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okra, peppers, eggplant

This time of year marks a sweet spot where summer devolves into fall and we get to enjoy the best of both worlds. Fall officially kicks off next week, ushering in cool mornings, community campfires, and fall food staples like sweet potatoes, squashes, apples, cauliflower, onions, cabbage, and leafy greens. While we eagerly await these arrivals and jump at the chance to get some early fall harvests, we are also tending to preserving the last of the summer crops of which there are still plenty at market.

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sweet potato gnocchi

Feeling a bit in the doldrums these days? Could you use good a pick-me-up? It might be time to indulge in some comfort food—particularly some super colorful superfood comfort from a winter farmers market. We’re talking about making sweet potato gnocchi.

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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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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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apple heart valentine

If you’re the type to serve your sweetheart a locally sourced Valentine’s Day meal, take note that you’ll need to stop at a farmers tailgate market tomorrow or Wednesday to collect ingredients in time for Feb. 14. Pretty much any meal you shop for and prepare yourself hits the mark for a romantic gesture, but we’ve included a few suggestions to really get into the spirit.

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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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butternut squash

For a stress-free Thanksgiving, making a plan and doing as much prep work in advance is the way to go. That means you should start your farmers tailgate market list now, and even get some of the shopping out of the way, rather than wait for the mad rush on the final pre-holiday weekend. (Although if you do find you need to do some last-minute shopping, West Asheville Tailgate Market is open on Tuesday and River Arts District Farmers Market is open on Wednesday the week of Thanksgiving.)

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a handful of sweet potatoes

As farmers tailgate markets have grown in recent years, it gets easier to eat local through the winter and still enjoy some variety. Even so, we suspect there’s a moment for even the most ardent local eaters when you ask, “But what else can I do with sweet potatoes?” The classic winter storage crop is a standby at fall and winter markets (at Asheville City Market-Winter, look for them from Ten Mile Farm or Sleight Family Farm). They can be easily roasted, pureed, fried, and gratinéed for cold-weather meals, but we’re here to offer a few less conventional ideas to add to your repertoire.

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Many fruits and vegetables are widely celebrated in the fall including apples, pumpkins and other winter squash. At area farmers tailgate markets, there are so many varieties of vegetables worthy of homage, yet unfortunately ignored by the mainstream autumnal attention. Sweet potatoes, arugula, sweet potato greens, and wild mushrooms, are just a few.

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Area farmers tailgate markets have an abundance of appetizing foods to be thankful for, perfect for every component of your Thanksgiving meal. Whether it be a traditional or unconventional dish, local farmers and food artisans have such a wide array of produce, staples, and prepared goods, that you can let your creative culinary side shine. This Thanksgiving, get local! Read the rest of this entry »

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