Farmers tailgate markets are hitting peak summer bounty. It’s hard to see beyond the myriad berries, tomatoes, eggplants, peppers, and squash.
But if you’re seeking something a little different, there are a few lesser-known treasures popping up on market tables.
Lee’s One Fortune Farm has introduced a new type of peach at market: the Tango, a hybrid of the squat donut peach. These peaches are uniformly golden yellow and taste distinctly like mangos. If you can resist eating them all on the way home from market (and there’s nothing wrong with that), these would add a nice tropical flavor to salsa. Their firmer texture would also work well on the grill or for adding some structure to a cobbler or pie. You can find Lee’s One Fortune Farm at ASAP Farmers Market, Black Mountain Tailgate Market, West Asheville Tailgate Market, River Arts District Farmers Market, and East Asheville Tailgate Market.
Creasman Farms (ASAP Farmers Market, River Arts District Farmers Market) has shiro plums, a yellow Japanese cultivar. These tiny fruits are juicy with honeyed flesh and sour skins. Beyond eating fresh (almost like candy), they’re great for making sweet-tart jams and preserves.
On the savory side, Ten Mile Farm (ASAP Farmers Market) has callaloo, a type of amaranth. These leafy greens are traditionally used in the eponymous Caribbean dish. While recipes for callaloo vary by region—and kitchen—they generally call for steaming or simmering greens with okra and hot pepper. Other ingredients may include coconut milk, pumpkin, crab, or saltfish.
Root Bottom Farm (West Asheville Tailgate Market) has black garlic. These heads of garlic have been preserved through a high-temperature fermentation process, which turns the bulbs black. The resulting flavor has notes of molasses and balsamic vinegar. The softened bulbs can be used in cooking, spread on bread or pizza, or to flavor vinaigrettes. Next level idea? Whip up some black garlic butter.
At markets right now you’ll also find the first of the sweet summer corn as well as beans, potatoes, carrots, beets, lettuce, and much more. In addition to produce, markets offer meats, eggs, bread, cheese, fermented products, baked goods, and beverages. Find more details about farms and markets throughout the region in ASAP’s online Local Food Guide at appalachiangrown.org.
Prepared by Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project.