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jicama from Lee's One Fortune Farm at East Asheville Tailgate Market

With the long holiday weekend ended, the first few weeks of school gone by, and the days definitely getting a little shorter, it’s easy to feel especially pressed for time in September. You might be shopping at farmers tailgate markets with the best intentions, but time to prepare meals is elusive. With fall crops starting to mingle with the best of summer produce still available, though, now is a great time to try some grab-and-go produce, whether for snacking or tucking into school lunches. 

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Labor Day bookends the summer season (though technically we have three more weeks), and is often a last hurrah for a weekend of outdoor food and fun. If you’re firing up your grill, the farmers tailgate markets are packed with great options, including ground beef for burgers, steaks, pork chops, whole chickens, summer squash, eggplant, corn on the cob, and much more. But don’t stop there! Here are a few less-traditional items you might want to throw on the grill this season. Read the rest of this entry »

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Peppers are really coming into their own at farmers tailgate markets right now. These bright nightshades can vary so much in flavor, heat, color, size, and texture. Asking the farmer about the varieties they’re growing is a great way to learn about new types and get tips on how you might prepare them. 

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figs

Your favorite peak summer produce—tomatoes, corn, peppers, melons, peaches, blackberries, beans, okra, eggplant—is still filling the tables at farmers tailgate markets. We have a month or two more to enjoy these items. But there are hints of seasonal change in the air.

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popsicles

Is there a more quintessential summer experience than eating a popsicle in the sun, with sweet fruit juices dribbling down your chin? Farmers tailgate markets offer a wealth of popsicle ingredients, including some options for thinking outside the tried and true mold. 

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corn from McConnell Farms

There are many methods for shopping at farmers tailgate markets. There’s the make-a-list-in-advance tactic (we offer a weekly rundown here for that kind of shopper). There’s the do-a-lap-first-then-form-a-plan strategy. And then there’s the grab-everything-that-looks-good-and-figure-it-out-later approach. It’s after shopping excursions like the latter that we fully appreciate a dish like succotash.

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Amy Pickett of Sugar & Snow Gelanto and Jen Perkins of Looking Glass Creamery

ASAP likes to share the stories of people who help us fulfill our mission. This month, we talk with Amy Pickett, owner of Sugar & Snow Gelato, which will be one of the vendors for ASAP’s Local Food Experience Aug. 15. She’s pictured above with Jennifer Perkins of Looking Glass Creamery.

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watermelon and cantaloupe from Ten Mile Farm

Watermelons and cantaloupe are starting to come in at farmers tailgate markets, which lend themselves particularly well to no-cook meals for muggy mountain evenings. There are plenty of nights we might just slice up a melon and call it dinner, but if you’re ready to take it up a notch, try these chilled soup ideas.

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Tomatillos from Gaining Ground Farm

Corn, tomatoes, peppers, tomatillos—it’s officially salsa season at farmers tailgate markets! 

Two markets are offering special events capitalizing on salsa fever: West Asheville Tailgate Market’s Pepperpalooza will take place this Tuesday, July 23, featuring a hot pepper eating contest, hot sauce tasting, demonstrations of ristra (a traditional Spanish method for drying peppers), and more. Weaverville Tailgate Market’s salsa competition and fundraiser is the following week, on Wednesday, July 31. Register to enter via the market’s Facebook page—or just show up to taste the contenders and vote your picks.

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assorted beans at farmers markets

Baskets of beans are starting to crowd farmers tailgate market tables. Common green beans, yellow wax beans, or deep purple burgundy beans are all great, versatile ingredients, whether you’re sautéeing a side dish, adding them to a salad, or preserving for later use. But here are a few specific varieties we’ve been excited to find in recent weeks.

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