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The nursery where I work sells transplants for white cucumbers, but they never sounded that appealing to me. Yesterday I got some these white cukes from Full Sun Farm at the tailgate market. Labeled pickling cucumbers, they are the perfect size and shape for pickles. I ate them raw, but they would make fantastic super-crunchy pickles.  Try them!

White Cucumber from Full Sun Farm

White Cucumber from Full Sun Farm

Gaining Ground Farm with a Flurry of Customers

Gaining Ground Farm with a Flurry of Customers

QUICK! There is still time to hit the markets today. Don’t miss out. You can NOT get this quality at the grocery store. No way. Ever. My daughter is home for the weekend, so a quick trip to the market was a must this morning. Basically I spent every bit of cash I had. We got flowers for a special friend who is recovering from surgery. And East Fork pork sausage for my daughter and her boyfriend.

East Fork Farm Pork Sausage

East Fork Farm Pork Sausage

Her comment: “Wow. this is so tender you don’t even need a knife to cut it. Yummm. This sausage  is REALLY good! ” 

Last week I got some amazing Pas de Trois cheese from Three Graces Dairy.  Since Julie Claire is home this weekend and an avid cheese hound, I splurged on a Gouda cheese from Three Graces this week (looking forward to tonight’s appetizers).

My friend and neighbor Tom brought us some flounder he caught at Cape Lookout. With Tom’s flounder, we are going to have these Full Sun Farm green beans and Mountain Harvest Organics ‘Red Gold’ potatoes and fresh salad mix.

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I love the beautiful crust on this cheese!

Cheese Pas de Trois cheese, Three Graces dairyThis is Pas de Trois cheese made from cow, goat, and sheep milk by the Three Graces Dairy along with some Crackers by Roots & Branches. Fabulous!

 

 

Gaining Ground Farm

Gaining Ground Farm

Spring and summer have been ultra busy with teaching a few classes, my niece’s wedding, my daughters graduation from Chapel Hill, a trip to Italy and France, the busy season at work, and my daughter starting her post-graduation job – thus my market visits this season have been sporadic or a quick dash before work.

Today was my first leisurely Saturday in quite a while. My Saturday plan? The tailgate market of course. So…rain happened…the kind of rain that my friend Stacia would call a “lady rain” – slow, steady, and penetrating.

No. The rain wasn’t going to stop me. I got my raincoat and my wide-brimmed hat (umbrella-like) and set off for the beckoning market. Despite the weather, the parking lot was surprisingly full of customer vehicles. LOVE the hard-core customer base of each tailgate market, because all the farmers/bakers/ venders were there rain or shine – waiting for us to show up.

I had the luxury of visiting with some of my vendor buddies this morning, ate an entire sticky bun (made with Carolina Ground flour), and gathered delicious goodies for the coming week.

Full Sun Farm’s lettuce mix has been addicting. Their mix dramatically contrasts the listless mixes from the grocery store; Vanessa’s mix isIMG_3936 vibrant and fresh for many days. It’s full of life. This is true of other lettuce mixes at the market too. Get the lively stuff! A customer in Gaining Ground’s booth was rhapsodizing about the red onions and how beautifully they cook up. Anne also had sure-to-be-tender baby eggplants. Gorgeous tomatoes splashed their reds across the market, including heirlooms and cherries. Even though I still have a couple of tomatoes from the West Asheville Market on Tuesday, I got a couple more to make sure that my lunch sandwiches have sunshine-y tomatoes as a main feature! Mountain Harvest Organics had ‘Red Gold’ potatoes which I wanted to plant those this year (but didn’t)…so I going to taste them courtesy of Julie & Carl’s farm.

Three Graces Dairy let me sample some of their hard cheese and “Pas de Trois” was my choice – a cheese made from cow, goat, and sheep milk. The amazing cheese shops we visited in Italy and France left a lasting impression – so many choices, so little time. I pray I never have to give up dairy products.

I ate my entire sticky bun while I was at the market. I confess that I intended to cut it into fourths and eat it in parts over the next day. Ha. Plus, from Cathy Osada, I have one slice of the-real-deal pound cake waiting in the wings.

What was most impressive about today was the number of customers who did show up. I heard one farmer say they would probably only make one-third of their normal income because of the weather, but all were in good spirits and the sky even looked a little brighter as I left. Once more, I must underscore how very blessed we are to have beautiful markets so accessible to us throughout most of the week. Giant gold stars to those who are out supporting the farmers and vendors on inclement weather days. If you stayed home and cozy this week, think about grabbing your umbrella next time to ensure these farmers will keep bringing their beautiful foods to our markets and making our dinner tables shine with something money can’t buy.

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Pas de Trois Cheese, baby eggplant, lettuce mix, paste tomato, pound cake, red onion bunch, tomato, lettuce mix, ‘Red Gold’ potatoes

YES. Another springtime market opening – the West Asheville Tailgate Market opens today, Tuesday, April 8. And remember that the French Broad Food Coop Wednesday Tailgate Market and the Asheville City Market South are also open this week (they are on Wednesday).

 

West Asheville Tailgate Market opens Tuesday, April 8

WHEN? Tuesdays,  2:30-5:30

WHERE? 718 Haywood Rd. in West Asheville, in the Grace Baptist Church parking lot, one block east of Brevard Road

This market accepts EBT, Debit & Credit Cards.

Check them out on Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/pages/West-Asheville-Tailgate-Market/231092440141

This salad of oh-so-delicate buttercrunch lettuce came from last week’s indoor Tailgate Market at the Lofts by the Woodfin YMCA. I was able

new Moon Herbs Farm Bibb Lettuce

New Moon Herbs Farm Bibb Lettuce

to stock up on eggs from East Fork Farm, lettuce and collard greens from Gregg Adams of New Moon Herbs Farm and some Market Bread from Farm & Sparrow Bakery (plus a biscotti that I gobbled up). Of course I ran into friends and we spent a while catching up while Barbara drank her tiny baby coffee.

 

Glorious weather arrived today. Finally. And just in time for the official opening of the outdoor Tailgate Markets on Wednesday. Oh joy. What a way to herald in April flowers.

 

OPEN WEDNESDAY, April 2:

Asheville City Market South, 2-6 pm

French Broad food Co-op Wednesday Tailgate Market, 2-6 pm

 

OPEN SATURDAY, April 5:

Asheville City Market, 8 am -1 pm

Henderson County Tailgate Market, 7 am – noon

Leicester Farmers Market, 9 am – 2 pm

Madison County Farmers & Artisans Market, 9 am – 1 pm

North Asheville Tailgate Market, 8 am – noon

 

 

 

CSA Fair

Thinking about a CSA this year? CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture.

How it works: You “subscribe” to a CSA share with the farmer of your choice. Usually you get one box per week of mixed vegetables during the season. Some CSA’s also offer meats, eggs, cheese, and flowers as add-ons.

The CSA Fair is a great way to talk to many farmers at one free event and figure out which farm you like best. Then you make arrangements with that farmer, and expect to have a season of bountiful LOCAL food. Yum!

Thursday, March 13 from 3-6 p.m. at Jubilee! on Wall Street in downtown Asheville.

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