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rainbow cauliflower

The traditional growing season is coming to an end, but you can still find fresh, local food at area farmers tailgate markets. Though some markets have closed or will soon (heads up: next weekend is your last chance to shop at Black Mountain Tailgate Market), several in Buncombe County offer holiday markets or extended seasons in November and December. In addition to meat, cheese, bread, and seasonal produce, these markets feature local artists and handmade goods like wreaths, artwork, pottery, jewelry, and more. 

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red and gold beets

If you’ve been hunkered down all week wondering if or when our country would erupt into violence, heading out to a farmers tailgate market might be the healthiest thing you can do for yourself. First of all, markets are outdoor environments and all that fresh air and sunlight can help clear your head. Second, even in the age of coronavirus and a divisive election, markets offer community and fellowship. Finally, and most obviously, shopping at market literally nourishes yourself and your family. 

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persimmons from Lees One Fortune Farm 550x250

Halloween festivities are a bit different this year, given that most events that draw crowds have been canceled or reimagined. But there are a few chances to show off your costume at Buncombe County farmers tailgate markets today and tomorrow. You can also pick up ingredients for sweet and salty treats and fun kitchen activities to make together at home with your family or close friends.

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popcorn from Full Sun Farm

November and Daylight Savings Time are around the corner. This week marks the final days for a couple of farmers tailgate markets in Buncombe County, with a change in hours coming at others. After today’s market, you’ll have one more chance to visit East Asheville Tailgate Market on Oct. 30. Enka-Candler Tailgate Market’s last day is this Thursday, Oct. 29, though some vendors will return for a two-day weekend holiday market Nov. 14 and 15. Starting Nov. 3, West Asheville Tailgate Market will change its hours to 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. (instead of 6:30), but remain outdoors at Grace Baptist Church through December. Weaverville Tailgate Market is moving indoors at Reems Creek Nursery on Nov. 4 and changing its hours to 2 to 5 p.m. (instead of 2:30 to 6).

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Heather Gast

ASAP likes to share the stories of people who are contributing to the local food system. As part of our National Farm to School Month celebration, we’re talking to Heather Gast, who teaches kindergarten and first grade at Weaverville Primary School (that’s Sebastian, the class sloth on her left). She’s working with Growing Minds to make sure her students experience local food, farms, and gardening, even as they adjust to virtual learning.
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pozole

Did you dry peppers earlier in the season? Or are you still finding fresh ones at farmers tailgate markets? Many farms will continue have them, probably until the first frost. Try making red or green pozole. This simple-but-satisfying Mexican soup showcases local peppers, as well as peak fall produce and local meats. 

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apples from Creasman Farms

We’re at the height of apple season and you can find a multitude of choices at farmers tailgate markets right now. While picking your own apples can be a fun, experiential way to get your stock up for the fall, shopping at market gives you the chance to ask the farmer about each variety. Try branching out from your favorites to sample something new!

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young ginger

The onset of fall brings young ginger to area farmers tailgate markets. Though native to more tropical climates, ginger actually grows quite well in Appalachia and has become increasingly popular among Western North Carolina farmers over the past decade. You can get it now from Highgate Farm at Black Mountain Tailgate Market, West Asheville Tailgate Market, and River Arts District Farmers Market; New Roots Market Garden at ASAP Farmers Market; and Lee’s One Fortune Farm, at all of the above markets plus East Asheville Tailgate Market.

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muscadine grapes

“And all at once, summer collapsed into fall,” wrote Oscar Wilde, and that feels especially true this year. This past week’s cooler temperatures have brought the threat of frost to some of the higher-elevation farms in our region. While farmers tailgate markets have been seeing the transition to autumn for the past several weeks, suddenly cooler-weather crops are taking center stage. Tomatoes, peppers, and eggplant are all still available, but in shorter supply. Here are a few things to start looking for instead.

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Jake Beaver

ASAP likes to share the stories of people who are contributing to the local food system. As part of our Restaurant Worker Appreciation Month at Buncombe County farmers markets, we’re talking to Jake Beaver, who has worked as a line cook at several Asheville restaurants, including Nightbell and Cultura. He’ll be working for Table Right Here when it reopens on North Lexington Ave. this fall. He’s pictured, left, during a farm dinner at Ivy Creek Family Farm.

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