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Fresh at Farmers Markets This Week

Summer stalwarts, including new potatoes, beans, okra, and peppers, are all coming in at farmers tailgate markets now. Tomatoes and cucumbers are picking up speed and we’ll continue to see plenty of zucchini and summer squash. Plus, all the greens (dark leafies, head lettuce, and salad mixes) that have been around since spring are still going strong. You don’t have to do much to enjoy this bounty, but here are a few easy-going suggestions.

New potatoes, with thin, delicate skin and high moisture content, are super sweet right now and fantastic in potato salad or on the grill. Even better, try smoking them, especially if you already have the smoker going for your favorite cut of local meat. Marinate whole potatoes in olive oil, garlic, salt, pepper, and herbs such as oregano, thyme, or basil for a few hours or overnight. Then place the potatoes in a loosely sealed foil packet and let them smoke for two hours. Look for new potatoes from Ten Mile Farm (ASAP Farmers Market), Sleight Family Farm (North Asheville Tailgate Market), and Full Sun Farm and Gaining Ground Farm (both at North Asheville Tailgate Market and River Arts District Farmers Market).

New potatoes go especially well with any variety of beans appearing at markets now. Italian-style flat beans, such as Romano, are great for grilling or oven roasting because of their wider surface area. You can find these from Full Sun Farm and Lee’s One Fortune Farm (ASAP Farmers Market, West Asheville Tailgate Market, River Arts District Farmers Market, and East Asheville Tailgate Market). Lee’s One Fortune also has slender French-style varieties, such as the extra-long Fortex and shoestring beans. These are great lightly steamed or blanched alongside boiled new potatoes, eggs, and tomatoes for a simple niçoise salad.

Olivette Farm (ASAP Farmers Market) has the first okra we’ve seen this season, but other farms will soon follow. You can make a delicious hash with okra, new potatoes, sweet onion, and a few of the first peppers coming in (Highgate Farm at West Asheville Tailgate Market and River Arts District Farmers Market has early bell peppers in green, purple, and pale yellow). For a crispier hash, slice okra on the bias into long, thin pieces and sauté quickly on high heat. Stick to simple salt and pepper to season or try Indian spices like cumin, coriander, turmeric, and fresh ginger.

For a full list of markets open throughout the region, visit asapconnections.org. Find contact information and more details about the region’s farms and farmers markets in ASAP’s online Local Food Guide.

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