Do you follow your favorite farmers on social media? Besides being a great way to get a tantalizing sneak peek into what they’ll bring to market each week, many farmers have taken to advertising special sales in the week before market, which can guide you as you plan your shopping route.
Some recent examples: Fiddler’s Green Farm (@fiddlersgreenfarmnc on Instagram) hawked an egg special, two dozen for $12, instead of $7 for one dozen) before Asheville City Market this past Saturday. Dry Ridge Farm (@dryridgefarm on Instagram and Facebook) has been running meat specials throughout the winter season, including 20 percent off pork chops, $1.50 off sweet Italian sausage, and 15 percent off New York strip steaks. And Carolina Flowers even offered free anemones via Instagram (@carolinaflowers_) three weeks ago.
Early spring is a season of anticipation. When will the first asparagus spears come up? When will you find ramps at the market? (Answer: act quick, and you may snag some.) Social media can offer a little bit of a window to satisfy that curiosity.
Despite the warmer days, the first outdoor markets of the season offered much of the same produce mix seen over the past few weeks: plenty of lettuce, leafy greens like spinach and bok choi, snow peas, turnips, radishes, microgreens, and herbs. But there were a few new finds.
After a winter without seeing many beets, Headwaters Market Garden (Asheville City Market) had pink and yellow ones. Bear Necessities Farm (Asheville City Market, West Asheville Tailgate Market) had two foraged products: nettles and Japanese knotweed, a wild edible hated by gardeners for its invasive traits, but prized by cooks for its rhubarb-like tartness. And McConnell Farms (Asheville City Market, North Asheville Tailgate Market, West Asheville Tailgate Market) had the first asparagus spotted this season.
In addition to produce you’ll find increasing options for meat, fish, eggs, cheese, bread, baked goods, and fermented products.
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 Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project.