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Fresh at Farmers Markets This Week

pepper plants

Early-season plant starts, like snow peas, leafy greens, and cabbage are giving way to summer vegetables and herbs, including cucumbers, summer squash, tomatoes, and peppers. Farmers tailgate markets, in addition to offering plenty of ready-to-eat produce, are also a great resource for plant starts and gardening advice. Most of these frost-sensitive types should wait to go into the ground until temperatures won’t dip below freezing. (After Mother’s Day is the traditional guideline.) But you can choose and gather your starts now!

The AppaLatin Farmstead will have a wide variety of tomato and pepper starts this week at East Asheville Tailgate Market and Weaverville Tailgate Market. AppaLatin specializes in heirloom peppers from Cuba and other Latin countries, including the Aji Amarillo, a bright yellow-orange variety that balances heat with fruity flavor. The pepper is iconic in Peruvian cooking. Later in the season, AppaLatin will also offer Aji Amarillo paste, perfect for replicating Peruvian dishes or adding zing to anything else you might be cooking.

If you’re on the hunt for other hard-to-find Latin ingredients, you’ll be excited to discover that Finally Farm has epazote starts. This herb, native to Central America, can be an acquired taste. It’s often described as a combination of oregano, mint, anise, citrus, mustard greens, pine—and even turpentine or creosote! Cooking mellows it out considerably. Add it to bean dishes, quesadillas, soups, and more. Find epazote and many more herb, vegetable, and flower starts from Finally Farm at ASAP Farmers Market and River Arts District Farmers Market.

Pick up other vegetable starts from Full Sun Farm, which has cucumbers, zucchini, zephyr squash, and basil available for preorder for May 1 and 5 at North Asheville Tailgate Market or River Arts District Farmers Market; B&L Organic at West Asheville Tailgate Market and North Asheville Tailgate Market; Ivy Creek Family Farm at North Asheville Tailgate Market and, starting this week, Weaverville Tailgate Market; and Hogback Ridge Herb Farm at North Asheville Tailgate Market.

In addition to plants, markets have plenty of dark leafy greens like spinach, kale, collards, and broccoli raab; salad greens and head lettuce; root veggies like carrots, beets, turnips, and radishes; spring alliums like leeks and spring onions; mushrooms, and more. In addition to produce, market vendors have a wide variety of meat, fish, cheese, bread, rice, prepared foods, fermented products, baked treats, and beverages. There are more than 100 farmers tailgate markets throughout the Appalachian Grown region. Find them, as well as farms and other local food businesses, in ASAP’s online Local Food Guide.

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