ASAP report: What’s fresh at farmers markets

It’s a full house of fall favorites at area farmers tailgate markets now. Vendors’ booths offer up dramatic color this month, just like the changing leaves.

At the red-orange end of the spectrum, look for local apples, beets, carrots, peppers, radishes, squashes, sweet potatoes and some last-of-the season tomatoes. On the blue-green side, you’ll find apples, beans, broccoli, celery, chard, collards, cucumbers, eggplants, herbs, kale, lettuces, peppers, okra and more. Of course, there are lots of neutral hues, too — from bread to cheese, eggs to honey, and meats to mushrooms.

Do take note that October is likely the last month you’ll find a few of the above local items at tailgates, including most beans, cucumbers, eggplant and peppers — be sure to stock up now. You may also want to try out different varieties while they’re available. English cucumbers are around (they have less conspicuous seeds and a thicker skin than their garden counterparts). You’ll even find different types of green beans to give a go. Although radishes can be found after October, you may want to give Daikon radishes a try — they’re the radishes that look like giant white carrots.

Daikon radishes from Flying Cloud Farm at the Wednesday French Broad Co-op Market.

Although the end of this month marks closing time for some area markets, don’t dread November. Plenty of tailgates remain open (some even into December), and lots of your favorite fall items will stick around, and they’ll also be joined by exciting newcomers like locally grown Christmas trees.

Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project’s website will share closing details and dates as winter approaches. You can also find the locations, and often schedules, of farmers markets throughout the region on ASAP’s online Local Food Guide.

In celebration of this month’s vibrant market offerings, North Asheville Tailgate Market will host Apple Day on Saturday, October 9. Guest chef Marcos from Curras Nuevo Cuisine will lead a cooking demo with market produce. There will also be a raffle for a box of market products, and Scribbles the Clown will offer up face painting for kids.

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