Posts Tagged ‘Mountain Harvest organics’

sandwich after tailgate 1Fresh + ingredients you won’t find in grocery stores. That is the beauty of our tailgate markets. My sandwich ingredients from today’s tailgate market:  ripe purple tomatoes, crispy white cucumbers, and pan-roasted Italian sweet pepper on a bed of sweet basil, and from the grocery store – organic cream cheese, balsamic vinegar, and local artisan bread.

Yes, you can buy basil and purple tomatoes from the grocery store, but are they this fresh and from people who farm in our neighboring counties? People with kids that they are raising. People with land payments. People we know. Will my meager purchases help send their kids to college? Well, no, not exactly. But each little purchase adds up.

I pray that when they count up their money at the end of each market, it is enough to sustain them and their families. Cause these are some hard working folks. Heros. Their food tastes like it came from my home garden. Just look at the color of that tomato. I mean really look. Soak it in. This food brings me to my knees.

I have missed this food during my recent period of busy-ness. I have missed the people too. Manysandwich after tailgate grilled have been so kind to ask about my recently married daughter. Some conversations have made our eyes well up with emotion. Together, all of us have watched these tailgate market children grow and blossom. Suddenly the baby is a seventh grader is a college student is adventuring in Europe is being married or becoming a parent. Again I am on my knees with wonder, and so grateful that I am sailing along on this lovely planet amid this miraculous journey.

Back to sandwiches. This is important – sandwiches taste so much better when they are made on good bread. It is worth the splurge to get good local bread if you are a sandwich-eater. Pan-roast the peppers. Pile the ingredients to the edge of the bread and grill in a skillet with your choice of fat (I used olive oil).

pistachio shortbread sweetheart bakeryPistachio shortbread cookie for desert from Sweetheart bakery.

Purple tomato from Green Toe Ground Farm. White cucumber from Full Sun Farm. Peppers from Gaining Ground Farm. Basil from Mountain Harvest Organics. Bread from Annie’s Naturally Bakery.


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Beautiful weather, the buzz of customers, and lots of LOCAL food – that was today at the North Asheville Tailgate Market. I was enticed to the market by Carl and Julie’s (Mountain Harvest Organics) roasted Italian peppers. Every fall Carl and Julie fill the market with the delectable aroma of roasting  peppers. Peppers are ready hot out of the roaster…but be sure to buy some extras to freeze and use when winter is threatening never to end. The next time they will roast peppers is  on Saturday, October 11 at the North Asheville Tailgate Market. Don’t miss out.

Roasted Italian Peppers from Mountain Harvest Organics - a Real Treat!

Roasted Italian Peppers from Mountain Harvest Organics – a Real Treat!

I got a number of staples and treats this week – some to share at a party next weekend in Chapel Hill ~ salad mix from Full Sun Farm, pears from Bill Whipple, potatoes from Flying Cloud Farm, St. Paulin cheese with it’s lovely crust from Three Graces Dairy, pound cake from Cathy Osada, pistachio shortbread from Sweetheart Bakery (not picture as I already ate it!), roasted red Italian peppers from Mountain Harvest Organics, grits from East Fork Farm (They have a mill on their farm!), crackers from Roots & Branches, butternut squash and onion from Mountain Harvest Organics, wild sockeye salmon and smoked salmon form the Wild Salmon Company, and two milder Habanero peppers from Thatchmore Farm (I hope to trick my friend at work into thinking I am eating a fiery pepper without blinking).

Fall Bounty of Sincerely Local Food - each associated with a particular farmer.

Fall Bounty of Sincerely Local Food – each associated with a particular farmer when eaten.

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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.


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

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Pouring snow inspired this cozy dinner of cornbread, beans, and greens, a favorite combo in

Mixing It Up!

Mixing It Up!

these parts and for most of the south.

Preheat your oven and start mixing. This cornbread is slightly sweet and buttery rich. And heating the oiled cornbread pan before pouring in the batter is a must – if you are a crunchy crust lover. We fight over the end pieces because we all love crust. See the recipe HERE.

Round here, I always start off beans by sautéing onions and peppers, so I ransacked the freezer for the roasted sweet Italian peppers that I bought last fall from Mountain Harvest Organic Farm (Julie and Carl sell at the North Asheville and Waynesville Tailgate Markets). I was craving pinto beans, but had to settle for black beans since a trip to the store was out of the question. I was also out of a very essential ingredient for beans – bay leaves, so I added a pinch of cocoa and cinnamon (I only add this to black beans), and some garlic.

Onions and olive oil were the base for the kale too. Gotta have some grease to make it good, right? The beans and greens were vegan by chance, but the grease (olive oil in this case) in both dishes is essential for that satisfied feeling.



Roasted Red Peppers from the North Asheville Tailgate Market

Roasted Red Peppers from the North Asheville Tailgate Market

Slicing up the cornbread

Slicing up the cornbread


Beans & Rice, Cornbread, & Greens

At the table we broke open Matt Timmer’s pepper vinegar for the greens. SO fantastico! Thank you Matt. Matt grows lots of peppers in his garden, mostly really fiery peppers, and shares a variety of addictive homemade salsa with us at work.

Matt's Homemade Pepper Vinegar

Matt’s Homemade Pepper Vinegar

Dinner was a great combo. Plus, guess what we’re having for breakfast? Toasted cornbread with maple syrup and yogurt. Uh-huh! Happy snow day people!


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Walking into a big box craft store this week, I noticed huge bins of pumpkins and was surprised they had fresh pumpkins. Double take! They were synthetic pumpkins that looked real on first glance. OK, so where do we draw the line?  Sure, sure these synthetic pumpkins won’t turn into compost at any point…but they won’t turn into pies or jack-o-lanterns either.

Let’s think authenticity. Let’s think imbued with lifeforce. Go for the real thing that actually has feng shui and translates into a genuine celebration of the season. Find your beautiful fall squash and pumpkins at the markets. Think this through. A pumpkin grown on your native soil soaking up sunshine and bringing up nutrients from our Mother Earth (plus this pumpkin can be composted!) versus an industrially produced pumpkin that has choked the atmosphere with noxious fumes during its production (and ends up as trash in a landfill). Support your local farmer instead of a Chinese factory.

Carl roasting peppers, Julie weighing produce, Mountain Harvest Organics

Last weekend we had a wonderful mostly local meal. I visited the North Asheville Tailgate Market in search of Carl’s roasted Italian peppers. When I arrived he was just setting his roaster up. Soon that smoky fragrance filled the market and made my stomach grumble. So I got some fresh spinach pasta from the pasta lady, basil (Flying Cloud Farm), roasted peppers (Mountain Harvest Organics)…and combined with parsley from my garden and garlic (Gaining Ground) and onions (Full Sun), we made the most delicious pesto pasta…even had some leftovers the next day, SO good, along with salad adorned with tiny, tender cucumbers and cherry tomatoes; scallops (Carolina Wild Seafood), squash casserole, and French baguette (Annie’s Naturally). Cook it up this weekend.

Click here for the pesto recipe:


ANNOUNCEMENT for artists:

Black Mountain Tailgate Market is sponsoring a Logo Design Contest for their market. They want an image that conveys the essence of the market (the best of farm fresh local foods and handcrafted items to our community. It’s a special place where friends come to meet friends, children play among the tents, and a vibrant Saturday morning celebration of our community as a whole). The graphic design can be up to 4 colors suitable for print materials, digital media and screen printing. The deadline is September 15 and the winner will receive $50 BMTM bucks. Contact Joan Englehart for more information at manager@blackmountaintailgatemarket.org.

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Joanne Moore, the baker, said it best today. She said something like “This is THE day!…the one you dream about it February….tomatoes.” It is the height of summer. According to Joanne, the market was packed first thing. I arrived around 10:30 ~ on a lazy day off  ~ and went straight to East Fork Farm to get

Tasty! Homegrown Tomatoes

some eggs. It was Stephen’s birthday (Happy!) and he was already sold completely OUT of eggs. I tried Wally, but he was out of eggs too!

Next stop…cucumbers from Annie Louise of Flying Cloud Farm. They have been so wonderful on my sandwiches every day. You can buy bushels (1/2 bushels?) of beautiful cucumbers from Annie for pickling.

Then I stopped to visit with Luther and his son. Did you know that Luther works outside for about 6 hours every day? He doesn’t like winter because there is nothing much to do in winter.

Grabbed a couple of sweet onions from Julie at Mountain Harvest Organics since mine are too small for harvest yet. And then headed across to Full Sun Farm and picked out a few tomatoes. There was a long line because someone in

Waiting in Line at Full Sun Farm

front of us was buying a lot of produce. I suspect he was a chef ~ because he bought all their tiny fairytale eggplant… a huge giant bagful, and a lot of other stuff. Delicate tiny veggies were spotted throughout the market.

At Gaining Ground Farm’s stand, I commented to Anne about the purple potatoes. She said they are called Blue Viking and that they are really tasty. Even though about half of my garden is planted in potatoes, I had to buy a couple of those Blue Vikings just to taste them, along with some fat garlic.

Steve Bardwell, of Wake Robin Farm Breads, was also completely sold out. He didn’t have one piece of anything! OK, he had about three 1” sample scraps in the bottom of a basket. He had been sold out since 10:15. Farm & Sparrow was on vacation. A lady asked Steve about the Sourdough Cornmeal Bread that she had eaten tomato sandwiches on all last week. It was so delicious she had been dreaming of a repeat performance. Steve only bakes his Sourdough Cornmeal Bread  in July and August just because it pairs so well with tomatoes.

Then I joined in a conversation with Ashley, Elizabeth, and Vanessa. Elizabeth recently returned from an agriculture-based volunteer trip to Tanzania, and Vanessa spent a couple of years in Africa. I discovered that Vanessa has actually climbed Mount Kilimanjaro! Very impressive.

Beautiful Summer Squash

Hickory Nut Gap had the first apples I have spotted, so I had to have a few. There was a sweet woman there who was easing out of vegetarianism into eating meat. She was deliberating about buying steaks with or without bones. She asked my advice and I had to admit I am vegetarian (pescatarian actually), but since I do cook meat for my family…I definitely thought it was a great idea to end up with bones for stock. “Just throw the bones in a Ziploc and freeze them until you can get around to it!”

Hope you had a great time at the market too!

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Marc Williams' 'Wild Side' Salad Sources

Marc Williams intended to tell the STORY of the salad at One Bowl, the local food dinner given at True Nature Country Fair 2010.  Serving dinner to over 60 guests waylaid his intention, but he did manage to display a bit of information about his ‘Wild Side’ Salad for those diners who were paying attention.  With his permission, I stuffed his scraps of paper in my pocket as we cleaned up.  The torn bits of paper do tell the story, and Marc filled in a few details for me.

On Saturday morning, Marc swooped down on the North Asheville Tailgate Market and gathered his salad and dressing ingredients.  I imagine him conversing with each farmer as he filled his market bags.  He arrived at the True Nature Country Fair later in the day with an incredible salad and two delectable dressings.

Marc Williams' Salad Dressings


Flying Cloud Farm: Lettuce, Radishes, Arugula

Mountain Harvest Organics: Lettuce, Broccoli, Sweet Peppers, Parsley

Gaining Ground Farm: Carrots

Full Sun Farm: Watermelon Radishes, Chiogga Beets

Pearson Garden: Wood Sorrel, Knotweed, Basella


Ron Gagliano: Tomatoes

Frank Tenerelli: Basil

Spinning Spider Creamery: Feta Cheese

Other ingredients:  Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Sea Salt


Walter Harrill: Raspberry Jam

Haw Creek Honey: Blackberry Honey

Other ingredients:  Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Balsamic Vinegar, Sea Salt


A little more of the story… Eve Davis had worked her magic by arranging flowers for each table…flowers donated by Meredith McKissick of Sweet Earth Flower Farm.  Set in a covered pavilion; candles twinkled on the tables during dinner, a nearby fire blazed, and the sounds of summer rose from the woods.  The band of musicians tore themselves away from their music long enough to share this meal.

Patryk Battle created a chunky Lamb Stew and Elizabeth Gibbs is famous for her delicious Candy Roaster Soup ~ both composed of local ingredients.  Candy Roasters are an heirloom “squash/pumpkin” that locals swear will make the very best pumpkin pies.  The soup was garnished with (my personal favorite) goat cheese.  I got in a conversation with two women; one was eating the Lamb Stew and her friend was having candy roaster soup. They tried each other’s entrees, and they both liked the one they had initially chosen the best.  Wonders never cease.

The Chocolate Lounge made dessert ~ an autumn tart set in swirls of chocolate and garnished with homemade whipped cream.  Are you jealous? There were two choices of Buchi; the one I tasted was pink, spicy and addicting.  Conversation was lively during dinner, and all the guests took home beautiful bowls that had been handmade by many generous local potters.

I didn’t think to whip out my camera during dinner and capture the beauty of the night, or the fabulous fare.  I did take a few pictures of some of the action and classes at the Fair.

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