Now that we’re in the thick of allergy season, it may feel like nothing will effectively relieve our symptoms! Local farmers tailgate markets offer some herbal and food-based remedies that may help in alleviating some of that annual, pollen-induced ailment.
While you may be a little wary to use a plant that commonly causes an itchy, painful rash, stinging nettles are actually a popular and effective natural allergy remedy! Heat neutralizes the stinging part of this plant, so it can be consumed for its strong anti-inflammatory properties that can act as a natural deterrent against common allergy symptoms. You can find nettle plant starts from Bear Necessities Farm at West Asheville and Asheville City markets.
Nettle tea is a classic way to reap the benefits of this plant. It can typically be found prepackaged in grocery stores, but it’s fairly easy to make at home by yourself! Start with a 1:2 ratio of fresh nettle leaves to water. Bring water to a boil, then add your nettle leaves, cover, and let simmer for a few minutes. Turn off heat and let it steep for a few more minutes, strain the water from the leaves, and enjoy your tea! Nettles can also be cooked and added to a homemade pesto sauce; sautéed with garlic, olive oil, and lemon for a tasty side dish; or added to egg scrambles or omelets in place of your usual greens.
Raw honey has long been used as a natural remedy for allergies and sickness. While the evidence is mixed on whether or not raw honey is effective in treating allergies, honey is still great for relieving a sore throat, suppressing a cough, and acting as a delicious, natural sweetener. Add a tablespoon of raw honey to your nettle tea for a soothing beverage that might just keep your allergies at bay. You can find local honey from Wilderkin Beekeeping (Asheville City and West Asheville markets) and Lick Log Branch Apiaries (River Arts District Farmers Market).
Probiotic rich foods may also be beneficial for the prevention of allergy symptoms. Fermented treats, especially kimchi and sauerkraut are rich in probiotics, and a delicious addition to any meal. Serotonin Ferments offers a variety of flavors of kimchi and krauts at North, West, River Arts District, Black Mountain, and Asheville City markets. Kombucha is another great source of probiotics, you can find locally brewed kombucha in a variety of different flavors each week from Terra Farmstead at the River Arts District Farmers Market.
At farmers markets now you’ll also find strawberries, carrots, turnips, beets, radishes, mushrooms, and greens like lettuce, kale, spinach, broccoli rabe, and bok choy. Markets are also stocked with a variety of plant starts, meats, cheese, rice, pasta, bread, pastries, drinks, and prepared foods. Find more details about farms and markets throughout the region in ASAP’s online Local Food Guide.