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Fresh at Farmers Markets This Week

It’s a veritable pumpkin patch at area farmers tailgate markets now that October is here! Pick pie pumpkins for your favorite recipe. They’re smaller, sweeter, and less grainy than their carving counterparts, making them perfect for, well, pie!

Of course jack-o-lanterns can be “picked,” too. At Asheville City Market, visit Hugh Wright of Arbor Studios. He brings a selection of already carved pumpkins that are truly works of art. What’s more, he carves live at his booth and offers custom designs. He’ll keep his patch packed through Halloween, but his intricate designs should last until well after the spooky day. Vendors also sell Indian corn, colorful squash, and gourds for decoration.

But back to what can be eaten! Apples still abound. Look for Macintosh, Fuji, and GoldRush varieties. Striking purple sweet potatoes have been spotted alongside traditional orange ‘taters from Gaining Ground Farm (Montford Farmers Market, North Asheville Tailgate Market). And cauliflower is beginning to join fall greens and lingering summer beans, tomatoes, and peppers.

When it comes to protein, markets have North Carolina seafood, chicken, beef, lamb, pork, and eggs to offer. Recently, farms like Ten Mile Farm (Montford Farmers Market, Asheville City Market ) have been bringing shiitakes. Vendor MOTA Mushrooms has even been offering grow-your-own shiitake logs at the West Asheville Tailgate Market. Try the protein powerhouses in stir-fries or soups.

Warm up Wednesday, October 5, at Asheville City Market South with fresh hot apple cider from Gladheart Farms. As you stroll through North Asheville Tailgate Market this Saturday, October 8, say hello to 2011 Community Sponsor The Southern Highland Craft Guild. Their guest appearance comes at the perfect time. Craft vendors will increase in the coming weeks, offering holiday gift items galore.

Most area markets remain open through the end of the month. Many run through November and into December. Stay tuned to From Here for closing details and dates as winter approaches.

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