At the height of the growing season in the midst of summer, it’s easy to stumble upon things you’ve never tried at area farmers tailgate markets; there’s always a farmer trying out an unusual variety of vegetable or an uncommon fruit. It may seem then, that in the depths of winter, there’s nothing new, but alas, there are still discoveries to be had and new foods to try!
Have you had sugar beets? Pick some up from Wildwood Herbal Farm at Asheville City Market. They may appear intimidating, but once you shear them of their outer layer and cook them, you won’t care what they look like! Sugar beets — as their name implies — are an incredibly sweet variety of beets. And though they still do have a faint flavor overlap with their darker brethren, sugar beets taste truly unique.
Discovered bone broth bagels yet? More pastry than bagel, these baked goods are made using grain-free flour making them gluten-free and paleo. Stop by Rebel Oven at Asheville City Market to try one for yourself.
Scarlet frills, a delicate variety of mustard greens, are more purple than green, and quite beautiful. They have a wonderful flavor that’s slightly sweet yet slightly spicy making them great for salads, stir-fried, or added as a garnish to a soup. Visit Jake’s Farm at Asheville City Market to find scarlet frills this winter.
Asheville City Market, Saturdays 9 am-noon, in the Masonic Temple downtown.
YMCA Winter Market, Saturdays 9 am–noon, in the parking lot of the Woodfin YMCA.
The YMCA is also hosting a South market, held Wednesdays 4:00 PM – 6:30 PM in the YMCA in the lobby of the Reuter Family YMCA in Biltmore Park.
This week, consider exploring a market outside of Asheville. Here are just a few nearby to choose from:
Black Mountain Winter Market, Saturdays 11 am–2 pm, inside of the heated pavilion at the intersection of Ridgeway and Sutton in downtown Black Mountain.
Columbus Winter Tailgate Market, Saturdays 9 am-noon, at 322 E. Mills St. in Columbus, NC.
Franklin Farmers Winter Tailgate Market, Saturdays 10 am-noon, on the 200 block of E. Palmer St. in Franklin, NC.
Winter farmers 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.