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Fresh at Farmers Markets This week

The recent heat and humidity are deceptively summer-like. Before the season is officially upon us, be sure to take advantage of the bounty of spring from area farmers tailgate markets. A wonderfully refreshing way to do that is with a fresh, crisp, and locally-sourced spring salad.

The base of the quintessential spring salad is tender mixed spring greens, which are fairly ubiquitous at markets, and you can find them from most produce farmers. Do keep in mind that different farms include different varieties of greens in their mixes and so you may want to try many to find your favorite.

Next, add microgreens for added nutrients and flavor. Pea shoots are a great choice, but sunflower or broccoli sprouts are delicious too. Sleight Family Farm (French Broad Food Co-op Wednesday Tailgate Market, Asheville City Market, and Black Mountain Tailgate Market) and Root Bottom Farm (Madison County Farmers Market and West Asheville Tailgate Market) have these available.

Salads can also include cooked ingredients! Sauteed shiitake mushrooms are great, such as those from Eagle Rock Farm at East Asheville Tailgate Market. Try roasting spring garlic in the toaster oven, and either directly add into a salad, or incorporate it in homemade dressing. Spring garlic can be found from Bee Log Garlic and Flower Farm (Yancey County Farmers Market) and Long Valley Eco-Biotic Farm (Madison County Farmers Market, West Asheville Tailgate Market, and Weaverville Tailgate Market).

Broccoli is now available at markets and is great for adding texture to salads. Include it raw or grilled. Broccoli can be found from Aardvark Farm (Asheville City Market, River Arts District Farmers Market, and Yancey County Farmers Market) and Flying Cloud Farm (Asheville City Market, North Asheville Tailgate Market, and River Arts District Farmers Market). Another crunchy vegetable to add: cucumbers! Which are now, for the first time this season, available from McConnell Farms (Asheville City Market, West Asheville Tailgate Market, Asheville City Market – South, and North Asheville Tailgate Market). White salad (or Hakurei) turnips add both a distinct flavor and crunch to salads, many farmers have this variety for sale this time of year.

Not to be forgotten, non-produce items in salads such as: cheese, meat, or non-meat protein options like tempeh. And, the very best part? The dressing! You can use fresh herbs like cilantro, if you make dressing at home.

For more information about spring opening dates for farmers tailgate markets in our region, visit our full list of market opening dates. 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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