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Fresh at Farmers Markets This Week

persimmons from Lees One Fortune Farm 550x250

Halloween festivities are a bit different this year, given that most events that draw crowds have been canceled or reimagined. But there are a few chances to show off your costume at Buncombe County farmers tailgate markets today and tomorrow. You can also pick up ingredients for sweet and salty treats and fun kitchen activities to make together at home with your family or close friends.

This afternoon, East Asheville Tailgate Market has trick or treating with vendors from 3 to 5:30 p.m. and storytelling on the lawn from 5 to 6:30 p.m. (Groce Methodist Church, where the market takes place, will also have “trunk or treat” set up from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.) 

On Saturday, ASAP Farmers Market is offering prizes for decorated face masks (or face masks worked into your costume) and spooky recipes (post them on Instagram or Facebook and tag @ashevillecitymarket). Vendors will also be in costume and you’ll have a chance to vote for your favorites. 

Just in time for Halloween, persimmons have arrived at markets. These vividly orange fruits definitely deserve a place in your fall lineup. The fuyu variety available from Lee’s One Fortune Farm can be eaten whole like an apple or sliced to add to salad or a fruit plate. For a very simple and fun treat, freeze persimmons for eight hours (or up to a month). Slice off the top with a serrated knife and eat with a spoon like a pudding cup. Find Lee’s One Fortune Farm at East Asheville Tailgate Market, ASAP Farmers Market, Black Mountain Tailgate Market, West Asheville Tailgate Market, and River Arts District Farmers Market.

In addition to persimmons, apples, pears, and ginger are great for baking or candy-making projects like fruit leather, pies, cakes, quick breads, or cobblers, and more. 

Will you be carving pumpkins or other winter squash (pro tip: butternut makes a terrific ghost)? Save the seeds for a tasty snack! Rinse well to remove all the pulp and lay on paper towels to dry. Toss with olive oil, salt, and preferred seasonings, then roast in a 300-degree oven for about 20-30 minutes, stirring every 10. Seeds are ready when they are golden and no longer chewy (the’ll get a bit crispier as they dry out). You can also soak or blanch seeds in salted water prior to roasting to better infuse the salty flavor, though you will need to increase the roasting time. For a sweet take, toss toasted seeds in a bowl with melted butter, sugar, and cinnamon. Let cool. 

So over pumpkins this season? Try your hand at other vegetable carvings! Apples, sweet potatoes, carrots, and beets are all good candidates for your artistic skills. 

At markets now you’ll also find a myriad of greens, potatoes, turnips, radishes, broccoli, cauliflower, kohlrabi, and much more. In addition to produce, markets offer an abundance of meats, cheese, bread, eggs, fermented products, baked goods, and beverages. Find more details about farms and markets throughout the region in ASAP’s online Local Food Guide.

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