This is the sweetest of times. The great mingling of late summer and early fall fruits is happening now at farmers tailgate markets! While many farms still have peaches, raspberries, blackberries, and even blueberries, we’re also starting to get the first pear and apple varieties. Figs have arrived and watermelons and cantaloupes are more widely available.
Does having to wait make the last few fruits of summer taste all the sweeter? Find late season delights, including watermelon, cantaloupe, and figs, at farmers tailgate markets across Buncombe County.
These are giddy days at farmers tailgate markets. New summer produce is popping up everywhere, and there is a joyful sense of abundance. (Or an overwhelming experience, if you’re trying to decide what to buy first!)
This past week saw the first pints of early-season blueberries, including from Gibson Berry Farm and Flying Cloud Farm (River Arts District Farmers Market, North Asheville Tailgate Market) and Ivy Creek Family Farm (Weaverville Tailgate Market, North Asheville Tailgate Market). Cherries, too, made their first appearance, from Lyda and Sons Orchard (Weaverville Tailgate Market) and Full Sun Farm (River Arts District Farmers Market, North Asheville Tailgate Market). Pies are certainly the iconic way to enjoy these summertime berries, but they can also pair extremely well with the vegetables sitting alongside them.
As farmers tailgate markets have grown in recent years, it gets easier to eat local through the winter and still enjoy some variety. Even so, we suspect there’s a moment for even the most ardent local eaters when you ask, “But what else can I do with sweet potatoes?” The classic winter storage crop is a standby at fall and winter markets (at Asheville City Market-Winter, look for them from Ten Mile Farm or Sleight Family Farm). They can be easily roasted, pureed, fried, and gratinéed for cold-weather meals, but we’re here to offer a few less conventional ideas to add to your repertoire.