Fresh at Farmers Markets This Week

Beets and greens on a farmers market table.

As temperatures continue to rise, more farmers and others vendors are returning to fill out farmers tailgate markets — and a few more markets are ready to open!

Enka-Candler Tailgate Market, at the A-B Tech Small Business Center in Enka, opens this Thursday from 3 to 6 p.m. Black Mountain Tailgate Market will open next Saturday, May 8, from 9 a.m. to noon. (If you’re looking for a market outside of Buncombe County, here’s a full list of opening dates throughout the region.)

Local, pasture-raised chicken is something wholly different than what you can find at a grocery store, and a great thing to pick up at the farmers market when you find it available. Fiddler’s Green Farm has whole chickens now at ASAP Farmers Market. Fiddler’s Green selects breeds that are slower growing than the Cornish cross you find from most poultry sellers. While they produce less breast meat per bird, they develop intense flavor and are very tender. Also look for whole chickens from Sugar Hollow Farm, which is at North Asheville Tailgate Market, Black Mountain Tailgate Market, and River Arts District Farmers Market, as well as every other week at West Asheville Tailgate Market.

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A single chicken, even a small one, can yield several easy meals. Start by cutting it into quarters, setting aside the carcass. Rub the pieces with olive oil, herbs, salt, and pepper, and roast on a sheet tray with an assortment of spring market vegetables. A few suggestions: carrots from Smallholding Farm (Weaverville Tailgate Market, East Asheville Tailgate Market), fennel from Gaining Ground Farm (North Asheville Tailgate Market), or asparagus from Root Bottom Farm (West Asheville Tailgate Market). Enjoy the roasted legs and veggies alongside a whole grain like farro or barley.

For your next meal, shred the cooked breast meat and make tacos or enchiladas. Toss the shredded chicken with your favorite store-bought enchilada sauce (or make your own from dried chilies). Find other toppings, like cilantro, radishes, shredded lettuce, and scallions, at markets as well. Need a little more? Try a bit of fromage blanc from Lane in the Woods Farm & Creamery on top (Weaverville Tailgate Market, East Asheville Tailgate Market).

Finally, use the chicken carcass to make stock. Spring greens, like watercress, nettles, and sorrel all make lovely, bright pureed soups, and chicken stock adds a satisfying depth of flavor. Look for watercress from Lee’s One Fortune Farm (ASAP Farmers Market, West Asheville Tailgate Market, River Arts District Farmers Market, East Asheville Tailgate Market, and Black Mountain Tailgate Market), nettles from Bear Necessities Farm (West Asheville Tailgate Market and ASAP Farmers Market), and sorrel from Thatchmore Farm(North Asheville Tailgate Market and West Asheville Tailgate Market).

Farmers Markets right now also have beets, turnips, mushrooms, spinach, kale, and much more. In addition to produce, market vendors have a wide variety of other meats, fish, cheese, bread, rice, prepared foods, fermented products, baked treats, and beverages.

There are more than 100 farmers tailgate markets throughout the Appalachian Grown region. Find them, as well as farms and other local food businesses, in ASAP’s online Local Food Guide.

Prepared by Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project.