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persimmons from Lee's One Fortune Farm

Are you a handmade gift-giver? Farmers tailgate markets are a great place to get inspiration and ingredients for these extra-special holiday gifts (or treats to keep for yourself—you definitely deserve it). Here are a few DIY ideas to get your started this season.

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The Holiday Bazaar

While some farmers tailgate markets have closed for the season, a growing number in Buncombe County offer special holiday markets or even run through the winter. These markets often have different hours or locations than their regular season counterparts, so check the list below to make sure you know when and where to find local food in December.
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plant starts at spring markets

Midweek markets return this week as Asheville City Market-South and Weaverville Tailgate Market open for the season on Wednesday, April 4. Both have new locations: Weaverville Tailgate Market is now at Reems Creek Nursery (76 Monticello Rd., Weaverville) from 2:30-6 p.m. Asheville City Market-South, from 12 to 4 p.m., stays within Biltmore Park Town Square, but shifts up the promenade to the grassy area in front of the Reuter Family Branch YMCA, between REI and Mosaic Cafe.

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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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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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Mother Ocean Fish at Asheville City Market

Seafood isn’t something particularly local to the mountains of Western North Carolina, but farmers markets can still be a chance to find good fish choices to enjoy alongside more locally grown fare. Asheville City Market-Winter offers a few possibilities.

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Apples from Creasman Farms at Asheville City Market

Fruit can be hard to come by in the winter if you’re shopping locally in Western North Carolina. Apples are a rosy-hued exception, and they continue to be available from storage through most of the season. Creasman Farms (Asheville City Market-Winter, Transylvania Farmers Market) usually has ten or so varieties, ranging from the crunchy-tart Arkansas Black to the sweeter, juicier Pink Lady. Read the rest of this entry »

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Carolina Flowers at Asheville City Market-Winter

Can you give your loved one a locally grown Valentine’s Day bouquet, even in midst of winter? Yes, you can!

Carolina Flowers returned to Asheville City Market-Winter a few weeks ago and has anemones, hyacinths, paperwhites, and amaryllis. The farm offers vases of flowers as well as bulbs, which means your gift will last longer than a traditional cut-flower bouquet. Enduring living-plant gifts can also be procured from Finally Farm, which has an assortment of potted succulents in many sizes. Read the rest of this entry »

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