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Excerpted from an article in the Asheville Citizen-Times – ASAP

“The height of summer at farmers’ markets can be dizzying for a shopper.  So may colors, shapes, sizes, varieties, choices!

The list literally ranges from A to Z – apples, beans, beets, cabbage, carrots, celery, collards, corn, cucumbers, eggplant, fennel, flowers, garlic, kale,  kohlrabi, okra, onions, peas, peppers, potatoes, summer squash, tomatoes, tomatillos and zucchini, zucchini, zucchini.

If you’re feeling overwhelmed by what and how much to buy, consider these tips from veteran tailgate shoppers – who have developed methods to navigate the abundance…

  • Walk around the entire market first to get an overview of what’s available.
  • Look up recipes you like before going to market and purchase veggies based on the ingredients needed.
  • Consider how much longer something is going to be available.  For example, if deciding between cabbage and cauliflower this week, choose cauliflower because there’s only a week or so more that it’s likely to be available.
  • Make a meal plan for the week prior to going to market, and write it down – and take it with you!  You can leave flexibility within the plan if you don’t know what is going to be at market.  For example:  pasta with two veggies – and figure out what veggies to use once you are at market.
  • If you’re looking to put up seasonal items at peak season, ask farmers if they have items in bulk volumes for canning, pickling or freezing.  This is also great when you are feeding a crowd.
  • Read the market report and check market and farm social media pages before arriving at the market, so that you can anticipate what will be there.  Each week, farmers have a wide array of fruits and vegetables in addition to produce – plus – you can also almost always find an array of meats, cheeses, eggs, breads, baked goods, fresh flowers and other treats!

Area farmers tailgate markets take place throughout the region.  You can find information about farms, tailgate markets and farm stands, including locations and hours, by visiting ASAP’s online Local Food Guide at appalachiangrown.org.

(Here are a few WNC tailgate markets to check out: 

  • TRANSYLVANIA FARMERS’ MARKET – downtown Brevard, behind Comporium building. 8am – noon Saturdays.  Treat yourself to a wide variety of locally-grown produce, fruit, jams,  honey, cheeses.  It seems that everyone in Brevard converges on the Farmers Market on Summer Saturday Mornings.
  • WNC FARMERS MARKET – Brevard Road (191) outside Asheville at the intersection of 191 and US 40.  Open daily.)  Hanging baskets, landscaping plants, herbs and bedding plants still available.  Fresh produce includes local squash, strawberries, tomatoes, onions, cucumbers, bell peppers, potatoes, watermelons, cantaloupes and more.  Retail shops also have honey, jams, pickles, cheese, wine, fudge, eggs, handcrafted gifts, glazed pots and other items.  Also sandwiches and home-churned ice cream at the deli, and everything you need for spring and summer gardening at Jesse Israel and Sons Garden Center – including seeds, plants, yard art, pots and more.  Learn more at wncfarmersmarket.org and on Facebook.



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