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strawberries from McConnell Farms

Strawberries and rhubarb—we look forward to the classic pairing each spring. But this week we’re thinking beyond the pies and syrups to bring you some savory (or at least a bit less sweet) preparation ideas.

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rainbow chard

Are there colors you associate with different seasons at farmers tailgate markets? The vivid reds, yellows, and purples of summer tomatoes, crookneck squash, and eggplant? The deep golds and dark greens of fall pumpkins and kale? Shades of spring—pink, yellow-orange, and emerald green—are starting perk up market tents.

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Dry Ridge Farm eggs

Will you be dying eggs this weekend? More farmers tailgate markets vendors than ever are selling eggs right now, so this is a great chance to go local with your Easter, Passover, Earth Day, or other springtime celebrations. With many cartons containing a pretty mix of blue, brown, and white, you could go minimalist and skip the dye altogether. But if colored eggs are non-negotiable, we have a few food-based suggestions to avoid artificial food coloring. These dyes will work on both brown or white eggs, though the resulting color will vary.

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McConnell Farms asparagus

Do you follow your favorite farmers on social media? Besides being a great way to get a tantalizing sneak peek into what they’ll bring to market each week, many farmers have taken to advertising special sales in the week before market, which can guide you as you plan your shopping route.

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Oyster mushrooms from Asheville Fungi

With the opening of outdoor farmers tailgate markets comes the return of some of your favorite farmers and producers who may have taken a break over the winter season. If you’ve been missing your mushroom fix, Asheville Fungi will be back at Asheville City Market and West Asheville Tailgate Market this week.

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plant starts at spring markets

Midweek markets return this week as Asheville City Market-South and Weaverville Tailgate Market open for the season on Wednesday, April 4. Both have new locations: Weaverville Tailgate Market is now at Reems Creek Nursery (76 Monticello Rd., Weaverville) from 2:30-6 p.m. Asheville City Market-South, from 12 to 4 p.m., stays within Biltmore Park Town Square, but shifts up the promenade to the grassy area in front of the Reuter Family Branch YMCA, between REI and Mosaic Cafe.

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Tulips from Carolina Flowers on their way to Asheville City Market

With spring’s official arrival yesterday, outdoor farmers tailgate markets can’t be far off! Most area markets start their season during the months of April and May.

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red sorrel

More harbingers of spring showed up at markets around the region this past weekend. One such pioneer is sorrel, which Jake’s Farm at Asheville City Market-Winter has had for the past two weeks. Read the rest of this entry »

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spring CSA box

These can be weeks of whiplash as the temperature swings from tantalizingly warm to hard freeze. Is it time to look for seed starts, or hunker down with a hearty stew and fridge full of provisions in case of a snow day?

The slower shoulder season is a good time to ask your favorite farmers tailgate market vendors about what they might have in coming weeks. As storage crops like potatoes, sweet potatoes, carrots, and winter squash begin to wane, you’re likely to see an uptick in greens, including salad green mixes, baby kale, microgreens, and pea shoots. Read the rest of this entry »

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a handful of sweet potatoes

As farmers tailgate markets have grown in recent years, it gets easier to eat local through the winter and still enjoy some variety. Even so, we suspect there’s a moment for even the most ardent local eaters when you ask, “But what else can I do with sweet potatoes?” The classic winter storage crop is a standby at fall and winter markets (at Asheville City Market-Winter, look for them from Ten Mile Farm or Sleight Family Farm). They can be easily roasted, pureed, fried, and gratinéed for cold-weather meals, but we’re here to offer a few less conventional ideas to add to your repertoire.

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