There isn’t a better time of year to be turning a colorful array of fruit into flavor-bursting pies, cobblers, and galettes.
Hand pies or turnovers are great for sharing on summer days, as they are individually portioned and easily portable, ready to grab and go, whether that’s to the backyard or out on the trail. You can mix and match whatever fruits you want, but Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project (ASAP) is partial to berries. Make an easy compote by simmering a pound of berries or fruit with about one-half cup of sugar, more or less. Give it a squeeze of lemon or lime, add herbs, or just stick with berry simplicity. You can use a standard butter-and-flour pie dough, but a pastry dough with buttermilk, yogurt, or sour cream can be a bit more forgiving as you roll it out and form mini pies (just remember to chill well first to keep the butter from melting too quickly). Cut vents in the top layer of your pies to let steam escape as they bake.
Look for raspberries, strawberries, and maybe even blackberries and black raspberries from Bear Necessities Farm (ASAP Farmers Market, West Asheville Tailgate Market). You’ll find blueberries from Thatchmore Farm and Ivy Creek Family Farm (both at North Asheville Tailgate Market; Thatchmore also at West Asheville Tailgate Market and Ivy Creek also at Weaverville Tailgate Market). Peaches are available from Creasman Farms (ASAP Farmers Market, River Arts District Farmers Market), Lyda and Sons (Weaverville Tailgate Market), and McConnell Farm (ASAP Farmers Market, West Asheville Tailgate Market)
Looking for something that takes a little less effort than hand pies, with all that cutting and folding? A galette is what you want. These free-form pastries are meant to be rustic (in other words, messy). Just roll out your dough on a flat surface to an approximate 12-inch circle (no need to trim the edges). As with hand pies, you can fill your galette with any fruit you want, but plums are particularly attractive, and recently arrived at markets from Creasman Farms and Lyda and Sons. Thinly slice a pound of fruit and toss with one-fourth cup raw sugar and a tablespoon of flour or starch (tapioca starch remains clear as it thickens fruit juices, but cornstarch will also work). Add spices or herbs as desired (thyme goes well with plums) and spread the mixture in a mound at the center of your pastry dough, leaving a two-inch border. Fold the dough up and over the fruit, overlapping as you go. The center of the galette will remain open. Brush dough with an egg wash, sprinkle with additional raw sugar, and bake.
Want to skip turning on the oven altogether? You can get fantastic ready-made local fruit pastries at markets from vendors like Sweetheart Bakery (ASAP Farmers Market, North Asheville Tailgate Market), Dogwood Cottage Baking (Weaverville Tailgate Market), OWL Bakery (North Asheville Tailgate Market), and others.
Note that two markets are changing locations beginning this week. ASAP Farmers Market on Saturday is making a slight shift on the A-B Tech campus, to the parking lot adjacent to the A-B Tech/Mission Health Conference Center at 16 Fernihurst Dr. Enter the market via Fernihurst Dr. off Victoria Rd., following campus signs to the conference center. On Wednesday, Weaverville Tailgate Market will return to its regular location at Reems Creek Nursery, 76 Monticello Rd.
At farmers markets right now you’ll also find plenty of summer produce like squash, tomatoes, broccoli, beans, head lettuce, mixed salad greens, swiss chard, kale, and turnips, as well as meats, eggs, bread, cheese, and much more.
For a full list of markets open throughout the region, visit asapconnections.org. Find contact information and more details about the region’s farms and farmers markets in ASAP’s online Local Food Guide.
Prepared by Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project.