Strawberries and rhubarb go together like peanut butter and jelly, peas and carrots, salt and pepper…you get the idea! Luckily, both members of the dynamic duo are available at area farmers tailgate markets now—fresh from farmers and already baked into classic pies and crisps thanks to bakery vendors.
The veggie (even though it tastes sweet-tart like fruit, it’s a vegetable!) has been spotted from several vendors, including McConnell Farms (Asheville City Market, North Asheville Tailgate Market) and Jake’s Farm (Asheville City Market, French Broad Food Co-op Wednesday Tailgate Market). Like strawberries, rhubarb can be frozen for a taste of spring come fall or winter; just blanch it first.
Speaking of other seasons, now is a great time to look ahead to summer and pick up starts, especially tomato plants. We’re past the 95% sure last-frost date for Asheville, so home gardeners can start planting the summer favorite! Tucker’s Garden has been bringing their tomato plants to the French Broad Food Co-op Wednesday Tailgate Market, along with a wide variety of pepper starts, including Anchos, Habaneros, Jimmy Nardellos, and more. They’ve also begun offering up bouquets of flowers, which will eventually take over their tables as the season moves along.
In addition to rhubarb, starts, and strawberries, look for lettuces, turnips, spring onions, radishes, baby beets, and greens galore—from chard to kale to Asian greens like Pak Choi. Also find local cheeses, meats, eggs, breads, baked goods, and locally made home goods and jewelry. While you’re shopping, don’t forget about Mom! Tailgate markets are the perfect place to find a Mother’s Day gift. You could even surprise her with a CSA share; some farmers still have a few available.
Many markets open this week:
- On Wednesday, May 2
– Montford Farmers Market begins its second season (2-6 pm)
– Asheville City Market South opens outdoors with nearly 20 vendors (2-6 pm)
– Spruce Pine Farmers Market opens (2-5 pm)
- On Saturday, May 5
– Black Mountain Tailgate Market begins their regular season (9 am until noon)
– Big Ivy Tailgate Market opens (9 am until noon)
– Mills River Farmers Market opens (8 am-noon)
– Simply Homegrown: A Farmers Market (9 am-2 pm)
In celebration of Cinco de Mayo, Nate Allen—chef/owner of the restaurant Knife and Fork in Spruce Pine—will conduct a grilling demonstration and tasting at Asheville City Market on Saturday (8 am-1 pm).
To learn about more markets already open and opening, as well as market events, visit our online farmers market calendar and browse our online Local Food Guide (look for ‘What’s Fresh’).