This past week’s weather makes talking about the start of spring feel jarringly out of place. But the season of rebirth is almost upon us.
What does that mean for area farmers tailgate markets?
March and April can be the sparsest months for farmers markets. Stored crops such as potatoes, cabbage, and beets have dwindled; main-season produce has just begun to be planted; and even greens — which can be grown year-round — are less abundant because many produce farmers are focusing their time on planting and cultivating what will be harvested later in the year.
Instead of what not to expect, let’s focus on what you will find during these months. Breads, cheeses, meats, eggs, baked goods, and microgreens are still highly available at markets. We’re also getting into the time of year when plant starts are ubiquitous on vendors’ tables. Depending on the market, there are still storage crops such as apples (from Creasman Farms at Asheville City Market) and spaghetti and delicata squash (from Pitch Pine Farm at Transylvania Farmers Market in Brevard). Greens are still around, but due to their scarcity, make sure to get to market early to catch ‘em.
Outdoor markets will soon start opening throughout the week and throughout the region. Asheville City Market will be opening outside for the year at a new location: North Market Street, on the two blocks between Woodfin and College streets! Visit the 2017 Tailgate Market Opening Dates page to find a full list of dates across the region.
In the coming weeks, early spring goodies will start to crop up at markets: expect strawberries, rhubarb, pea shoots, sugar snap peas, ramps, asparagus, and broccoli. Check back in with this article series each week to learn when these items first arrive.
Area farmers tailgate markets take place throughout the region. As always, you can find information about farms, tailgate markets, and farm stands, including locations and hours, by visiting ASAP’s online Local Food Guide at appalachiangrown.org.
(Prepared by ASAP.)