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Fresh at Farmers Markets This Week

September is a month of transition at area farmers tailgate markets. The days are getting shorter, and will soon get cooler; many summer items are tapering off, as we begin to see early fall produce emerging.

While berries, melons, and plums are no longer available at most markets, you can get the your last taste of summer fruit with Big Red peaches from Whispersholler Farms (Oakley Farmers Market), Creasman Farms (River Arts District Farmers Market, Asheville City Market, and Black Mountain Tailgate Market), and McConnell Farms (Asheville City Market, Asheville City Market – South, and North Asheville Tailgate Market). These peaches have yellow flesh, with red “blushing” on the skin, and are known for being incredibly juicy.

Table grapes are another late summer fruit favorite. Dillingham Family Farm (Weaverville Tailgate Market), McConnell Farm, and Creasman Farm all have table grapes now. And, of course, early apples are not to be overlooked!

The king of summer, the tomato, will reign for just a few weeks longer. Eggplant – tomato’s fellow nightshade – can be found at few places, but not for much longer either. To take their place as juicy, meaty, and colorful additions to your dishes, look for peppers, which are in their prime right now.

Smoking J’s Fiery Foods and Farm, known for their hot sauces, salsas, and bbq sauces, can be found at Asheville City Market, West Asheville Tailgate Market, and North Asheville Tailgate Market. In addition to their prepared items, they have fresh peppers available at market as well!

Gregg, of New Moon Herbs Farm (Asheville City Market), has a wonderful and diverse array of organic peppers ranging from Lunch Box peppers (sweet snacking peppers) to Padron (called the Russian roulette of peppers, some hot, some not) to Habenero (very hot peppers). September is ASAP’s Get Local pepper month, so check out the restaurants that are highlighting these firecrackers now.

Summer squashes are also almost at the end of their season. Patty pan squash are hard to find now, and though you can still find some zucchini if you get to market early, winter squashes are surely taking over the real estate at vendors’ tables.

Find Spaghetti squash from Corners Knob Farm and Butternut, Carnival, and Jester from Angel Ridge Farm, all at the Madison County Farmers Market. At Asheville City Market and River Arts District Farmers Market, Blue Ribbon Farm has Carnival, Acorn, and red and green Hubbard squashes available.

Mills River Farmers Market is hosting an event, Harvest at the River Festival, on September 20th from 8am-12pm. The festival will include animals and farm equipment on display, live music and entertainment, along with cooking and craft demonstrations. This is a great morning activity before ASAP’s Farm Tour that afternoon; attend Harvest at the River Festival and then visit the farms in the Henderson cluster. Check out ASAP’s Farm Tour map in the printed guide or online to find which farms are closest to the Mills River Farmers Market!

For a complete list of Appalachian Grown™ certified tailgate markets browse our online Local Food Guide or online farmers market calendar.

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