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February is often the height of cold and flu season. While the common cold is not usually cause for medical treatment, it can certainly knock you out for a few days (or longer), and that first throat scratch or sneeze might have you reaching for your standby home remedies—if not for a cure, at least for some comfort. Winter farmers markets can be a good place to stock up on your arsenal of cold-fighting and feel-good foods, from chicken broth to elderberry syrup.

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Farmers market eggs, photo by Lauren Gallagher

It’s common for chickens to slow down their laying in January and February, meaning that eggs can rise to a new level of scarcity at winter markets. If you’re looking to score a dozen (or more), it’s best to get to market early and head straight for one of the following vendors. 

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We’re finally in for some colder nights this coming week, so it’s a good time to stock up on stew ingredients to fortify you against the chill. Whether your preferred simmering method involves an Instant Pot, slow cooker, or good, old-fashioned Dutch oven, your first step is to gather everything you can at a winter farmers tailgate market. We’ve got a few ideas to get you started.

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purple cauliflower

This past December didn’t bring the same significant snowfall and freezing temperatures we’ve seen in recent years, and as a result we’re seeing some unexpected produce at winter farmers tailgate markets alongside winter stalwarts like sweet potatoes, apples, and collard greens. Read the rest of this entry »

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An all-local Thanksgiving dinner is a lofty goal, but probably impractical (and could add some additional stress to the holiday for sure). Some traditional ingredients, like green beans or corn, have passed their peak harvest season here in Western North Carolina, so if you didn’t freeze some back in September, you might be out of luck now. And you’ll be hard-pressed to find local cranberries or pecans. But there are ways to feature something local in each dish, if you’re up for the challenge!
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roast chicken

As we move into November thoughts turn to holiday feasting, and for many that means a turkey centerpiece. Local turkey is available from several local farms in the region, including Hickory Nut Gap Farm and Dillingham Family Farm, though you will need to order in advance—and act fast! These birds tend to sell out every year. Find a list of farms in the area with local turkeys, and information on how to order them here.

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We never fail to get excited about the fact that we can get locally grown rice in the Western North Carolina mountains. Lee’s One Fortune Farm has had its fall harvest available in limited quantities for the past couple of weeks at many farmers tailgate markets, including purple and brown rice varieties. The flavor of rice this fresh elevates even the simplest preparations, but Korean bibimbap is a dish that can really highlight all the best of your market haul.

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Quiche from Ma Bell France

With the bouts of sunshine and rain we’ve seen through the past week, farmers tailgate markets should be popping with produce and blooms this week. Mother’s Day is Sunday, so make that part of your Friday afternoon or Saturday morning shopping plan. Even if you’re a mid-week market-goer, our guess is that Mom would be happy to be showered in local food love any day of the week.

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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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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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