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Fresh at Farmers Markets This Week

Dry Ridge Farm eggs

Will you be dying eggs this weekend? More farmers tailgate markets vendors than ever are selling eggs right now, so this is a great chance to go local with your Easter, Passover, Earth Day, or other springtime celebrations. With many cartons containing a pretty mix of blue, brown, and white, you could go minimalist and skip the dye altogether. But if colored eggs are non-negotiable, we have a few food-based suggestions to avoid artificial food coloring. These dyes will work on both brown or white eggs, though the resulting color will vary.

If you plan to hide eggs for Sunday morning, you’ll want to start your dying process as early as possible, as these methods benefit from an overnight soak or multiple dippings. Boil two cups of water and two tablespoons of white vinegar, add one of the coloring agents below, and simmer for half an hour. Cool and strain, then soak your hard boiled eggs for your preferred length of time. Let eggs dry completely after soaking to set the colors. Some suggest rubbing the eggs with oil to make the color last longer.

Peeled red beets (chopped or grated, about two cups) will yield a pink hue. You might find a few beets left from winter storage (Headwaters Market Garden had them at Asheville City Market a few weeks ago), but it’s still a little early for the spring crop. You could also try using the brine of fermented beets, like those from Fermenti. (West Asheville Tailgate Market, North Asheville Tailgate Market, Weaverville Tailgate Market), Serotonin Ferments (Asheville City Market, North Asheville Tailgate Market), or Sweet Brine’d (Asheville City Market, Weaverville Tailgate Market).

Chances are you’re not going to find big, papery onions at market this week, but you can let this be a lesson to save your skins for next year. Two cups of yellow onion skins (just the papery parts you can pull off with your hands) will get you orange or rust-colored eggs. Achieve blue (or green, if you’re using brown eggs) using a small head of red cabbage, sliced. For yellow, use 1/4 cup sliced fresh turmeric (check New Moon Herbs Farm at Asheville City Market) or the same amount of ground from the spice shelf.

What to do with all these hard boiled eggs after the hunt is over? Look to spring produce starting to show up at markets. Dress grilled asparagus from McConnell Farms (Asheville City Market, North Asheville Tailgate Market, West Asheville Tailgate Market) or baby leeks from Ivy Creek Family Farm (North Asheville Tailgate Market, Weaverville Tailgate Market) with gribiche, a sauce made from coarsely chopped eggs, pickles, capers, mustard, vinegar, olive oil, and fresh herbs, like tarragon and parsley. Add ramp puree to your deviled eggs to kick things up a notch (look for ramps that have been sustainably harvested, with the bulb cut above the roots). Or make an open-faced egg salad and French breakfast radish (many farms have them) sandwich on slices of Simple Bread (Asheville City Market, Weaverville Tailgate Market, West Asheville Tailgate Market).

Area farmers tailgate markets take place throughout the region. As always, you can find information about farms, tailgate markets, and farm stands, including locations and hours, by visiting ASAP’s online Local Food Guide at appalachiangrown.org.

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