The early birds get the goods from Farmers Shed No. 1 at the WNC Farmers Market in West Asheville. Of the market’s 14 buildings spread over the 36-acre property, the 10,000-square-foot open shed with 32 stalls is available exclusively to certified farmers who sell only what they grow.
“Many of the farmers in that shed get here between 4 and 5 a.m.,” says marketing specialist Beth Frith. “They come in early and leave when they’re out of product. They get a lot of chefs and restaurants.”
Two key exceptions to the early departures in shed 1 are the Perez family anchoring one end and the Tomas family at the other, both selling the produce they grow on their farms in Marion. Once summer produce fills their fields, they are at the market all day, every day. “They are already here in the morning when I arrive at 7:30,” says Frith. “And they’re still here when I leave around 5:30.”
Unlike the region’s once-weekly neighborhood tailgate markets, which typically begin in May and end in November, the WNC market is open seven days a week, 8 a.m.-5 or 6 p.m., year-round.
Jesse Israel and Sons Garden Center occupies all of building No. 2 with plants, trees, shrubs and garden supplies. Four other truck sheds offer spaces to farmers and dealers; and two large buildings are designated wholesale.
Many visitors gravitate to Retail Buildings A and B, enclosed and temperature-controlled all four seasons. “These buildings have a little bit of everything,” Frith explains. “We have crafts, gifts, a restaurant and vendors like the Coats family from Madison County who buy direct from other farmers and sell for them.
“What we have going for us is we are open seven days a week, all year,” she asserts. “If you can’t get to a tailgate on a Tuesday afternoon, you can come here and find many options. I think we and the tailgate markets all have the same ultimate goal — to promote fresh, healthy eating and to support farmers. There is room for both.”
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