Spring is the “lightest” of the seasons — the leaves on the trees are a brighter green than during the summer, the days have the most hours of sun of the year, and area farmers tailgate markets are brimming with light and tender salad greens and bright red strawberries.
Eating light meals in the spring, such as bread and cheese with salad, is a great way to take advantage of the abundance of greens available. Add items such as radishes, green onions, and maybe even cured meats to make a well-rounded salad. There are even greenhouse tomatoes and cucumbers from farms such as Thatchmore Farm (West Asheville Tailgate Market, North Asheville Tailgate Market).
Cheeses at markets around Asheville are varied and plentiful. Spinning Spider Creamery (River Arts District Farmers Market, North Asheville Tailgate Market, Asheville City Market) has a wide range of goat cheeses. Three Graces Dairy (West Asheville Tailgate Market, North Asheville Tailgate Market) offers sheep, cow, and goat cheeses. Looking Glass Creamery (Black Mountain Tailgate Market, Asheville City Market) and Blue Ridge Mountain Creamery (Asheville City Market) both showcase a selection of cow’s milk cheeses.
Even more strawberries are around at market than there were just a few weeks ago. Strawberries have a short season, so be sure to buy them for the next few weeks while they’re still around.
Markets aren’t just places to buy groceries — they’re also events each week to connect with farmers and fellow community members, times to be outside, and opportunities to hear lovely live music. One recent example was Drayton Aldridge and Craig Sandberg (of Drayton & The Dreamboats) at Asheville City Market. These fellas dress up like Mario and Luigi and play covers of pop songs on their bluegrass instruments. The marimba band Chikomo is always a crowd favorite, and they’ll be back at Asheville City Market on June 10 and July 8.
What else can you find at early spring tailgate markets? As far as produce, you’ll find a wide range of greens. Depending on the market and the farm, you’re likely to also spot asparagus, rhubarb, turnips, and radishes. You can always find a range of meats, cheeses, eggs, breads, baked goods, value-added items, plant starts, fresh flowers, and other treats!
Area farmers tailgate markets take place throughout the region. As always, you can find information about farms, tailgate markets, and farm stands, including locations and hours, by visiting ASAP’s online Local Food Guide.