Summer is making a swift exit. Crisp autumn mornings mean tomato season is on the way out, and though there are still some beautiful peppers to be found, late September marks a shift in the growing season.
One of the best ways to see this transition is at farmers markets. Summer squash and zucchini have been replaced with kale and apples, and root vegetables aren’t far behind. Farm-fresh garlic is finally here and so are large, sweet onions. Fall is a great time to stock up on kitchen staples like garlic and onions, which can keep for months when stored properly in a cool, dark spot.
Urban markets, like the Asheville City Market and the North Asheville Tailgate Market are great places to find autumn produce, and so are rural markets. Driving through the mountains to a rural market can be a great way to appreciate the Southern Appalachian landscape, and to support farmers in neighboring counties. Combine a trip to the Madison County farmers market with lunch in nearby Marshall, just north of Asheville. Or head out to the foothills for a stop at the Morganton or Marion markets on Saturdays.
Don’t forget the weekday markets closer to home. Pick up a winter squash or some greens and maybe some pastured meat on the way home for an easy weeknight meal. Bring the joys of autumn into your kitchen as the days get shorter and fall vegetables take the spotlight.
Keep up with what’s fresh every week with ASAP’s tailgate report. Find the times and locations of markets throughout the Southern Appalachians at www.fromhere.org