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strawberries

Just in time for Mother’s Day, strawberries are hitting farmers tailgate markets! You can get them now from Lee’s One Fortune Farm and Ivy Creek Family Farm, and more farms will have them in the coming days and weeks. Find the Lees at the ASAP, Black Mountain, West Asheville, River Arts District, and East Asheville markets. Ivy Creek is at the North Asheville and Weaverville markets. Note that North Asheville Tailgate Market is moving to Salvage Station for this Saturday only, due to UNC Asheville’s graduation.

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chicken and veggies from Fiddler's Green Farm

As temperatures continue to rise, more farmers and others vendors are returning to fill out farmers tailgate markets—and a few more markets are ready to open! Enka-Candler Tailgate Market, at the A-B Tech Small Business Center in Enka, opens this Thursday from 3 to 6 p.m. Black Mountain Tailgate Market will open next Saturday, May 8, from 9 a.m. to noon. (If you’re looking for a market outside of Buncombe County, here’s a full list of opening dates throughout the region.)

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Carol Griffith

ASAP likes to share the stories of people who help us fulfill our mission. This month we talk with Carol Griffith, manager of Ashe County Farmers Market in West Jefferson. The market will open May 1 and run Saturday mornings through October.

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pepper plants

Early-season plant starts, like snow peas, leafy greens, and cabbage are giving way to summer vegetables and herbs, including cucumbers, summer squash, tomatoes, and peppers. Farmers tailgate markets, in addition to offering plenty of ready-to-eat produce, are also a great resource for plant starts and gardening advice. Most of these frost-sensitive types should wait to go into the ground until temperatures won’t dip below freezing. (After Mother’s Day is the traditional guideline.) But you can choose and gather your starts now!
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chestnut mushrooms from Black Trumpet Farm, photo by Camilla Calnan

Springtime brings on foraging dreams for many of us—returning to your favorite ramp patch or happening upon an elusive morel deep in the woods. But if you’re not able to wander off the path in search of these delights, farmers tailgate markets can also be great places to gather wild foods, in addition to cultivated spring crops.

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Nettles

One of the joys of shopping at farmers tailgate markets is getting to try things you would never find in a grocery store. That’s especially true in the spring, when a myriad of unique greens start to join the more tried-and-true spinach, arugula, and kale. Right now we’re excited to see the first stinging nettles, sorrel, and Tokyo bekana, among other greens. 

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broccoli

It’s opening week for many of the farmers tailgate markets in Asheville and Buncombe County! Find North Asheville Tailgate Market Saturday morning back at UNC Asheville; West Asheville Tailgate Market returns to Haywood Rd. on Tuesday; Weaverville Tailgate Market kicks off its new location at Gotta Have It Antiques on Wednesday; and East Asheville Tailgate Market reopens on Tunnel Rd. on Friday. ASAP Farmers Market and River Arts District Farmers Market continue their seasons on Saturday and Wednesday, respectively. 

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Farmers tailgate markets are readying tents for a new season—and those that have continued through the winter are welcoming back farms and other food vendors. At these early spring markets, you will find much of the produce we’ve seen through the winter, like cold-hardy greens and tender salad mixes. But you can also start to look for spring alliums and more root veggies coming in. As always, you can also get mushrooms, eggs, meat, cheese, bread, and prepared foods. A wide variety of plant starts will be available over the next few months. 

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farmers market goods

ASAP likes to share the stories of people who help us fulfill our mission. This month we talk with Catherine Campbell, founder of Asheville Strong, about why she shops at farmers markets and what she’s looking forward to this spring. Last month Asheville Strong released a print edition of its cookbook featuring recipes from local chefs and restaurants. Proceeds benefit the Feed Our City program, which helps preserve local restaurant jobs by paying for employees to cook meals for community members in need. Buy a copy here. 

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Spring officially begins tomorrow and it’s easy to get impatient for all that the season will bring. Signs of spring tend to start slowly at farmers tailgate markets—a glimpse of green garlic and spring onions here, a bit of flowering rabe there. We’re still a ways off from ramps, asparagus, or strawberries. But these last few markets of the winter season still have plenty to offer. 

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