Fresh at Farmers Markets This Week

“And all at once, summer collapsed into fall,” wrote Oscar Wilde, and that feels especially true this year. This past week’s cooler temperatures have brought the threat of frost to some of the higher-elevation farms in our region. While farmers tailgate markets have been seeing the transition to autumn for the past several weeks, suddenly cooler-weather crops are taking center stage. Tomatoes, peppers, and eggplant are all still available, but in shorter supply. Here are a few things to start looking for instead.

Greens. Has your diet been missing those dark leafy greens? We’re excited to have an abundance of kale, mustards, collards, and Swiss chard back on our plate. Head lettuces have returned in a big way, too, including red leaf, romaine, and butter. Also be on the lookout for a few herbs that disappear in the heat of the summer, such as cilantro. 
Muscadine grapes. Lee’s One Fortune Farm has these autumnal treats available in red and green varieties. The green ones are a bit sweeter, while the red ones are more tart, particularly the skins. Find Lee’s One Fortune at ASAP Farmers Market, Black Mountain Farmers Market, West Asheville Tailgate Market, River Arts District Farmers Market, and East Asheville Tailgate Market
Winter squash. There’s a perfect winter squash for just about any meal. Tender-skinned delicata and honeynut can be eaten without peeling. Red kabocha types are incredibly sweet and complex, with a fluffy texture great for stews and curries. Butternut is a versatile, go-to variety that works in just about any recipe, including “pumpkin” pies. Jester, dumpling, and acorn are fantastic for stuffing. Spaghetti makes a satisfying substitute for its namesake, blending well with sauces or seasonings. 
Apples. There are so many varieties of apples in Western North Carolina, you can make a project of trying to taste them all. Apples will be available through the winter, though the flavors and types will changes throughout the season. Ask your farmer which ones are at their peak now. You can find apples from Creasman Farms (ASAP Farmers Market, Black Mountain Tailgate Market, North Asheville Tailgate Market, River Arts District Farmers Market), Bright Branch Farm (East Asheville Tailgate Market), and McConnell Farms (North Asheville Tailgate Market, West Asheville Tailgate Market).
Storage onions. These red or yellow onions have been cured. If you have a cool, dark place to store them, you can stock up now and use then through the fall and winter. 
At markets now you’ll also find meat, eggs, bread, cheese, fermented products, baked goods, and beverages. Find more details about farms and markets throughout the region in ASAP’s online Local Food Guide.

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