of the daikon are all business on the outside and party on the inside, with fuschia cores rimmed in white and lime green, reminiscent of their namesake. You can snack on them or use them as a dipper as you would other varieties of radish, but their bright centers beg for a pretty presentation. Here are a few suggestions.

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honeynut and acorn squash

With the autumnal equinox behind us, it’s time to get serious about squash. Winter squash varieties have been coming in at farmers tailgate markets for about a month, including butternut, spaghetti, red kuri, jester, and kabocha. But while we adore squash in everything from soups to gratins to salads to desserts, we have to admit that removing the hard outer skin can be a bit tedious. Luckily, there are few options that allow you to leave your vegetable peeler in the drawer and simply eat the skin along with the rest of the fruit. 
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We never fail to get excited about the fact that we can get locally grown rice in the Western North Carolina mountains. Lee’s One Fortune Farm has had its fall harvest available in limited quantities for the past couple of weeks at many farmers tailgate markets, including purple and brown rice varieties. The flavor of rice this fresh elevates even the simplest preparations, but Korean bibimbap is a dish that can really highlight all the best of your market haul.

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tomatoes

It’s that time of year again—break out your canning jars and start preserving the end of the summer season! Mid-September is an ideal time to put  up tomatoes, which are still abundant at markets now, but will start fading out over the next month. Remember, you can ask farmers if they have large volumes of tomatoes (or other produce) that you can purchase in bulk.

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jicama from Lee's One Fortune Farm at East Asheville Tailgate Market

With the long holiday weekend ended, the first few weeks of school gone by, and the days definitely getting a little shorter, it’s easy to feel especially pressed for time in September. You might be shopping at farmers tailgate markets with the best intentions, but time to prepare meals is elusive. With fall crops starting to mingle with the best of summer produce still available, though, now is a great time to try some grab-and-go produce, whether for snacking or tucking into school lunches. 

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