As tailgate markets open in spring, farmers bring with them storage crops from last year, greenhouse-grown goods, and wild edibles, along with freshly harvested, outdoor-grown produce.
Spring — especially early spring — isn’t the year’s most abundant time, but that’s no matter at area farmers tailgate markets — our industrious farmers have plenty of delicious produce on offer!
With the recent openings of Asheville City Market, Asheville City Market – South, North Asheville Tailgate Market, and West Asheville Tailgate Market, many farmers are back at markets and each one has wonderful produce available.
Looking for the first taste of spring? Blue Meadow Farms has asparagus, but be sure to arrive early to score one of the limited number of bunches. Find Blue Meadow Farms at Asheville City Market, Asheville City Market – South, and West Asheville Tailgate Market. Looking for the first taste of summer? Pick up greenhouse-grown cucumbers from McConnell Farms at Asheville City Market.
A number of root vegetables can be found at markets around the region. Blue Meadow Farms has Chioggia beets — a beautiful and delicious variety of beets with red and white swirls on the inside. Long Valley Eco-Biotic Farm has parsnips, and both Long Valley and Root Bottom Farm have sunchokes. (Find both farms at West Asheville Tailgate Market.) Sunchokes and parsnips each have incredibly unique flavors, and can be cooked much like other root vegetables, such as potatoes or carrots. Enjoy roasted, mashed, or sauteed, and enjoy exploring a new flavor.
Highgate Farm and Bear Necessities Farm had Japanese knotweed available at the opening of the West Asheville Tailgate Market. Japanese knotweed is a wild edible that can be a substitute in rhubarb recipes.
As the spring weeks progress more vegetables and fruits will become available. Check back in each week for updates. And you can always find greens, eggs, cheeses, meats, breads, baked goods, crafts, and more at markets across the region.
Area farmers tailgate markets take place throughout the region. Check out the full list of spring market opening dates across the region. As always, you can find information about farms, tailgate markets, and farm stands, including locations and hours, by visiting ASAP’s online Local Food Guide.
(Prepared by Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project.)