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Fresh at (Holiday) Farmers Markets This Week (Contest Continues)!

Our fall communications intern, Alex Alesi, closed out his internship by making a list—and checking it twice—of the fabulous finds to be found at the Holiday Bazaar at the site of North Asheville Tailgate Market! In doing so, he got a little nostalgic about his tailgate time with ASAP. Keep reading for his report, reminiscings, and future local food plans.

Guest market report by Alex Alesi, fall communications intern

Avl-Area Holiday Market Roundup

* Times subject to change. For more holiday markets, click here.

Artisan goods are certainly “fresh” at tailgates now, which is perfect if you like the sound of 1) getting shopping before the last minute or 2) shopping in the great outdoors.

The first Holiday Bazaar was chock full of great gifts, and the next three markets (December 8, 15, 22) promise the same amazing selection. Here are just a few standouts from my list:

Crumbs and Cream has lots of elegant-looking chocolate, while Black Mountain Chocolate offers dark chocolate bars (try sea salt!), drinking chocolate (dark chocolate and cayenne cinnamon powder), and nib rubs for cooking and bringing out chocolate’s savory side.

Farmer Jane Soap features a two-tone Holiday Spice bar made with a bright red clay-infused soap. The makers recommend unscented soaps and fragrances like honey and oatmeal for gift recipients whose perfume preferences you don’t know. Three goats—Bonnie, Simone, and Lucky—produce all of the goat milk used.

On the subject of soap, vendor Shecology’s three main products are soap nuts, laundry pills, and goat milk soap, all of which make practical gifts. Their Dirty Dog Soap contains pennyroyal, peppermint, and eucalyptus, which help ward off fleas and bacteria.

For decoration and stocking stuffers, Osada Bee Farm sells painted pine cones for 25 cents each, while Victor Chiarizia, an artist and cheesemaker with Blue Ridge Mountain Creamery, sells glass-blown ornaments and marbles (“in case you lost a few”). On the more-traditional end, Thatchmore Farm sells an array of wreaths, as well as “tabletop trees”  that, if left to grow, can reach up to 70 feet after about ten years.

Attending and reporting on tailgate markets during my ASAP internship was a blast. I started with scant knowledge of local food—and food in general, really—yet came out with knowledge of things like tomato diseases, turnip varieties, and the typical weight of a Blue Hubbard squash. I particularly enjoyed talking with farmers and other vendors (when they weren’t scrambling to restock their tables) and look forward to seeing them again when I hit the markets next season.

PS: Find a list of more holiday tailgate markets happening this week and beyond in the box at right.

PPS: You can still enter our contest! Comment below on this post and tell us your holiday tailgate market finds (without giving away a loved one’s gift, of course). We’ll include your discoveries (can be purchases or just neat products you see) in future reports, and everyone who comments will be entered to win $10 in Market Bucks to use at the final Asheville City Market holiday tailgate on December 15. Winner will be drawn on December 10.

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