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Fresh at Farmers Markets This week

Tomatoes are one of the most iconic foods of summer. It may seem unlikely to find tomatoes this early in the year, but with season extension practices such as greenhouses, some farmers are surprising us at area farmers tailgate markets.
This week, Second Spring Market Garden (French Broad Food Co-op Wednesday Tailgate Market and Asheville City Market) brought to market the very first fresh tomatoes of the year, and in multiple varieties! Right now they have Brandywine, Cherry, Cherokee Purple, Sungold, and New Girl New Girl (a variety very similar to Early Girl). Matt of Second Spring says that they’ve staggered their planting of tomato varieties, so expect new ones to appear from week to week.

Second Spring Market Garden had some of the first sugar snap peas, which are juicy, sweet, and crunchy making them ideal snack food this time of year! Also from Second Spring: purple snow peas and some of the first summer squash of the year.

Gaining Ground Farm and Flying Cloud Farm (both at the River Arts District Farmers Market, Asheville City Market, and North Asheville Tailgate Market) had their first summer squash available at market this week as well. Zucchini is another quintessential summer veggie making its appearance earlier than usual this year. Expect the varieties to broaden, as well as the vegetables themselves as the weeks continue.

Aardvark Farm (Yancey County Farmers Market, River Arts District Farmers Market, and Asheville City Market) had beautiful (and delicious) purple kohlrabi and golden beets. Kohlrabi is similar to broccoli stems in flavor and texture and it’s great both raw and cooked. Both the stems and the leaves are edible and tasty!

When cooking all of these exciting new market arrivals, incorporate some fresh spring alliums to deepen the flavor of your dish. Right now, try leeks from Fork Mountain Farm (Weaverville Tailgate Market), spicy scallions from Highgate Farm (Weaverville Tailgate Market, East Asheville Tailgate Market, and Black Mountain Tailgate Market), or garlic scapes from Paper Crane Farm (West Asheville Tailgate Market and Asheville City Market) and Ivy Creek Family Farm (North Asheville Tailgate Market and Weaverville Tailgate Market).

Some other fun finds this week: “outREDgeous mix” a mix of red leafed “greens” from Meadow Cove Farm (West Asheville Tailgate Market and Asheville City Market), and edible flowers such as garlic blossoms from Green Toe Ground Farm (North Asheville Tailgate Market and Asheville City Market) and nasturtiums from Aardvark Farm.

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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