Fresh at Farmers Markets This Week

This is the sweetest of times. The great mingling of late summer and early fall fruits is happening now at farmers tailgate markets! While many farms still have peaches, raspberries, blackberries, and even blueberries, we’re also starting to get the first pear and apple varieties. Figs have arrived and watermelons and cantaloupes are more widely available.  
Sweet and mild Ginger Golds are one first apples to ripen each season, and you get them now from Creasman Farms (ASAP, North Asheville, Black Mountain, and River Arts District markets) and Bright Branch Farm (East Asheville Tailgate Market). Bright Branch also has Galas and the popular Honeycrisp, while Creasman is picking Dayton, Wolf River, and Sansa varieties. (The crisp and juicy Sansa apple is a farmer favorite.) Apples at farmers markets are typically low-spray, but if you’re looking for no-spray, you’ll find them from Tucker’s Garden at North and West Asheville markets.
Lee’s One Fortune Farm had an early run of Asian pears last week, though it may be another week or two before we see them again, as late April frosts interrupted fruit growth. In the meantime, the Lees have figs, as does Jake’s Farm. Find Lee’s One Fortune Farm at ASAP, Black Mountain, West Asheville, River Arts District, and East Asheville markets. Jake’s Farm is at ASAP and Enka-Candler markets.
Can you detect a difference in flavor between red and yellow watermelons? Some find yellow varieties to be sweeter with hints of honey and apricot. Sleight Family Farm has both red and yellow types, as well as cantaloupes, at North Asheville Tailgate Market. Get one of each and compare for yourself. Also look for melons from Flying Cloud Farm (North Asheville and River Arts District markets), Ten Mile Farm (ASAP and Black Mountain markets), and Gibson Berry Farm (North Asheville Tailgate Market). 
Bear Necessities Farm (ASAP and West Asheville markets) is picking red and gold raspberries and may have strawberries again soon (they plant an everbearing variety that returns in late summer). Blackberries are still around—look for them from Bear Necessities and Bright Branch Farm. Blueberries are waning, but you might find a few from Creasman Farms, Gibson Berry Farm, or McConnell Farms (at North and West Asheville markets). Lee’s One Fortune Farm still has peaches and nectarines in both white and yellow varieties. 
At farmers markets now you’ll also find tomatoes, eggplant, summer squash, corn, okra, potatoes, green beans, salad greens, mushrooms, and much more. Markets are also stocked with farm-fresh eggs, bread, cheese, pastries, drinks, and prepared foods. There are more than 100 farmers tailgate markets throughout the Appalachian Grown region. Find them, as well as farms and other local food businesses, in ASAP’s online Local Food Guide.

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