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Lyda & Sons Family Orchard peaches

Today marks the summer solstice, and farmers tailgate markets are reaching their summertime heights. You’ll find a panoply of produce, including tomatoes, summer squash, beans, spring onions, cucumbers, new potatoes, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, greens of all sorts, blueberries, raspberries, cherries, and much, much more.

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tomatoes

The first tomatoes have arrived at farmers tailgate markets! If you acted quickly this past week, you may have snagged an early variety from Thatchmore Farm (North Asheville Tailgate Market, West Asheville Tailgate Market), Full Sun Farm (River Arts District Farmers Market, North Asheville Tailgate Market), Olivette Farm, or Headwaters Market Garden (both at Asheville City Market).

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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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Apples from Creasman Farms at Asheville City Market

Fruit can be hard to come by in the winter if you’re shopping locally in Western North Carolina. Apples are a rosy-hued exception, and they continue to be available from storage through most of the season. Creasman Farms (Asheville City Market-Winter, Transylvania Farmers Market) usually has ten or so varieties, ranging from the crunchy-tart Arkansas Black to the sweeter, juicier Pink Lady. Read the rest of this entry »

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crowd at Asheville City Market-Winter

It pays to be an early bird at Asheville City Market-Winter, which often sees a line forming outside the doors of the Asheville Masonic Temple on Saturdays before the 9am opening. Some specialty or sought-after products are in short supply, and often sell out before market’s end.

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Valentine’s Day was definitely the theme of winter farmers markets last week—think handmade jewelry, crafts, and desserts galore, including giant chocolate hearts bearing the quintessential phrase Be Mine. Though the holiday and its special sweets will have come and gone before this week’s markets arrive, there will still be lots to swoon over!

Market favorites Rio Bertolini’s—who offer fresh pastas, sauces, and pizza dough—came back for good last week to Asheville City Market South’s winter tailgate (Wednesdays 2-6 pm). For their return, they brought several new flavors of raviolis, including pea and pancetta and parsnip and chestnut. Be on the lookout for exciting new fillings this week and every Wednesday. You can also find Rio Bertolini’s at the Winter Market at the Neighborhood Y at Woodfin (Saturdays 10 am-noon).

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