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Fresh at Farmers Market This Week

Thanks to the mild winter, summer came early this year. So it’s no surprise that markets are already beginning to look a lot like they do in the fall—even though it’s officially still one month away.

One tell-tale sign? Winter squash, which began arriving in relatively large quantities this past weekend. Flying Cloud Farm (Asheville City Market, Montford Farmers Market, North Asheville Tailgate Market) offered up many different types: delicata, spaghetti and kobucha. They expect to harvest butternuts soon and say even more varieties will be available before you know it. Varieties of acorn squash have also been spotted from vendors including Aardvark Farm (Asheville City Market, Yancey County Farmers Market).

McConnell Farms (Asheville City Market downtown and South, North Asheville Tailgate Market) plans to bring Fuji and Gala apples this week. Also look for other crops that love the cool nights of fall (and spring)—from beets to greens.

Of course, plenty of the best of summer’s produce remains. You can still purchase tomatoes, although Thatchmore Farm (North Asheville Tailgate Market, West Asheville Tailgate Market) reports that late blight has been taking a toll on tomato growth; ask about resistant varieties. Melons remain, too. Ivy Creek Family Farm (North Asheville Tailgate Market, Weaverville Tailgate Market) says to expect one of their biggest watermelon harvests this week. Full Sun Farm (Montford Farmers Market, North Asheville Tailgate Market) offered unique yellow-skinned melons last weekend that could almost pass—at least in appearance—as winter squashes! And peppers, hot and not, are at their peak. Many are new on the scene, like fire engine-red jalapenos from Gaining Ground Farm (Asheville City Market, Montford Farmers Market, North Asheville Tailgate Market).

Also be on the lookout for cut flowers. Markets were veritable flower gardens last week and weekend. Green Toe Ground Farm (Asheville City Market, Montford Farmers Market, North Asheville Tailgate Market) offered up white and purple globe amaranths for make-your-own bouquets, Fisher Branch Farm (Asheville City Market) offered up pre-made bouquets of zinnias and cockscomb, and the list goes on!

Also keep your eyes peeled for products geared toward the changing seasons. Bonny Bath will offer a blend of essential oils at Oakley Farmers Market they say can help arm the body against germs.

Speaking of Oakley Farmers Market, Thursday from 3:30 until 6:30 pm, children will have the opportunity to help vendor Angel Ridge Farm bottle-feed their newborn pygmy goats. At 4 pm there will also be an art project with Roots and Wings School or Art, followed by regular story time at 5 pm.

Asheville City Market will host the Master Gardeners this Saturday, September 1. Also look for a booth there from MANNA FoodBank to find out what you can do during Hunger Action Month.

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