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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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chard from Highgate Farm

We’ll have three weekly farmers tailgate market options in Buncombe County this winter! In addition to the winter market versions of ASAP Farmers Market and River Arts District Farmers Market, Weaverville Tailgate Market will now offer a year-round shopping opportunity with an indoor market on Wednesdays at Weaverville Community Center. 

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broccoli

Many farms in the region experienced their first frost this week, which signals the end of tomatoes, peppers, and other summer veggies for the season. We may see the final harvest of these crops at farmers tailgate markets for another week or so, but it’s time to fully embrace fall. Right now we’re seeing lots of head lettuce coming back to market as well as cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, and cabbage.

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delicata squash

Farmers, even in the best of times, experience setbacks. Many farms in our region are grappling with enormous loss due to Tropical Storm Fred. Meanwhile, a series of late frosts in April significantly damaged apples and other fruit this year. The effects of these events might not be felt at farmers markets immediately, but you’ll see fewer of your favorite crops come fall and winter. Check in with your farmers and continue to support them by shopping for what is available. If you’re looking for ways to directly help fams impacted by Tropical Storm Fred, you can donate to ASAP’s Appalachian Grown Farmer Relief Fund. This fund provides immediate needs grants to farmers impacted by natural disasters and other emergencies. Find out more at asapconnections.org/farmer-relief-fund.
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chestnut mushrooms from Black Trumpet Farm, photo by Camilla Calnan

Springtime brings on foraging dreams for many of us—returning to your favorite ramp patch or happening upon an elusive morel deep in the woods. But if you’re not able to wander off the path in search of these delights, farmers tailgate markets can also be great places to gather wild foods, in addition to cultivated spring crops.

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broccoli

It’s opening week for many of the farmers tailgate markets in Asheville and Buncombe County! Find North Asheville Tailgate Market Saturday morning back at UNC Asheville; West Asheville Tailgate Market returns to Haywood Rd. on Tuesday; Weaverville Tailgate Market kicks off its new location at Gotta Have It Antiques on Wednesday; and East Asheville Tailgate Market reopens on Tunnel Rd. on Friday. ASAP Farmers Market and River Arts District Farmers Market continue their seasons on Saturday and Wednesday, respectively. 

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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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If ever there was a year to channel all of your romantic energy into cooking a fancy meal at home, this is it. Get what you need on Saturday at ASAP Farmers Market or, if you want to celebrate on a different day or make a series of Valentine’s week meals, shop at River Arts District Farmers Market on Wednesday. Of course, the ideal menu is totally subjective, so adapt as you want, but here’s our take on a classic Valentine’s Day market dinner. 

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Radishes are widely available at winter farmers markets, but can often be overlooked as a raw salad component, taco condiment, or pop of color on a crudité spread. Those uses are all great, of course, but these cruciferous veggies are also fantastic cooked. Here are some ideas to take advantage of a variety of radishes available at markets now.

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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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