What’s new in food: Tailgate markets segue to holiday markets

DECK THE WALLS: Locally made decor such as wreaths from Green Toe Ground Farm will be available for purchase at holiday markets throughout Buncombe County in November and December. Photo by Hilary Shuler

These days, following the stock market is likely to trigger some high anxiety. So, consider following local tailgate markets instead. The summer’s harvest is behind us, but most weekly tailgate markets in Buncombe County are transitioning into the holiday market season. Alongside winter greens and squash, shoppers can expect to find seasonal décor such as wreaths and garlands, as well as other crafts and gifts from local vendors.

One big item shoppers won’t find at weekly markets is Christmas trees, advises Sarah Hart, communications manager for the nonprofit Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project. “Some tailgate markets have tried it in the past, but tree farms generally want to set up at places where they can stay seven days a week. We encourage people to check out nearby U-pick farms or local sellers in the region,” she says.

Holiday markets will be held at the following locations:

  • Asheville City Market, 52 N. Market St., Saturdays Nov. 26-Dec. 17, 9 a.m.-noon, avl.mx/bfk 
  • Black Mountain Tailgate Market, 130 Montreat Road, Saturday, Nov. 19, 9 a.m.-noon, avl.mx/c5u
  • East Asheville Tailgate Market, 954 Tunnel Road, Friday, Nov. 18, 2:30-5:30 p.m., avl.mx/c5v
  • Leicester Farmers Market, 2979 New Leicester Highway, Wednesdays through Nov. 23, 3-6 p.m., avl.mx/c5y
  • The Holiday Bazaar, 3300 University Heights Drive, Saturdays, Nov. 26-Dec. 17, 10 a.m.–1 p.m, avl.mx/c5w
  • River Arts District Farmers Market, 350 Riverside Drive., Wednesdays through Dec. 21, 3-5:30 p.m., avl.mx/9ki
  • Weaverville Tailgate Market, 60 Lakeshore Drive, Wednesdays through Dec. 14, 3-6 p.m., avl.mx/c5x
  • West Asheville Tailgate Market, 718 Haywood Road, Tuesdays, Nov. 29-Dec. 20, 3:30-5:30, avl.mx/bwh

Bundle up

In other market news, the North Asheville Tailgate Market recently announced it will reopen on Saturday mornings in February, rather than wait until May as it has done in the past.

“The winter market was born of a combination of customers desiring to shop more year-round with us and vendors who are not relying on produce seasonality as much to sell goods like value-added foods, cheeses, meats, teas, spices and more,” says NATM Executive Director Oakley Brewer.

Sarah Hart of ASAP confirms that motivation. “Basically, it’s a story of supply and demand,” she says. “Customers want to buy local food all year round, and we have farmers who have found ways to do it, as well as bakers and food makers. This has been slowly happening over the last 10 or so years, and it makes sense not to close it all out in September.”

The North Asheville Tailgate Market is at 3300 University Heights. For more information, visit avl.mx/bei.

Meat up

For over a decade, The Chop Shop Butchery has been selling regionally sourced and on-site butchered beef, pork and lamb to customers and local restaurants. More recently, with the launch of its Department of Agriculture-inspected processing facility at 52 Clayton St. in North Asheville, the shop’s operations have increased significantly.

“We were maxed out on space and production capabilities in the shop and struggling to meet the needs of the retail and wholesale community,” says P.J. Jackson, butcher and co-owner. “In the shop, we could handle four to six hog carcasses and one to 1 1/2 cows a week. Now we are already up to three beef and nine hogs a week.”

Additionally, small farmers can contract with The Chop Shop’s USDA facility to butcher and package their meats for personal or retail purposes. “Those farmers can trailer their hog or cow or lamb to Apple Brandy Beef in Wilkesboro, where we get all our beef,” Jackson explains. “The owner, Seth Church, also has an abattoir [slaughterhouse] there. He will process your animal, bring that carcass to us on Clayton, and we’ll make whatever you want from it.”

Along with pork chops, the new facility will turn ham into sliced deli meat and belly into smoked bacon. And because the facility also has a large commercial kitchen, it can turn trim into dry-cured Italian-style salami and bones into broth.

“It’s a whole other level of opportunity for small local farmers to have a more in-depth, valued product for their personal use or to sell,” Jackson says.  “With an on-site USDA inspector, we take care of all the regulations and keep everything safe.”

To learn more, visit avl.mx/9d0.  

Crowded table

This year, let the professionals take care of the Thanksgiving meal — not just the centerpiece but starters, sides and dessert. That way all the good host has to do is pour the drinks, set the table and load the dishwasher.

    • Bedazzle your guests with a tandoori turkey from Andaaz restaurant. The full meal, which feeds 10-14 people, includes a 14- to 16-pound bird roasted in a tandoor (clay oven) with Indian spices, cranberry apple chutney, mango chutney and butternut squash bharta. Call 828-552-3200 to order by Friday, Nov. 18. Pickup is by 1 p.m. Thanksgiving Day, Nov. 24, at Andaaz, 28 Hendersonville Road.
    • Newstock has your sides covered with a menu of elevated traditional dishes, including sourdough dinner rolls, cranberry sauce with citrus and ginger, foraged wild mushroom dressing and mushroom gravy. For pickup Tuesday, Nov. 22, or Wednesday, Nov. 23, at 191 Lyman St., Studio 115. Orders must be placed by Thursday, Nov. 17.  avl.mx/c5i
    • Gospel Ice Cream and pastry chef Beth Kellerhals have partnered to create a dessert to give thanks for — ice cream and pie. Consider salted caramel pecan pie with a scoop (or three) of panna cotta ice cream or buttermilk brown butter custard pie with cinnamon ice cream. Five types of pie and five flavors of ice cream can be ordered online for pick up in designated locations on the following dates: Saturday, Nov. 19; Tuesday, Nov. 22; and Wednesday, Nov. 23. avl.mx/c5n


  • Rocky’s Hot Chicken Shack offers appetizers, sides and desserts. Highlights include pimento cheese dip, collard greens, corn pudding, macaroni and cheese, sweet potato casserole, and sweet and spicy pecans. Order by Sunday, Nov. 20, for pickup Tuesday, Nov. 22, or Wednesday, Nov. 23, at either of Rocky’s two locations: 1455 Patton Ave. or 3749 Sweeten Creek Road. avl.mx/c5s.

Ingle bells

Kick off the gifting season by donating a jar of peanut butter, can of soup or any number of other nonperishable items during the 30th annual Ingles Giving Tree. The yearly event benefits MANNA FoodBank, a local nonprofit that serves more than 120,000 food-insecure residents each month in Western North Carolina.

The lighting of the tree — constructed of close to 20,000 pounds of nonperishable, shelf-stable food items — takes place inside the food court at Asheville Outlets on Monday, Nov. 21, at 5:30 p.m.

Every person who brings a food donation Monday, Nov. 21, 5-8 p.m., or Tuesday, Nov. 22, 10 a.m.-8 p.m., will be entered to win a $500 Ingles gift card. Donations should be dropped at the MANNA table inside the Asheville Outlets food court. On Wednesday, Nov. 23, a single winner will be drawn from all entries, and the winner will be contacted by MANNA FoodBank.

Additionally, Ingles stores across WNC will sell holiday icons at the register for $1 each, giving shoppers the opportunity to make a monetary contribution to MANNA at checkout

Asheville Outlets is at 800 Brevard Road. The tree lighting will be broadcast live on WLOS.


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About Kay West
Kay West was a freelance journalist in Nashville for more than 30 years, contributing writer for the Nashville Scene, StyleBlueprint Nashville, Nashville correspondent for People magazine, author of five books and mother of two happily launched grown-up kids. To kick off 2019 she put Tennessee in her rear view mirror, drove into the mountains of WNC, settled in West Asheville and appreciates that writing offers the opportunity to explore and learn her new home. She looks forward to hiking trails, biking greenways, canoeing rivers, sampling local beer and cheering the Asheville Tourists.

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