ASAP Local Food Strong Farms Healthy Communities

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Melinda Aponte of the YWCA with Anna Littman of Ivy Creek Family Farm

ASAP likes to share the stories of people who help us fulfill our mission. This month we talked with Melinda Aponte, nutrition coordinator for the YWCA of Asheville’s Early Learning Program. The YWCA is part of ASAP’s Appalachian Farms Feeding Families program, working with Ivy Creek Family Farm to provide fresh, local produce for the children. She is pictured on the left with farmer Anna Littman of Ivy Creek.
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delicata squash

Farmers, even in the best of times, experience setbacks. Many farms in our region are grappling with enormous loss due to Tropical Storm Fred. Meanwhile, a series of late frosts in April significantly damaged apples and other fruit this year. The effects of these events might not be felt at farmers markets immediately, but you’ll see fewer of your favorite crops come fall and winter. Check in with your farmers and continue to support them by shopping for what is available. If you’re looking for ways to directly help fams impacted by Tropical Storm Fred, you can donate to ASAP’s Appalachian Grown Farmer Relief Fund. This fund provides immediate needs grants to farmers impacted by natural disasters and other emergencies. Find out more at asapconnections.org/farmer-relief-fund.
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bread from Hominy Farm

Stale bread—it happens to the best of us. We buy loaf or two from our favorite farmers tailgate market bread vendors with visions of endless tomato sandwiches, but then life happens and the loaf goes stale before we’ve had a chance to finish it. Enter panzanella, a fantastic vehicle for reviving stale bread—that also happens to celebrate summer produce available at markets now. 

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ginger gold apples from Creasman Farms

This is the sweetest of times. The great mingling of late summer and early fall fruits is happening now at farmers tailgate markets! While many farms still have peaches, raspberries, blackberries, and even blueberries, we’re also starting to get the first pear and apple varieties. Figs have arrived and watermelons and cantaloupes are more widely available.   Read the rest of this entry »

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mixed bell peppers

Melding summer’s produce into a single simmered dish gives you a satisfying vegetarian meal and celebrates the height of the farmers tailgate market season. We’re thinking about recipes like French ratatouille, Spanish piperade, and Middle Eastern shakshuka. These similar dishes all start with tomatoes, sweet peppers, onions, and garlic, with additions of eggplant, summer squash, potatoes, or eggs. All of these recipes adapt easily to accommodate market purchases or what you have leftover in your fridge.

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watermelons at farmers market

We spotted the first of the season’s melons at farmers tailgate markets this week, heralding the arrival of summer’s midpoint. Of course, melons of all types are ideal for eating fresh, but you can also incorporate them into your salads, cook them on the grill, or get creative with the rind.
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herbs from Lunar Whale Herbs

It can be hard to see past the rainbow of tomatoes, peaches, corn, summer squash, peppers, eggplants, and other summer favorites weighing down tables at farmers tailgate markets right now. But farmers are also bringing some superstar herbs to markets that pair wonderfully with these vegetables and offer new flavors.

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The Metcalf family of Burley Stick Farm

ASAP likes to share the stories of people who help us fulfill our mission. This month we talk with farmers Morgan and Darrell Metcalf of Burley Stick Farm, which will be part of ASAP’s Farm Tour, Sept. 18–19. They’re pictured with their children on the farm.

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corn

Corn arrived at farmers tailgate markets especially early this year, thanks to an early planting gamble that paid off for Lee’s One Fortune Farm. You can get solid yellow or bicolor “peaches and cream” ears from the Lees now at ASAP, Black Mountain, West Asheville, River Arts District, and East Asheville markets. Expect other farms to have it ready in the next few weeks. 

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As eggplant joins the march of summer produce available at farmers tailgate markets, our thoughts are turning to Middle Eastern meze. You can easily fill several platters with a colorful combination of tomatoes, cucumbers, roasted squash and beets, babaganoush, hummus, tzatziki, eggs, olives, pickles, and pita for a feast. Or you could toss everything into a single pita for thoroughly satisfying sabich sandwich.
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