Fresh at Farmers Markets This Week

Turn your at-home dinner into a gourmet feast without going to a restaurant by shopping at area farmer tailgate markets. Local farmers have unique varieties of vegetables that can provide infinite inspiration to make your meals magnificent.

Considering making homemade pizza using heirloom tomatoes and goat cheese? There are so many wonderful tomato varieties now, from deep red to green-speckled to orange to pink, and more. Heirloom tomatoes can be very juicy, so to keep your pizza from turning into a lake, cut the tomatoes into pieces and cook them in a saucepan first, strain every minute or so. Then, mix some of the juice with cornstarch or flour to thicken and return it to the saucepan. Adding goat cheese from Three Graces Dairy (North Asheville Tailgate Market and West Asheville Tailgate Market) or Spinning Spider Creamery (River Arts District Farmers Market, Asheville City Market, North Asheville Tailgate Market) will then take your pizza to the next level.
Agretti is an Italian green fairly unknown and uncommon in our Southern Appalachian cuisine. A Google search will tell you that it’s becoming more of a sought after vegetable for famous chefs from England to California. Wildwood Herbal (Asheville City Market and West Asheville Tailgate Market) is excited to be bringing it to market shoppers willing to try something new. It can be eaten raw in salads for a crunchy, salty addition. Or cooked, it’s great in any application you would use spinach — in a quiche, in pasta, sauteed with onions, etc. — but chefs and farmers recommend leaving it slightly undercooked to maintain its unique crunchy texture.
Exploring fresh summer beans is such a great way to add a plant-based protein to your gourmet meal. Fortex beans — lauded as a ‘gourmet’ French variety — are great in any application and prized as one of the most delicious beans. They’re also stringless. Find these from Lee’s One Fortune Farm (Asheville City Market and West Asheville Tailgate Market). Purple-podded pole beans are a gorgeously deep dark purple, but when cooked they turn green, making them most impressive when used in salads or cold pasta dishes. Find these from a number of farmers now, including Highgate Farm (Weaverville Tailgate Market and West Asheville Tailgate Market).
For dessert, branch out from the standard yellow peaches to try nectarines, white peaches, and donut peaches instead. Simplicity can produce gourmet dishes: make homemade whipped cream using local honey instead of sugar and serve with slightly warmed slices of stone fruit. Try honey from Wehrloom Honey and Jewel Hill Farms (both Asheville City Market). And visit McConnell Farms (North Asheville Tailgate Market, Asheville City Market, and West Asheville Tailgate Market) for donut peaches and nectarines. Check out both McConnell Farms and Creasman Farms (River Arts District Farmers Market and Asheville City Market) for white peaches.
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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