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Fresh at Farmers Markets This Week

Sure, the image is a little trite: Dad in his battleworn apron, presiding over the Weber. But since Sunday is both Father’s Day and the first day of summer, we’re going to lean into the stereotype and devote this column to grilling. Grillable veggies like summer squash, spring onions, and mushrooms are plentiful at farmers tailgate markets right now, in addition to a wide assortment of steaks, sausages, chops, and birds.

 If a classic cookout is your jam, ground beef and brats are widely available. Look for meats from Dry Ridge Farm (ASAP, West Asheville, and River Arts District markets), Hickory Nut Gap (ASAP and North Asheville markets), Dillingham Family Farm (Weaverville Tailgate Market), and Headshrink Farms (East Asheville Tailgate Market). For burger fixings, Thatchmore Farm (West Asheville and North Asheville markets) has early, greenhouse-grown tomatoes, as well as cucumbers to make a quick batch of bread-and-butter pickles. Head lettuce is available from many farms, and you can get red onions for slicing from Full Sun Farm (North and River Arts District markets). 

Try a grilled potato salad alongside your meats! Root Bottom Farm (West Asheville Tailgate Market) has red and yellow new potatoes now. Boil potatoes in salted water until just tender. Slice them in half and toss with olive oil, minced garlic, and your favorite herb combo. Place them cut-side down on a hot grill, turning a few times, until crispy on both sides. Transfer to a bowl and toss with additional olive oil, lemon juice or cider vinegar, whole grain mustard, more herbs, and thinly sliced scallions or spring onions.  

Peaches won’t arrive in abundance at markets until the first week of July or so, but you might be able to score some from Bright Branch Farm at East Asheville Tailgate Market. If you do, grill them alongside a few local pork chops. Cut peaches in half and remove pits. Grill them cut-side down for about four minutes, until slightly charred. For added sweetness, brush them with a bit of balsamic vinegar. Serve pork and peaches over a bed of local arugula. 

Market carrots are great for grilling because they tend to be smaller than grocery store types, especially the ones farmers are picking right now. That means you can cook them all the way through on the grill before the outside becomes overly charred. Toss carrots with olive oil, salt, and a Moroccan-style spice blend of paprika, cumin, ginger, cinnamon, turmeric, and cayenne. For best results, grill carrots over indirect heat until they are tender. Moroccan spices also make a great rub for grilled chicken. You can get ready-to-grill spatchcocked chicken (as well as other parts) from Gnome Mountain Farm at River Arts District Farmers Market. Look for sweet carrots from multiple farmers, including Whaley Farmstead at East Asheville Tailgate Market, Olivette Farm at ASAP Farmers Market, and New Roots Market Garden at ASAP, North Asheville, and West Asheville markets. 

At farmers markets now you’ll find raspberries, beets, snap peas, radishes, turnips, broccoli, cauliflower, spinach, kale, collards, cabbage, and much more. Markets are also stocked with farm-fresh eggs, bread, cheese, pastries, fermented products, drinks, and prepared foods. 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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