Fresh at Farmers Markets This Week

This past week — really this whole spring and now summer — have been very wet.

For some crops this is wonderful, but for farmers generally, this is quite a challenge. Some plants can have root rot from overly wet soil, the weeds grow exponentially and can out-compete other crops, and area farmers markets can see fewer shoppers in inclement weather. Despite all this, many area farmers are still thriving, and they’d love to see you at markets across the region!

The first of the okra appeared this week! Sleight Family Farm (West Asheville Tailgate Market and Asheville City Market) and Ten Mile Farm (River Arts District Farmers Market and Asheville City Market) both had their first okra. Here come the fried okra, gumbo, and summer stews!

Okra can be a divisive food — folks either love it or hate it. The camp of dissenters’ argument is based on the “sliminess” of okra, but there are ways to minimize the slime. Frying okra mostly eliminates that attribute, and cooking with acids —  tomatoes, vinegar, lemons, etc — will break it down.

Cherry tomatoes have debuted in hues of yellow and red, and sungolds should be just around the corner, too! These are great as a snacking food, or to cut up and add to a roasted vegetable medley, or in salads — one farmers also suggests that they’re great to freeze in bulk.

Speaking of freezing in bulk, it’s a great time to think about preserving all of the bounty of summer that’s around us now. Freezing and pickling are both great ways to have the taste of summer available to you in the deepest part of winter. Check back next week for more on preserving.

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.

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