Fresh at Farmers Markets This Week

Craving cool, crisp salads now that the mercury is rising? Area farmers tailgate markets are veritable salad bars these days. At Asheville City Market last weekend, produce vendors’ booths were lined with lettuce of all varieties. Oakley Farmers Market’s produce vendors report they’re bringing red leaf and romaine lettuces this week.

But you don’t have to start with lettuce as your base, and markets have got other greens like kale, pac choi (or bok choy), and even collards that can be enjoyed raw. Aardvark Farm (Asheville City Market, Yancey County Farmers Market) grows Senposai, which farmer Rett Murphy calls Japanese collards. The veggie’s large green leaves look almost identical to those of the Southern staple—although it’s technically a hybrid of cabbage—but Senposai’s texture is more like lettuce, and Rett shares it doesn’t have the bitterness of traditional collards (find them now, too). Enjoy raw in salads, braised, you name it.
Seen a sign for salad turnips at your neighborhood market? Smaller and sweeter than your average turnip, and with a thinner skin, they’re tender enough to enjoy raw as a salad topping or cooked. Kohlrabi can be enjoyed either way as well, but raw it adds a nice crunch to a spring salad. Find kohlrabi now from vendors like Ten Mile Farm (Asheville City Market, Montford Farmers Market). Also find toppings like radishes, spring onions, and even the first of the season’s broccoli, which has been spotted already at Black Mountain Tailgate and a few other markets.
Also keep your eyes out for green garlic and garlic scapes, the edible shoots of the garlic plant. Use however you regularly use garlic, perhaps even in a salad dressing.
Of course, strawberries still abound for enjoyment in salads, pies, or simply on their own. Montford Farmers Market hosts a berry celebration this Wednesday, May 29, featuring fruit from Ten Mile Farm, Gaining Ground Farm (also at Asheville City Market and North Asheville Tailgate Market), and Full Sun Farm (also at North Asheville Tailgate Market). And Asheville City Market (ACM) hosts a strawberry festival this Saturday, June 1. Find multiple vendors with fresh berries, pick up strawberry recipes, ask Master Gardeners questions about growing your own, and enjoy special strawberry products—from cheesecakes to salsa. The first 50 customers to purchase berries will get a free strawberry festival tote bag. It’s also the first day ACM is offering Growing Minds @ Market kids activities; click to learn more.
On Tuesday, June 4, West Asheville Tailgate Market will host its eighth market supper: A Mexican Market Supper, featuring ingredients sourced from market vendors and prepared on site. Tickets are $30. For more information and to reserve a spot, visit and search “West Asheville Tailgate Market.”

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