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Fresh at Farmers Markets This Week

rainbow chard

Are there colors you associate with different seasons at farmers tailgate markets? The vivid reds, yellows, and purples of summer tomatoes, crookneck squash, and eggplant? The deep golds and dark greens of fall pumpkins and kale? Shades of spring—pink, yellow-orange, and emerald green—are starting perk up market tents.

Several farms have carrots in pale orange or yellow hues, with greens still attached, including Highgate Farm (Weaverville Tailgate Market, West Asheville Tailgate Market), Gaining Ground Farm (North Asheville Tailgate Market, River Arts District Farmers Market), and Flying Cloud Farm (North Asheville Tailgate Market, River Arts District Farmers Market). These overwintered veggies tend to be sweeter than carrots grown at the height of the season. Though the greens can be a bit too bitter for some tastes, they work well in a pesto or salsa verde—try it with capers, anchovy, lemon zest and juice, garlic, olive oil, salt, and red pepper flakes.

Olivette Farm (Asheville City Market) boasted rainbow chard, with stalks of pink, orange, and yellow. Don’t discard these tender stems when cooking the greens! After tearing off the upper greens (no need to be precise), slice the stems crosswise and sauté with olive oil and garlic until softened before adding the leaves. Cook until wilted and finish with a bit of lemon juice, salt, and pepper.

Spring onions, great grilled or roasted whole, or used in place of milder scallions, were available from Gaining Ground Farm, Tucker’s Garden (North Asheville Tailgate Market, West Asheville Tailgate Market), and Ivy Creek Family Farm (North Asheville Tailgate Market, Weaverville Tailgate Market). McConnell Farms (Asheville City Market, North Asheville Tailgate Market, West Asheville Tailgate Market) continued to have asparagus.

You’ll have to act quick to get the first strawberries of the season, but they’ve been spotted at Headwaters Market Garden (Asheville City Market). More farms should have these as the weather continues to grow warmer.

A few more area markets are opening over the next two weeks. The River Arts District Farmers Market, at All Souls Pizza at 175 Clingman Ave., begins this Wednesday (May 1) from 3 to 6 p.m. East Asheville Tailgate Market and Black Mountain Tailgate Market will join the ranks next week on Friday, May 3, and Saturday, May 4, respectively.

Find more spring tailgate market opening dates here, or additional information about farms, tailgate markets, and farm stands, including locations and hours, by visiting ASAP’s online Local Food Guide.

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