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Fresh at Farmers Markets This Week

apples from Creasman Farms

We’re at the height of apple season and you can find a multitude of choices at farmers tailgate markets right now. While picking your own apples can be a fun, experiential way to get your stock up for the fall, shopping at market gives you the chance to ask the farmer about each variety. Try branching out from your favorites to sample something new!

Love the sweet-tart crunch of the ever-popular Honeycrisp? You have a lot of options! Crimson Crisp is true to its name and wonderfully satisfying to snack on. Senshu apples, a close relative of Fujis, are sweet and crisp with just a hint of tartness. Swiss Gourmet and Golden Delicious strike a nice balance between sweet and tart. Eaten freshly picked right now, both are fairly crisp, though their texture will soften in storage. Pink Lady apples, on the other hand, are some of the last apples harvested in the season (look for them in a few weeks) and will retain their crispness in storage throughout the winter. 

Prefer the mouth-puckering tartness of Granny Smith? Try Stayman, which has a tart, almost wine-like flavor with a hint of cinnamon (you may also see it referred to as Stayman Winesap). York apples have an oblong shape and are mildly tart with just a hint of sweetness. Or be on the lookout for Arkansas Black, which will arrive at markets soon. This is not a particularly juicy apple, but its extreme tartness and striking purple-red color make it stand out. While its tannic qualities are prized for cider-making, it also holds up well in pies. 

Accustomed to baking with Rome apples? Sheep Nose (named for their almost triangular, snout-like shape) have hints of clove when eaten fresh and yield a buttery, caramel-like flavor when baked. The snow-white, firm flesh of Cortland apples holds up well in pies, cobblers, and crisps. The coarser, yellow-fleshed Gold Rush, coming soon, has a honeyed flavor with notes of pear and citrus and is a great apple for baking whole. 

Look for a wide variety of apples from Creasman Farms (ASAP Farmers Market, Black Mountain Tailgate Market, North Asheville Tailgate Market, and River Arts District Farmers Market), McConnell Farm (North Asheville Tailgate Market and West Asheville Tailgate Market), and Bright Branch Farms (East Asheville Tailgate Market). You’ll also find a few heirloom varieties from B&L Organic and Thatchmore Farm (both at North Asheville Tailgate Market and West Asheville Tailgate Market). 

At markets now, you’ll find some of the first fall broccoli, winter squash, lettuce and greens, tomatoes, pears, grapes, and much more. Farmers tailgate markets also have a wide assortment of meats, cheeses, breads and baked goods, beverages, and other value-added products. Find more details about farms and markets throughout the region in ASAP’s online Local Food Guide.

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