Apple season is at its peak in Western North Carolina, and farmers markets are overflowing with a wide variety of the fruit to choose from! Whether you’re looking for apple varieties on the sweeter side like Fuji, Gala, or Honeycrisps, or something a little more sour and tart, such as Granny Smith and Pink Lady, tailgate market vendors have it all! You can find apples from Creasman Farms (West, North, Asheville City, and Black Mountain markets), McConnell Farms (North Asheville Tailgate Market), Lee’s One Fortune Farm (River Arts District, West, East, Asheville City, and Black Mountain markets), and Tucker’s Garden (West Asheville Tailgate Market).
Apple pairs well with other seasonal fall favorites, especially pumpkin! This roasted pumpkin and apple soup is not only easy to make, but also naturally gluten-free and vegan! Start by cutting one small pumpkin in half lengthwise, scooping out the seeds, then cutting in half again to make quarters. Place your pumpkin quarters on a baking sheet cut side up, along with one chopped onion, and bake in a 400-degree oven for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, add two cloves of garlic, one cored and quartered granny smith apple, flip the pumpkin cut side down, and bake for another 20 minutes. Remove and discard the skin of the pumpkins, and transfer the baked ingredients into a blender or food processor. Add one-quarter teaspoon of cayenne pepper, and one-and-one-fourth cup of vegetable stock to the blender, and blend on high until smooth. Serve garnished with roasted pumpkin seeds and freshly chopped parsley, and enjoy! You can find pumpkins for this recipe from Flying Cloud Farm (River Arts District and North Asheville markets).
This apple and fennel salad is a light and tangy side to any meal. In a mason jar, add three tablespoons of freshly squeezed lemon juice, one-fourth cup of extra virgin olive oil, then salt and pepper to taste. Put the lid on and shake your jar until the dressing is emulsified. Thinly slice three Granny Smith apples, one fennel bulb, and three celery stalks, and add the sliced ingredients to a large bowl. Gently toss together the salad contents with the dressing, then serve with roasted walnuts and grated Parmesan cheese on top. You can find fennel for this recipe from Gaining Ground Farm (River Arts District and North Asheville markets), Olivette Farm (Asheville City Market) and more!
While frying your apples might not be the first thing that comes to mind when it comes to apple recipes, Southern fried apples are a fool-proof, versatile recipe that you’ll find yourself coming back to! To start, peel, core, and slice three Honeycrisp or Pink Lady apples. Melt six tablespoons of butter over medium-low heat in a large skillet. Add half a cup of sugar, a teaspoon of ground cinnamon to the skillet, a dash of nutmeg, and stir to combine. Add apple slices to the pan, and cook for 8 to 10 minutes, or until tender, then serve immediately. While Southern fried apples can be paired with a savory meal as a side, we prefer to enjoy them as a dessert or as a sweet breakfast addition! Try serving fried apples with vanilla ice cream, or adding on top of pancakes with some maple syrup.
At farmers markets now you’ll also find pears, okra, tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, winter squash, garlic, potatoes, beets, leafy greens, mushrooms, fresh herbs 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.