ASAP Local Food Strong Farms Healthy Communities

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okra, peppers, eggplant

This time of year marks a sweet spot where summer devolves into fall and we get to enjoy the best of both worlds. Fall officially kicks off next week, ushering in cool mornings, community campfires, and fall food staples like sweet potatoes, squashes, apples, cauliflower, onions, cabbage, and leafy greens. While we eagerly await these arrivals and jump at the chance to get some early fall harvests, we are also tending to preserving the last of the summer crops of which there are still plenty at market.

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ginger from Lee's One Fortune Farm

Ginger is a warming spice, so we usually associate it with fall and winter baking and cooking. We’re looking at summertime temperatures for a few more weeks—with maybe a hint of chill in the mornings—but you can still put the fresh ginger coming in at farmers tailgate markets now to good use!

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shishito peppers

We’ll have dry weather in the mountains for Labor Day, which means it’s safe to plan a few leisurely outdoor meals for the long weekend (or week). And just because we’re celebrating labor, doesn’t mean you should work too hard! Get everything you need at farmers tailgate markets to pull together a simple meal for sharing.

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Melinda Aponte of the YWCA with Anna Littman of Ivy Creek Family Farm

ASAP likes to share the stories of people who help us fulfill our mission. This month we talked with Melinda Aponte, nutrition coordinator for the YWCA of Asheville’s Early Learning Program. The YWCA is part of ASAP’s Appalachian Farms Feeding Families program, working with Ivy Creek Family Farm to provide fresh, local produce for the children. She is pictured on the left with farmer Anna Littman of Ivy Creek.
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delicata squash

Farmers, even in the best of times, experience setbacks. Many farms in our region are grappling with enormous loss due to Tropical Storm Fred. Meanwhile, a series of late frosts in April significantly damaged apples and other fruit this year. The effects of these events might not be felt at farmers markets immediately, but you’ll see fewer of your favorite crops come fall and winter. Check in with your farmers and continue to support them by shopping for what is available. If you’re looking for ways to directly help fams impacted by Tropical Storm Fred, you can donate to ASAP’s Appalachian Grown Farmer Relief Fund. This fund provides immediate needs grants to farmers impacted by natural disasters and other emergencies. Find out more at asapconnections.org/farmer-relief-fund.
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bread from Hominy Farm

Stale bread—it happens to the best of us. We buy loaf or two from our favorite farmers tailgate market bread vendors with visions of endless tomato sandwiches, but then life happens and the loaf goes stale before we’ve had a chance to finish it. Enter panzanella, a fantastic vehicle for reviving stale bread—that also happens to celebrate summer produce available at markets now. 

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ginger gold apples from Creasman Farms

This is the sweetest of times. The great mingling of late summer and early fall fruits is happening now at farmers tailgate markets! While many farms still have peaches, raspberries, blackberries, and even blueberries, we’re also starting to get the first pear and apple varieties. Figs have arrived and watermelons and cantaloupes are more widely available.   Read the rest of this entry »

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mixed bell peppers

Melding summer’s produce into a single simmered dish gives you a satisfying vegetarian meal and celebrates the height of the farmers tailgate market season. We’re thinking about recipes like French ratatouille, Spanish piperade, and Middle Eastern shakshuka. These similar dishes all start with tomatoes, sweet peppers, onions, and garlic, with additions of eggplant, summer squash, potatoes, or eggs. All of these recipes adapt easily to accommodate market purchases or what you have leftover in your fridge.

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watermelons at farmers market

We spotted the first of the season’s melons at farmers tailgate markets this week, heralding the arrival of summer’s midpoint. Of course, melons of all types are ideal for eating fresh, but you can also incorporate them into your salads, cook them on the grill, or get creative with the rind.
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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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