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Fresh at Farmers Markets This Week

tomatoes

The first tomatoes have arrived at farmers tailgate markets! If you acted quickly this past week, you may have snagged an early variety from Thatchmore Farm (North Asheville Tailgate Market, West Asheville Tailgate Market), Full Sun Farm (River Arts District Farmers Market, North Asheville Tailgate Market), Olivette Farm, or Headwaters Market Garden (both at Asheville City Market).

If you’re thinking this seems exceptionally early for tomatoes, you’re not wrong. Many farmers these days are making use of innovations like high tunnels or cultivar selection to extend their growing season. As a result we’re seeing crops come to market earlier in the spring, or stay later into the fall or winter, than we used to. (As a reference point, ASAP used to publish its Local Food Guide in June, because there simply was no local produce to get excited about before that. Now the guide comes out in April.) High tunnels (or hoop houses) are solar-heated arched frames covered with clear plastic, which let the farmer to create the microclimates needed for early April strawberries, June tomatoes, or four-season lettuce.

Other vegetables making their way to market tables include green beans from Lee’s One Fortune Farm (many markets) and new potatoes from Ten Mile Farm (Asheville City Market and River Arts District Farmers Market). Raspberries are starting to show up alongside strawberries, blueberries, and cherries (Bear Necessities Farm had black raspberries in addition to red and gold varieties at Asheville City Market and West Asheville Tailgate Market). Lyda and Sons Orchard had some of the first peaches we’ve seen at Weaverville Tailgate Market and Henderson County Tailgate Market, and Creasman Farms had them by the quart or 24-pound basket at River Arts District Farmers Market.

Planning to make a farm-fresh dinner for Dad on Father’s Day? (Psst, don’t forget, Sunday is Father’s Day!) You’ll also find cucumbers, summer squash, garlic scapes, snap peas, spring onions, fennel, beets, kohlrabi, cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, salad mix, head lettuce, kale, chard, spinach, bok choy, radishes, turnips, sweet potatoes, and mushrooms. Whole, fresh chickens, pork, beef, lamb, duck, and sausages are also available, as well as eggs, bread, pickled and fermented items, coffee, cheese, pastries, chocolate, specialty vinegars, flowers, and so much more.

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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