Labor Day is coming up, and one of the best ways to relax during the long weekend is to grab everything you need at the farmers market to make a few easy meals! Try throwing together a simple tomato salad to share with friends and family, or grilling out in the evenings with the plethora of meat (or vegetable) options offered by vendors at markets!
And don’t forgot that Southside Community Farmers Market will have its monthly farmers market this Sunday, Sept. 4, from noon to 3 p.m. at the Edgington Center. Stop by and support our community’s BIPOC farmers. Look for fresh produce, such as green beans, tomatoes, peppers, okra, sweet corn, and malabar spinach, plus cut flowers and herbs!
While we might be growing tired of tomatoes, they’ll still be around to enjoy for a few more months! This panzanella salad is the perfect recipe to keep using the beautiful (and delicious) heirloom tomato varieties offered this time of year, as well as other farmers market produce. This light and refreshing dish can be served for lunch or as a side to other Italian-inspired dishes. Start with half a loaf of bread, cut into one-inch cubes, then toss with two tablespoons of olive oil and a pinch of salt. Bake in a 400-degree oven for 9-12 minutes until toasted. A sturdy bread like sourdough works best for making your croutons. This is also a great way to utilize bread that is more on the stale side. In a small bowl, combine half a cup of extra virgin olive oil, one-fourth cup of red wine vinegar, two grated garlic gloves, and salt and pepper to taste to make your dressing. In a larger bowl, mix together two pounds of ripe tomatoes (cut into bite sized pieces), eight ounces of halved mozzarella pearls, half of a sliced red onion, and half a cup of coarsely chopped basil leaves. Add the cooled croutons and drizzle on dressing, then gently toss to combine.
You can find plenty of tomato varieties for this recipe from Gaining Ground Farm, Full Sun Farm (North Asheville and River Arts District markets), Highgate Farm (West Asheville, River Arts District and Black Mountain markets), Bear Necessities Farm (West and Asheville City markets), and many other vendors! To make your croutons, look for sourdough bread sold by Simple Bread (West and Asheville City markets) and or High Top Bread Company (East and North Asheville markets) or gluten-free options from Urban Peasants (River Arts District Farmers Market).
For your grilling needs this weekend, we thought it would be a good time to highlight all of the wonderful meat vendors at farmers markets! Look for chicken and beef products from Dillingham Family Farm (Weaverville Tailgate Market); pork and beef from Dry Ridge Farm (North, West, and Asheville City markets); and whole chickens from both The Wild Way Farm (West and North Asheville markets) and Good Wheel Farm (North Asheville Tailgate Market).
At farmers markets now you’ll also find apples, peaches, pears, figs, melons, okra, tomatoes, eggplant, summer and winter squash, cucumbers, garlic, potatoes, beets, leafy greens, mushrooms, and much more. Markets are stocked with a variety of meats, cheese, rice, pasta, bread, drinks, and prepared foods. Find more details about farms and markets throughout the region in ASAP’s online Local Food Guide at appalachiangrown.org.