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eating snap peas at the farmers market

Though we’re certainly getting cold temperatures now, a warmer than usual December accounts for lots of produce variety at winter farmers markets now. In addition to storage veggies like squash and sweet potatoes, hardy greens like kale and mustard, and winter stalwarts like radishes and salad turnips, we’ve also spotted early snow peas and broccoli.

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kale sausage strata

Whatever holiday traditions you keep—opening gifts on Christmas morning or sleeping till noon on New Year’s Day—chances are you could use at least one great make-ahead breakfast dish in the next few weeks. You’ll need to do your local ingredient shopping this week, as farmers tailgate markets will take a hiatus between Dec. 22 and the first week in January. Two markets will continue through the winter. River Arts District Winter Farmers Market will return to Plēb Urban Winery Jan. 5 and ASAP Farmers Market will reopen at A-B Tech’s Asheville campus on Jan. 8.

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persimmons from Lee's One Fortune Farm

Persimmons are a lovely fall treat, great for making baked goods, fruit leather, pudding, jam, and other sweets. But you can also use this autumnal fruit in more savory dishes. The fuyu variety of persimmon, which tastes similar to an apricot or date with notes of cinnamon, is great in salads, in stews, or roasted. 

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Sure, the image is a little trite: Dad in his battleworn apron, presiding over the Weber. But since Sunday is both Father’s Day and the first day of summer, we’re going to lean into the stereotype and devote this column to grilling. Grillable veggies like summer squash, spring onions, and mushrooms are plentiful at farmers tailgate markets right now, in addition to a wide assortment of steaks, sausages, chops, and birds.

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As a new flock of hens starts to lay, their first eggs are smaller, with firmer whites and more deeply colored yolks, than regular eggs. Not to be dismissed, these pullet eggs boast a richer flavor and creamier texture. For the next few weeks, these will be the only eggs available from Dry Ridge Farm at the ASAP Farmers Market. It’s a great chance to try something truly unique to farmers markets, as grocery stores stick to uniform, regulation sizes.

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collards and kale

With regular snow dustings, we’re settling into soup season—a great time for farmers tailgate market meals. With just a few local ingredients, you can create something warm and nourishing to carry you through chilly afternoons. Add some crusty bread and a salad green mix to make a full family-sized meal.

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gingerbread

This week is your last opportunity to shop at farmers tailgate markets in 2020. You have plenty of chances. On Saturday, visit ASAP Farmers Market (9 a.m. to noon) or North Asheville Tailgate Market’s Holiday Bazaar (10 a.m. to 1 p.m.). On Tuesday, West Asheville Tailgate Market runs 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. And on Wednesday, you can shop at Weaverville Tailgate Market (2 to 5 p.m.). North, West, and Weaverville will then close for the season. ASAP Farmers Market will resume at A-B Tech on Jan. 9 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., and River Arts District Farmers Market will return to Pleb Urban Winery Jan. 6. 

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applesauce

We’re in the midst of Hanukkah now, and whether or not you celebrate the Festival of Lights, you might draw inspiration from some of its traditional dishes as you do your farmers tailgate market shopping this week. 

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pozole

Did you dry peppers earlier in the season? Or are you still finding fresh ones at farmers tailgate markets? Many farms will continue have them, probably until the first frost. Try making red or green pozole. This simple-but-satisfying Mexican soup showcases local peppers, as well as peak fall produce and local meats. 

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With Memorial Day weekend and a possible break in the rain, your grill may be calling to you. As Phase 2 of the state’s reopening approaches, it might even feel safe enough to grill up a few burgers and brats for someone other than yourself and immediate family members, especially if you’re dining outside. No matter how you decide to enjoy the holiday, farmers tailgate markets have what you need. (Remember that even as the city and state progress through planned phases of reopening, it’s important to continue precautions like wearing a mask and maintaining a six-foot distance from others when you shop at markets.) Read the rest of this entry »

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