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Fresh at Farmers Markets This Week

cherry tomatoes

Fireworks will light up skies this weekend, but colorful displays of another sort are filling farmers tailgate market tables. Whether you are gathering with friends and family or preserving some time for yourself, here are a few ways you can celebrate the best of local food this holiday weekend.

Savor your first tomatoes. A handful of greenhouse-grown ’maters have been available for the past few weeks, but this week we’re seeing the true start to tomato season. Lee’s One Fortune Farm, Full Sun Farm, and Olivette Farm have an assortment of heirlooms, cherries, and slicers (and likely more farms will as well by the time you’re reading this). Tomatoes are one of the most versatile ingredients you can get at the farmers market, but we like to enjoy the first ones as simply as possible: sliced, with a little salt and pepper, on homemade sandwich bread with a thin spread of mayonnaise, or layered between mozzarella and fresh basil. Find Lee’s One Fortune at ASAP, Black Mountain, West Asheville, River Arts District, and East Asheville markets; Full Sun at North Asheville and River Arts District markets; and Olivette at ASAP Farmers Market.

Cheer for the peaches and blueberries that escaped the frost. Creasman Farms expects to be back at markets this week with peaches. Late frosts damaged the earliest fruits, so we’re seeing them a little later than in past years. Likewise, some farms lost their entire blueberry crops, though others were spared. Full Sun Farm, McConnell Farms, and Dillingham Family Farm should have blueberries available this week. Look for Creasman Farms at ASAP and River Arts District markets; McConnell at North and West Asheville markets; and Dillingham at Weaverville Tailgate Market.

Get squash blossoms while you can. There’s just a short window for squash blossoms at farmers markets, but they’re available now from Lee’s One Fortune Farm. Cheese-stuffed, battered, and fried is the classic (and craveable) preparation for these lovely orange flowers, but you can also eat them much more simply. Thinly slice squash blossoms and add them to your pasta, quesadilla, omelet, or pizza. In Mexico, squash blossoms are also often used in soups. Try them in a creamy pureed soup with potatoes or zucchini or add them to a chile, chicken, and rice stew.

At farmers markets now you’ll also find raspberries, summer squash, green beans, new potatoes, cucumbers, carrots, beets, broccoli, cauliflower, lettuce, microgreens, 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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