Gather the shopping eggs in one basket

A home cooked local meal is certainly a heart- and soul-warming gift, and farms are still offering fresh foods at holiday tailgate markets. But if you’re looking for something you can wrap in festive paper while still supporting farmers, here are just a few ideas available at markets this month:

Local beekeepers offer much more than honey this time of year. Wild Mountain Apiaries offers a propolis tincture for the cold season that’s said to be antimicrobial, antibacterial and antiviral. (Propolis is a botanical resin mixture collected by bees.) Wild Mountain also offers 100-percent beeswax tea lights and hand-rolled candles, along with infused honeys.

In the past, the company has experimented with flavors like lavender and hot pepper, which have been a big hit. So this year, owner Jon Christie and his family have come up with new options: vanilla and anise seed. Find Wild Mountain at Asheville City Market and the Holiday Bazaar at the North Asheville Tailgate Market.

Got a cheese-head on your shopping list? Three Graces Dairy pulls out all the stops with Wasabi Rainbow, a brightly colored chevre coated with two types of sesame seeds and two types of seaweed. There’s also a special holiday rum-raisin chevre, along with the usual chevres, bries and aged hard cheeses. Find Three Graces throughout December at Asheville City Market and the Holiday Bazaar.

Looking Glass Creamery also offers chevres and other soft and hard cheeses for the holidays, as well as the shelf-stable Carmelita. The local caramel — the first official batch of which was finished this September — is made with local goat’s milk from Round Mountain Creamery, and one 2-gallon batch takes 10 hours to produce. Looking Glass currently offers the sweet stuff in traditional, coffee (which uses Dynamite Roasting beans) and bourbon vanilla, perfect for drizzling on pie and ice cream, or accompanying local apples. The flavors are generally sweet, but not without a savory depth, cheese-maker and Looking Glass owner Jennifer Perkins says. Find Looking Glass throughout December at the new Grow Down Home Farmers Market in Black Mountain. Carmelita can also be purchased at Early Girl Eatery and Earthfare, as well as at the creamery’s new retail space, which is slated to open early this month.

Tailgate markets also offer the chance to support the Appalachian Grown-certified food producers and artisan crafters who use local farm products when available. Here’s just a taste (pun intended) of the homemade and handcrafted: breads and other baked goods, bath products, candles, cutting boards and wooden spoons, jewelry, pickles, pottery, lotions and salves, ornaments, quilts, soaps, scarves and wreathes.

Asheville-Area Holiday Market Roundup

Asheville City Market (161 South Charlotte St.), Saturdays 10 a.m.-1 p.m. through Dec. 15 (reopens indoors in January)
Grow Down Home Farmers Market (105 Richardson Ave. in Black Mountain), Saturdays 10 a.m.-1 p.m. through Dec. 22
Holiday Bazaar at North Asheville Tailgate Market (UNC-Asheville campus), Saturdays 11 a.m.-3 p.m. through Dec. 22
Madison County Farmers & Artisans Market (Fiddlestix in Mars Hill), Saturdays 10 a.m.-3 p.m. through Dec. 22
Weaverville Tailgate Market (Community Center at Lake Louise), Wednesdays 2:30 to 6:30 p.m. through Dec. 19
Times and dates are subject to change; always check with individual markets. For holiday markets outside of Asheville, visit asapconnections.org or fromhere.org.

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