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persimmons from Lee's One Fortune Farm

Are you a handmade gift-giver? Farmers tailgate markets are a great place to get inspiration and ingredients for these extra-special holiday gifts (or treats to keep for yourself—you definitely deserve it). Here are a few DIY ideas to get your started this season.

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butternut squash

For a stress-free Thanksgiving, making a plan and doing as much prep work in advance is the way to go. That means you should start your farmers tailgate market list now, and even get some of the shopping out of the way, rather than wait for the mad rush on the final pre-holiday weekend. (Although if you do find you need to do some last-minute shopping, West Asheville Tailgate Market is open on Tuesday and River Arts District Farmers Market is open on Wednesday the week of Thanksgiving.)

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apple taste test

It’s easy to get overwhelmed by the multitude of apple varieties on offer at farmers tailgate markets each autumn. Some are better for baking, some for snacking. Maybe you prefer a sweeter apple or something more tart. Maybe you know you’ve tasted the perfect apple before, but you can’t remember what it was called. How do you choose? Well, apart from asking the farmer’s advice (which is always a good first step), you might consider throwing together an apple taste test.  Read the rest of this entry »

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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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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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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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Wineberries from Highgate Farm

Tomatoes, eggplants, cucumbers, summer squash, peaches, plums, nectarines, blueberries, broccoli, cabbage—farmers market tables are overflowing with summer superstars. You’re likely to walk away with a full market bag no matter what you’re looking for, but there a few delicacies we’re seeking out right now.

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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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