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Fresh at Farmers Markets This Week

Routines make up our lives. Some routines are daily, others weekly. For many, visiting indoor winter tailgate markets is part of their regular, Saturday routine. What these routines look like vary by individual and family, but one routine might look something like this:

Stop first at the market manager’s booth to run a credit card or EBT in exchange for tokens. (Only available at some markets, including Asheville City Market.) Then, beeline to Biltmore Coffee Traders (Asheville City Market, also known as ACM) or Notorious Roasting Company (YMCA Indoor Winter Market) for coffee, and a baker (Ma Belle France at ACM, Farm & Sparrow at YMCA, or Sweetheart Bakery at both) for a breakfast treat such as spinach and feta scone, seasonal veggie tart, or bacon and caramelized onion quiche.

While eating breakfast and drinking coffee, make a once-around of the market to see what’s available that week. Some considerations might be cabbage or collards, beets or turnips, chicken or beef?

Now that the once-around is complete, purchase the heaviest items first; frozen meats from Dry Ridge Farm (both markets), Dillingham Family Farm (YMCA), or East Fork Farm (YMCA); potatoes from Meadow Cove Farm (YMCA); carrots from Wildwood Herbal (both markets); and apples from McConnell Farms (YMCA) or Creasman Farms (both markets).

Next, turn attention to more delicate items; cheese from Three Graces Dairy (YMCA) or Spinning Spider Creamery (both markets), eggs from Hap Mountain Herbal (ACM) or Myseanica Family Farm (ACM); salad greens from Second Spring Market Garden (ACM), or Meadow Cove Farm (YMCA); and a loaf of bread from Simple Bread (ACM), Wake Robin Farm (YMCA), or Farm & Sparrow (YMCA).

If there’s still some spare dollars left after all that, buy a snack — apple rings from Creasman Farms; or a cookie from Sweetheart Bakery.

Another form of weekly routine is a CSA. Many farms at market are advertising their CSA programs now. This is a good time to chat with farmers face to face to learn about their programs — and go to ASAP’s CSA Fair at Jubilee on March 10 to meet more farms with pick-up in Buncombe County.

Want to hear more about local winter markets? ASAP has a radio series called Growing Local, and more than one episode had featured the indoor winter tailgate markets. Check them out on Soundcloud.

Winter markets take place throughout the region. Check out the “2016 Winter Farmers Markets” page on ASAP’s website on asapconnections.org. As always, you can find information about which farm stands are open and other farms to visit in the winter months by visiting ASAP’s online Local Food Guide at appalachiangrown.org.

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