Fresh at Farmers Markets This Week + Contest (Deadline Extended)!

It’s officially okra time at area farmers tailgate markets! The Southern summer staple has come out swinging in gorgeous greens and reds; it will stick around through the end of the season and likely into early fall.

Red okra varieties taste the same as the green ones you might be used to, but they do add a wow factor to dishes. Unlike “magic” Royal Burgundy green beans, which turn from purple to green, red okra maintains its bold color when cooked. Pick up the bright pods from vendors like Earhart Market Gardens at Asheville City Market and Paper Crane Farm (Asheville City Market, West Asheville Tailgate Market), who have been offering a variety that’s both hues in one (above)!
The getting is also good when it comes to garlic. Jake’s Farm offered big basketfuls last week at Asheville City Market and the French Broad Food Co-op Wednesday Tailgate Market. Garlic will stick around tailgates even longer than okra, through winter, but it’s never too early to stock up. Stored properly (at room temperature in a dry, dark place), it can last for months.
Eggplants, summer squash, and tomatoes remain in abundance. In fact, it’s the time when many farmers have an overabundance of ‘maters. That means some are offering great rates  on large quantities for canning and saucing. Not sure if your farmer is? Just ask! It also means there are lots of varieties to choose from, so try something new! Many vendors, including Full Sun Farm (Montford Farmers Market, North Asheville Tailgate Market), offer samples on market day.
On Thursday, August 2, Oakley Farmers Market kicks off its children’s story time series with librarians from the Oakley Library. Story time starts at 5 pm.
On Saturday, August 4, Henderson County Tailgate Market will celebrate their 33rd anniversary with the Annual Tomato Festival, held between First and Second streets from 7 am until noon. Festival goers will have the chance to win prizes and enjoy free tomato sandwiches and music. Also on Saturday, chef Nate Allen from Knife and Fork will lead a summer grilling demonstration (with vegetarian options) at Asheville City Market. Saturday is also the first day of Asheville City Market’s annual SNAP bonus program. The first 50 EBT/SNAP customers will receive a $5 bonus market token. The program will continue each Saturday in August.
CONTEST: If you’re thinking that all the ingredients mentioned above go well together, you’re right! Tailgate markets have everything you need for a delicious local ratatouille, except the recipe.
That’s where you come in! Consider this post our ratatouille roundup! Comment below and share your best original ratatouille recipe or your favorite borrowed one (you must share the full recipe, though, so that other local food lovers can snag it for their farmers market finds!), and you could win $10 in Market Bucks for Asheville City Market! Share by MONDAY,  August 6. We’ll select one winner Tuesday, just in time to use at Asheville City Market South on Wednesday or the downtown market Saturday.

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