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Program Post: A Look at Asheville City Market

Local Tomatoes

Each Thursday, ASAP’s programs take you behind the scenes of their work. This week, our Local Food Campaign talks about Asheville City Market (did you know it’s an ASAP program?!) and their excitement about Saturday’s Tomato Festival.

From ASAP’s Local Food Campaign

The Local Food Campaign team provides tons of support to local farmers markets through a variety of outreach efforts, programs, and resources. Some in our community may not be aware that Asheville City Market (ACM) is also a program of ASAP. It was founded in cooperation with local farmers who were looking for additional opportunities to access direct markets.

ACM has become a bit of a testing ground for local food access efforts at markets, including our SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) and MOPS (Marketing, Outreach, Promotion, and Social Media) initiatives. The market team continually searches for new ways to connect folks to local food and local farms.

This year, we’ve stepped up our events and promotions at both market sites (downtown on Saturdays and in South Asheville on Wednesdays). The latest feature downtown was last month’s “Making the Most of Market” handout that included recipes and information on how to stretch your market purchases. There were lots of good tips—from freezing produce to cooking with beet tops and collard stems; stay tuned for the tips in a future blog. At Asheville City Market South, we’ve started a weekly Market Mogul rewards program. The key ingredient in this information is connecting customers with vendors and inviting conversations between our farmers and market shoppers.

We’re looking forward to hosting ASAP’s Tomato Festival downtown on Saturday, August 10. This will be a special opportunity to learn more about the exceptionally tasty varieties of tomatoes available locally. It’s also a unique opportunity to gain insight into the challenges faced by those who grow our food. Heavy rains and flooding have impacted area farmers and will affect this year’s tomato crop. As we slice and dice our farm-fresh tomatoes, it would be a good time to share our appreciation of the hard work and commitment that our local farmers invest each growing season.

In addition to shopping for your favorite varieties, the Tomato Festival will include a cooking demo and sampling, t-shirts, kids activities, and a guest appearance by this year’s tomato mascot (photo opportunities invited).

Join us in celebrating the wonderful gift of easy access to locally grown foods, this week and every week on Wednesday and Saturday. And stop by the market info booth to share your thoughts and ideas about ACM, or to just say hello!

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