Though there’s plenty of “back-to-school” talk, summer is still in session. There are two weeks left until most kids in the area go back, and that leaves enough time to pack in last-minute swimming excursions and grilling. At area farmers tailgate markets, local farms have all the goods to have a great cookout!
Pick your protein: farmers have locally raised meats including beef, pork, chicken, turkey, rabbit, lamb, and trout. Of course, the meat is the main event for a cookout, but let that not distract you from the classic summer side dishes that turn the meat into a full meal.
Potato salad. Farmers have multiple varieties of potatoes to choose from: Full Sun Farm (North Asheville Tailgate Market and River Arts District Farmers Market) has a red-skinned variety of fingerlings called Papa Cacho. Most other produce farmers will have one or two varieties of potatoes as well. The variety will change the flavor of your potato salad, so ask your farmer which variety they prefer, or buy a few and taste test to pick your own favorite! As for the other ingredients: Celery is available from a few farms, including B&L Organic (North Asheville Tailgate Market and West Asheville Tailgate Market), who has wonderful, robust celery. Onions are abundant this time of year as well.
Sweet corn. Find corn from McConnell Farms (Asheville City Market, North Asheville Tailgate Market, and West Asheville Tailgate Market) and Root Bottom Farm (West Asheville Tailgate Market). Perfect for grilling whole on the cob or cutting kernels from the cob once cooked to make corn salad. You can infuse butter with herbs and spices by heating them together in a skillet to add extra flavor to your corn on the cob!
Cole slaw. Sure, there’s classic vinegar slaw (or mayo, if that’s your preference), but there are so many variations of slaw that are exciting to try. For a Middle Eastern version, make tahini your dressing base. For a Latin American approach, try cilantro and jalapeno (both available from farmers at markets). You can also substitute or bolster cabbage with other veggies: bell pepper, carrots, and fennel are just some possibilities.
If you’re seeking a less conventional side dish, look no further than celeriac. This veggie is a variety of celery cultivated for its root instead of its stalks. Celeriac is a super flavorful vegetable and is great simply sauteed or grilled with nothing but a little oil, salt, and garlic powder. Find celeriac from Gaining Ground Farm (North Asheville Tailgate Market and River Arts District Farmers Market). Be sure to first cut off the exterior of the vegetable, then slice or cube.
And, although last, dessert is not least. This time of year provides multiple melon varieties to be the perfect finish to your cookout. Ten Mile Farm (Asheville City Market and River Arts District Farmers Market) has yellow watermelons, and Paper Crane Farm (Asheville City Market and West Asheville Tailgate Market) and Full Sun Farm both have red watermelons. Flying Cloud Farm (North Asheville Tailgate Market and River Arts District Farmers Market) has a variety called Jewel melons that are like a cross between cantaloupe and honeydew.
Each week, farmers have a wide array of fruits and vegetables. In addition to produce, you can always find a range of meats, cheeses, eggs, breads, baked goods, value-added items, 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.