Fresh at Farmers Markets This Week

With flooding earlier this week, some farms in our region are experiencing additional loss and frustration in this already uncertain time. You likely already know that shopping at farmers markets is one of the best ways to support local farms. Preordering what you want can also add a level of stability for farmers right now. Many farms are offering a preorder option at markets (some require it). This can take a little more advance work on your part, but it’s worth it to know that you will get what you want—and that you are helping farmers plan as well. Here’s a guide to the process.

To get a rundown of which farms and vendors will be at market each week, follow the market on social media and subscribe to its e-newsletter, if it has one. Markets are operating with fewer vendors to comply with social distancing directives and some are alternating week to week to create more opportunities, so getting a regular update is useful. Some markets include a list of vendors offering preorders and the best way to connect with them, making the process even easier. If not, you can find contact information for farmers in ASAP’s online Local Food Guide. Check to see if the farm has posted an availability list and deadline for preorders on its website or social media, or contact the farmer directly to ask. Make your order and pay according to the farmer’s chosen method (usually an online store or service like PayPal or Venmo). Confirm where you will pick up your items—at the vendor’s tent or at another location within the market. Relax, knowing you will have fresh produce, meat, eggs, or whatever else you’ve preordered come market day.
New spring produce is coming in, including asparagus (you might find it from Root Bottom Farm at West Asheville Tailgate Market), spring onions and leeks (look for them from Full Sun Farm at River Arts District Farmers Market), pea tendrils (from Lee’s One Fortune Farm at ASAP Farmers Market Saturday and Thursday, River Arts District Farmers Market, and West Asheville Tailgate Market), and arugula (from Green Toe Ground Farm at ASAP Farmers Market Saturday). Strawberries are just around the corner. You’ll continue to find kale, collards, mustard greens, spinach, bok choy, turnips, radishes, lettuce, and herbs, as well as mushrooms, eggs, cheese, pork and beef products, bread, baked goods, and more. Plant starts will be widely available at all markets over the next several weeks. 
Updates on Buncombe County markets open this week (find updates on markets in other areas here):
Asheville City Market (downtown and south locations) and Riverside Tailgate Market (at Zillicoah Beer Company) are closed until further notice. North Asheville Tailgate Market will reopen at UNC Asheville on May 2.
ASAP Farmers Market: Saturdays and Thursdays, 9 a.m. to noon, at A-B Tech’s Asheville campus, in the parking lot at the end of Persistence Dr. Pay online after shopping. SNAP is accepted with Double SNAP in effect. 
River Arts District Farmers Market: Wednesdays, 3 to 6 p.m., at Plēb Urban Winery, 289 Lyman St. 
Weaverville Tailgate Market: Wednesdays, 2:30 to 6 p.m. at an alternate location in the lower parking lot behind West Funeral Home, 17 Merrimon Ave. Customers are asked to reserve the first hour, from 2:30 to 3:30, for elderly and at-risk shoppers. No cash transactions.
West Asheville Tailgate Market: Tuesdays, 3:30 to 6:30 p.m., at Grace Baptist Church, 718 Haywood Rd. Enter on Haywood Rd. by the church. No cash transactions; SNAP is accepted.
We will do our best to keep you posted on market schedules, but information can change quickly as markets adjust to new directives or recommendations from public health and local governments. It’s best to check directly with your market to confirm if it will be open or if it has changed shopping procedures. Contact details for farms and farmers markets across the region, as well as links to social media where the most up-to-date information is often posted, can be found in ASAP’s online Local Food Guide.

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