Fresh food connections at your local tailgate market

Tailgate shopping strengthens relationships: When you ask people why they shop at a tailgate market, everyone has a slightly different answer, says Molly Nicholie of the Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project. "Everyone has their own reason for shopping at their particular market. I think a lot of it is really based in relationships — and wanting a direct connection with who is growing your food." Photo courtesy of ASAP

(Go to the bottom of this article for a listing of local tailgate markets)

With springtime and warmer weather finally underway here in the mountains comes the opportunity to head outdoors to our local tailgate markets. While some of them won’t set up their tents until mid-May, most tailgate markets have already begun their season.

Western North Carolina provides a bounty of regional tailgate and farmers markets to explore — where you can enjoy fresh, locally grown produce, eggs and meat, plus fruits and berries, not to mention baked goods, flowers, herbs, a wide variety of specialty products, cooking demonstrations, live music and entertainment.

But you’ll find more than fresh food and the opportunity to fill your refrigerator. Shopping at tailgate markets is, at its core, a way to support farmers, build community and forge relationships with the people who grow the food we eat, says Molly Nicholie, program director of Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project, WNC’s nonprofit dedicated to helping local farms thrive and linking farmers to markets. “One thing that people really love about farmers markets is going back week after week, developing relationships and meeting the farmers and food producers in the community,” Nicholie notes. “It is also a really fun way to see new faces that are cropping up during the season.”

Old and new faces alike are virtually guaranteed. With over 200 farmers listed on ASAP’s website for the Central Mountain area alone, and over 700 farms listed for the larger “Appalachian Grown” region, you’ll find lots of familiar vendors, along with many new farmers and some new, creative farming practices.

For example, new this year, Sunburst Farmer & Chef is putting its fish wastewater to use to grow basil. “Sunburst Farmer & Chef is doing aquaponics,” Nicholie explains. “So you can get basil right now at the West Asheville Farmer’s Market – which of course is out of season – but they are growing it in their greenhouse.”

Last year, cucumbers were available a month early at the Asheville City Market and the North Asheville Market due to farmer Danny McConnell’s creative greenhouse growing practices. According to ASAP people were asking him, “Where are you buying these? Are you getting them from Florida?” He showed disbelievers pictures of himself standing in the greenhouse with his cucumber plants to prove that they were, in fact, grown locally.

“There are all these new fun, new sellers and new farming practices that are coming into the market every year,” Nicholie says.

And as the seasons change, you’ll find a parade of new items for sale at the markets, which offer shoppers a simple way to stay in touch with the local growing season. In addition to staples, farmers are also growing different varieties of foods that you won’t see at the local grocery store.  “A fun way to eat your way through the seasons,” Nicholie says, “is to see what is coming up next at the Farmers Market. Each week you can see creative and new varieties, but also the staples that let you know, ‘Oh, its going to be tomato season soon!’”

Preparing to shop at a tailgate market isn’t all that different from getting ready to go to your usual grocery store. There are the basics of bringing your own bags and making sure that you know what form of payment is acceptable. But also consider bringing along a sunhat or some sunscreen. And it’s fun to bring a friend and a healthy dose of curiosity. “Ask people about their farms and the story behind their farms – because that is really going to help you build your relationships with the different farms [and find] the farmers that you connect with,” Nicholie says. “That is a good way to start building relationships and finding the farm that fits with your values of how things are grown.”

For more information about local tailgate markets and farmers, go to appalachiangrown.org. You can also find a weekly market report from ASAP on fromhere.org.

Sort markets by:

| Day  |  Accepts EBT |  Accepts Credit/Debit |
Asheville Markets  | Area Markets  |


By Day

Every day

Tuesdays

  • West Asheville Tailgate Market
    701 Haywood Road
    westashevilletailgatemarket.com
    Tuesdays 3:30-6:30pm
    Credit/Debit, EBT/SNAP
  • Henderson County Curb Market
    221 N. Church St. and 2nd Ave., Hendersonville
    curbmarket.com/wordpress/#.VxbFJseX-zg
    Open Year Round, Tuesdays, Thursdays & Saturdays 8am-2pm
  • ‘Whee Market
    The Village of Forest Hills, Cullowhee
    Tuesdays 4-7pm

Wednesdays

  • Asheville City Market – South
    Town Square Blvd., Biltmore Park Town Square
    goo.gl/lv4y7V
    Wednesdays noon-4pm
    Credit/Debit, EBT/SNAP
  • French Broad Food Co-op Wednesday Tailgate Market
    76 Biltmore Avenue
    goo.gl/63UMsq
    Wednesdays 2-6pm
    Credit/Debit, EBT/SNAP
  • River Arts District Farmers Market
    175 Clingman Avenue
    radfarmersmarket.wix.com/rad-farmers-market
    Opens May 4, Wednesdays 2-6pm
    Credit/Debit, EBT/SNAP
  • Haywood’s Historic Farmers Market
    250 Pigeon St., Waynesville
    waynesvillefarmersmarket.com
    Wednesdays & Saturdays, 8am-noon
    Credit/Debit, EBT/SNAP
  • Original Waynesville Tailgate Market
    171 Legion Drive, Waynesville
    waynesvilletailgatemarket.com
    Opens May 14, Wednesdays & Saturdays 8am-noon
    EBT/SNAP
  • Weaverville Tailgate Market
    60 Lakeshore Drive, Weaverville
    weavervilletailgate.org
    Wednesdays 2:30-6:30pm
    Credit/Debit

Thursdays

Fridays

Saturdays

Sundays

  • Sundays on the Island
    Blanahasset Island, Marshall
    Sundays noon

Accepts EBT


Accepts Credit/Debit

  • Asheville City Market
    80 Broadway St.
    goo.gl/HSvW4V
    Saturdays 8am-noon
    Credit/Debit, EBT/SNAP
  • Asheville City Market – South
    Town Square Blvd., Biltmore Park Town Square
    goo.gl/lv4y7V
    Wednesdays noon-4pm
    Credit/Debit, EBT/SNAP
  • East Asheville Tailgate Market
    954 Tunnel Road
    eastashevilletailgatemarket.com
    Opens May 6, Fridays 3-6pm
    Credit/Debit
  • French Broad Food Co-op Wednesday Tailgate Market
    76 Biltmore Avenue
    goo.gl/63UMsq
    Wednesdays 2-6pm
    Credit/Debit, EBT/SNAP
  • Haywood’s Historic Farmers Market
    250 Pigeon St., Waynesville
    waynesvillefarmersmarket.com
    Wednesdays & Saturdays, 8am-noon
    Credit/Debit, EBT/SNAP
  • Leicester Farmers Market
    338 Leicester Highway, Leicester
    Saturdays 9am-2pm
    Credit/Debit
  • Madison County Farmers & Artisans Market
    Mars Hill University, Highway 213, Mars Hill
    marshillmarket.org
    Saturdays 9am-1pm
    Credit/Debit
  • North Asheville Tailgate Market
    UNC-Asheville, University Heights Blvd., Parking lot P28
    northashevilletailgatemarket.com
    Saturdays 8am-noon
    Credit/Debit, EBT/SNAP
  • Oakley Farmers Market
    115 Fairview Road
    oakleyfarmersmarket.wordpress.com
    Opens May 5, Thursdays 3:30-6:30pm
    Credit/Debit
  • River Arts District Farmers Market
    175 Clingman Avenue
    radfarmersmarket.wix.com/rad-farmers-market
    Opens May 4, Wednesdays 2-6pm
    Credit/Debit, EBT/SNAP
  • Saluda Tailgate Market
    West Main St., Saluda
    saludatailgate.com
    Opens May 6, Fridays 4:30-6:30pm
    Credit/Debit, EBT/SNAP
  • Transylvania Farmers Market
    190 E. Main St., Brevard
    transylvaniafarmersmarket.com
    Saturdays 8am-noon
    Credit/Debit
  • Weaverville Tailgate Market
    60 Lakeshore Drive, Weaverville
    weavervilletailgate.org
    Wednesdays 2:30-6:30pm
    Credit/Debit
  • West Asheville Tailgate Market
    701 Haywood Road
    westashevilletailgatemarket.com
    Tuesdays 3:30-6:30pm
    Credit/Debit, EBT/SNAP

Asheville Markets


Area Markets

 

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