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As eggplant joins the march of summer produce available at farmers tailgate markets, our thoughts are turning to Middle Eastern meze. You can easily fill several platters with a colorful combination of tomatoes, cucumbers, roasted squash and beets, babaganoush, hummus, tzatziki, eggs, olives, pickles, and pita for a feast. Or you could toss everything into a single pita for thoroughly satisfying sabich sandwich.
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new potatoes and summer squash

Freshly dug new potatoes in red, yellow, and purple are here! You really don’t need to do much to enjoy these. They are delicious on their own, salt-boiled or roasted with olive oil. But new potatoes also work well in simple salads that celebrate some of the best summer produce at markets now, including green beans, cucumbers, tomatoes, and more. Look for new potatoes from Full Sun Farm and Gaining Ground Farm at North Asheville and River Arts District markets; Sleight Family Farm at West and North Asheville markets; Root Bottom Farm at West Asheville Tailgate Market; Smallholding Farm at Weaverville and East Asheville markets; and Ten Mile Farm at ASAP Farmers Market.

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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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radicchio

Maybe you’re still happily eating leftover pumpkin pie for every meal (no judgement). But chances are you need to restock your fridge to make a few lighter, healthier meals this week—say, salad. Fall greens are abundant at farmers markets right now, so there’s no need for these meals to be boring!

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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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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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This Thanksgiving recipe comes from Events Coordinator Amy DeCamp.

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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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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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We’re nearly in the home stretch of summer. Just one more month and autumn will be upon us. In the meantime, while many of us bemoan the persistent heat, let’s not overlook the last of the magical abundance of the season, as we also welcome the very first signs of fall. Read the rest of this entry »

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