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watermelon radishes from Ten Mile Farm

The weather continues to defy autumn’s arrival, but cooler-weather crops are arriving at farmers tailgate markets, including fresh root vegetables like radishes, beets, carrots, and turnips.

Watermelon radishes are a particularly fun find right now, spotted at both Ten Mile Farm (Asheville City Market, River Arts District Farmers Market) and Headwaters Market Garden (Asheville City Market). These heirloom varieties of the daikon are all business on the outside and party on the inside, with fuschia cores rimmed in white and lime green, reminiscent of their namesake. You can snack on them or use them as a dipper as you would other varieties of radish, but their bright centers beg for a pretty presentation. Here are a few suggestions.

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Peppers are really coming into their own at farmers tailgate markets right now. These bright nightshades can vary so much in flavor, heat, color, size, and texture. Asking the farmer about the varieties they’re growing is a great way to learn about new types and get tips on how you might prepare them. 

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figs

Your favorite peak summer produce—tomatoes, corn, peppers, melons, peaches, blackberries, beans, okra, eggplant—is still filling the tables at farmers tailgate markets. We have a month or two more to enjoy these items. But there are hints of seasonal change in the air.

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watermelon and cantaloupe from Ten Mile Farm

Watermelons and cantaloupe are starting to come in at farmers tailgate markets, which lend themselves particularly well to no-cook meals for muggy mountain evenings. There are plenty of nights we might just slice up a melon and call it dinner, but if you’re ready to take it up a notch, try these chilled soup ideas.

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assorted beans at farmers markets

Baskets of beans are starting to crowd farmers tailgate market tables. Common green beans, yellow wax beans, or deep purple burgundy beans are all great, versatile ingredients, whether you’re sautéeing a side dish, adding them to a salad, or preserving for later use. But here are a few specific varieties we’ve been excited to find in recent weeks.

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tomatoes

The first tomatoes have arrived at farmers tailgate markets! If you acted quickly this past week, you may have snagged an early variety from Thatchmore Farm (North Asheville Tailgate Market, West Asheville Tailgate Market), Full Sun Farm (River Arts District Farmers Market, North Asheville Tailgate Market), Olivette Farm, or Headwaters Market Garden (both at Asheville City Market).

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kohlrabi

This week has felt like the apex of summer, though on the farm the season’s harvest is just moving into high gear. After one of the wettest years in recent memory, farmers are compensating for unseasonably warm temperatures and a lack of rain right now. But that hasn’t stopped new produce from making its way to farmers tailgate markets.

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Tulips from Carolina Flowers on their way to Asheville City Market

With spring’s official arrival yesterday, outdoor farmers tailgate markets can’t be far off! Most area markets start their season during the months of April and May.

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red sorrel

More harbingers of spring showed up at markets around the region this past weekend. One such pioneer is sorrel, which Jake’s Farm at Asheville City Market-Winter has had for the past two weeks. Read the rest of this entry »

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spring CSA box

These can be weeks of whiplash as the temperature swings from tantalizingly warm to hard freeze. Is it time to look for seed starts, or hunker down with a hearty stew and fridge full of provisions in case of a snow day?

The slower shoulder season is a good time to ask your favorite farmers tailgate market vendors about what they might have in coming weeks. As storage crops like potatoes, sweet potatoes, carrots, and winter squash begin to wane, you’re likely to see an uptick in greens, including salad green mixes, baby kale, microgreens, and pea shoots. Read the rest of this entry »

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