Officially, there’s just about one month of summer left. But you can still head out to your neighborhood farmers market this week and enjoy a bounty of sweet corn, berries, tomatoes, okra, cucumbers, eggplants, summer squashes, melons and peppers.
Before the summer staples are gone, why not pick up a new variety? There are tons of tomatoes to try now, especially heirlooms (lots of vendors have tasting samples), as well as different types of eggplants and even okra. If you’re an okra lover, ask vendors about their offerings; some farmers grow a variety with a strong flavor that’s fit only for a true fan.
While the ghost chili remained a phantom this past week, a plethora of other new peppers revealed themselves. For those with a hankering for heat, the Hidalgo scores relatively high on the Scoville Scale. For those seeking sweet, try the red pimento or the chocolate pepper. Chocolate bells turn from green to dark brown once ripe, and offer up a sweet flavor that’s perfect fresh in salads or cooked as part of your favorite recipe.
Once gone, summertime produce will surely be missed, but you won’t have to say goodbye to items like potatoes and cabbage for quite a while. And, there’s lots to look forward to — think apples, pumpkins, greens and lettuces. You can also pick up kitchen staples such as local eggs and meats, cheeses and even tempeh at tailgates until markets close for the winter.
Savor the season with a special event featuring cool summer soups, melons and other vendor offerings this Saturday, August 28, at Haywood’s Historic Farmers Market in Waynesville (Pigeon Street). The customer appreciation event will run from market open until close, from 8 a.m. until 1 p.m.
Also this weekend, help bid farewell to the Kids Corner Market (KCM) and “$5 Free” EBT promotion at the Asheville City Market. This Saturday, the YWCA will offer up a “Food Fun Mania” program for the final KCM. It will also be the last day for the first 50 EBT/SNAP market shoppers to receive a free $5 token.
To find the locations and schedules of farmers markets throughout the region, visit Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project’s online Local Food Guide and search for tailgate markets.
You can find local eggs, like these from East Fork Farm, at tailgates now until markets close for the winter.
ASAP intern Jessica Luna and Cora enjoy the Kids Corner Market (KCM) at Asheville City Market this past Saturday. August 28 is the last KCM, which will feature a “Food Fun Mania” program from the YWCA.
Photos courtesy of ASAP.