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raspberries

Steamy weather and intermittent thunderstorms can make cooking meals a real drag. Times like these call for a few refrigerator staples that can perk up a simple salad or help power through an afternoon lull. Luckily, fruit and berry season is kicking into gear at farmers tailgate markets. Beyond fresh eating and desserts, these are great for making zippy vinaigrettes and icy drinks.
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Summer squash from Full Sun Farm

June is here and farmers tailgate markets are picking up speed with warmer weather and new produce finds each week. Look for garlic scapes, basil, summer squash, and even the very first cherries of the year.

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pepper plants

Early-season plant starts, like snow peas, leafy greens, and cabbage are giving way to summer vegetables and herbs, including cucumbers, summer squash, tomatoes, and peppers. Farmers tailgate markets, in addition to offering plenty of ready-to-eat produce, are also a great resource for plant starts and gardening advice. Most of these frost-sensitive types should wait to go into the ground until temperatures won’t dip below freezing. (After Mother’s Day is the traditional guideline.) But you can choose and gather your starts now!
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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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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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winter squash and potatoes

Thanksgiving dinner is often a meal centered around abundance—many dishes, crowded tables, perhaps some long-distance travel, and (hopefully) plenty to be grateful for. This year, of course, will be different for lots of folks. Maybe a turkey and all the fixins is overkill for your small family. Maybe you’re only cooking for yourself while Zooming into a larger gathering elsewhere. Maybe you simply need to say no to any added stress, particularly the kind that makes a mess of your kitchen. 

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red and gold beets

If you’ve been hunkered down all week wondering if or when our country would erupt into violence, heading out to a farmers tailgate market might be the healthiest thing you can do for yourself. First of all, markets are outdoor environments and all that fresh air and sunlight can help clear your head. Second, even in the age of coronavirus and a divisive election, markets offer community and fellowship. Finally, and most obviously, shopping at market literally nourishes yourself and your family. 

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popcorn from Full Sun Farm

November and Daylight Savings Time are around the corner. This week marks the final days for a couple of farmers tailgate markets in Buncombe County, with a change in hours coming at others. After today’s market, you’ll have one more chance to visit East Asheville Tailgate Market on Oct. 30. Enka-Candler Tailgate Market’s last day is this Thursday, Oct. 29, though some vendors will return for a two-day weekend holiday market Nov. 14 and 15. Starting Nov. 3, West Asheville Tailgate Market will change its hours to 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. (instead of 6:30), but remain outdoors at Grace Baptist Church through December. Weaverville Tailgate Market is moving indoors at Reems Creek Nursery on Nov. 4 and changing its hours to 2 to 5 p.m. (instead of 2:30 to 6).

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fairy tale eggplant from Ten Mile Farm

Eggplant has joined the colorful parade of produce available at farmers tailgate markets. You’ll find many varieties of this summer stalwart from now until early fall. 

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Summer stalwarts, including new potatoes, beans, okra, and peppers, are all coming in at farmers tailgate markets now. Tomatoes and cucumbers are picking up speed and we’ll continue to see plenty of zucchini and summer squash. Plus, all the greens (dark leafies, head lettuce, and salad mixes) that have been around since spring are still going strong. You don’t have to do much to enjoy this bounty, but here are a few easy-going suggestions.

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