Thanksgiving is here at area farmers tailgate markets! Stop by holiday markets this week for your last minute local ingredients.
Cornbread is a staple on dinner plates all year in the South, and the biggest meal of the year for many families is no exception. Bake your own using fresh ground cornmeal from Farm & Sparrow Bakery (North Asheville Tailgate Market, Asheville City Market, River Arts District Farmers Market) or East Fork Farm (North Asheville Tailgate Market, West Asheville Tailgate Market). Or make a cornbread stuffing for your holiday bird, or as a side dish with other local ingredients like carrots, which can be found at a number of produce vendors, or sausage from Hickory Nut Gap Farm (Asheville City Market, North Asheville Tailgate Market, West Asheville Tailgate Market).
Many varieties of winter squash has been prevalent at tailgate markets for some time, and any local-lover will want to include the tasty staple in their feast. Step outside your squash comfort zone and pick from one of the many varieties available from enterprising local farms. Several farms tout the super sweet sensations provided by buttercup squash, as opposed to the more popular butternut. Buttercups’ dense yellow-orange flesh is great for stuffing, being ground into soups, or, as Flying Cloud Farm (Asheville City Market, North Asheville Tailgate Market, River Arts District Farmers Market) recommends, thinly slicing and roasting for a sweet, sultry pie-like treat!
Another great stuffing squash is the fresh and nutty delicata variety, found at Mountain Harvest Organics (North Asheville Tailgate Market). Try stuffing this ovular squash with anything from cheese to sausage and kale for a different spin on a holiday side dish. The more popular acorn squash makes a great sweet stuffing squash too. Find this classic winter fruit at many farms, including Full Sun Farm (River Arts District Farmers Market, North Asheville Tailgate Market)
There can’t be a discussion of Thanksgiving in the Southern Appalachians without mentioning sweet potatoes, but they don’t always have to contribute to your holiday buffet’s bland color palate. Gaining Ground Farm (Asheville City Market, North Asheville Tailgate Market, River Arts District Farmers Market) has purple sweet potatoes, more starchy and less sweet than their orange cousins, but with a beautiful lavender flesh.
You still have time to go to a number of area markets Tuesday and Wednesday before they close in Marion, Weaverville, Bakersville, West Asheville, Asheville’s River Arts District. Also, the French Broad Food Co-op Wednesday Tailgate Market is on its’ final week of the season.
Once Thanksgiving passes, don’t give up on your area markets. While everyone rushes to department stores and outlets for infamous post-feast shopping sprees, tailgate markets and holiday markets are going strong with the best locally-grown produce and locally-crafted goods. Stop by Asheville City Market, North Asheville Tailgate Market and markets in Jackson, Henderson, Madison, Marion, Transylvania or Yancey counties this Saturday to shop for the highest quality local products around, straight from the producers themselves.