Fresh at Farmers Markets This Week

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Tomato season has finally kicked off! We’re starting to see a variety of ’maters pop up at several farmers markets.

So far we’ve seen Full Sun Farm, Lee’s One Fortune Farm, and Olivette Farm selling an assortment of slicers, cocktail, grape, and cherry tomatoes. We look forward to seeing even more vendors bring their tomato harvest to markets in the next week! Find Full Sun Farm at River Arts District and North Asheville markets and Olivette Farm at Asheville City Market. River Arts District Farmers Market has a new location starting this week (July 6) as well. Find the market from now on at Smoky Park Supper Club at 350 Riverside Drive.

One of the things we love most about tomatoes is their versatility! With so many varieties to choose from and plenty of ways to utilize them in your cooking, tomatoes will be on your shopping list at farmers markets for the rest of summer through fall.  Try making a tomato and pimento cheese melt for a quick and easy lunch. All the ingredients can be sourced from your local producers! Take two slices of your favorite market bread and apply a thin layer (or thick, if you’re hungry) of pimento cheese to one side of each slice. Ali Rae Foods sells a delicious, locally made pimento cheese at West, East , Weaverville, and Asheville City markets. Then add a few slices of large tomatoes, and put the sandwich together. Heat a pan over medium heat and toast your sandwich on each side until golden brown. Enjoy!

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Another way to enjoy your tomatoes (and peaches) without turning the stove on is with this fresh tomato and peach caprese salad. Start with two pounds of tomatoes (and kind), two peaches, and eight ounces of mozzarella. Cut these ingredients into bite-sized pieces and set aside. In a large bowl, whisk together a half cup of white vinegar, one clove of minced garlic, four tablespoons of chopped fresh basil, three tablespoons of olive oil, three tablespoons of brown sugar, and a pinch of salt. Add the tomatoes, peaches, and mozzarella into the bowl with dressing and toss the ingredients together.

Lee’s One Fortune Farm also has green tomatoes for those of us who love the classic Southern appetizer fried green tomatoes!

At farmers markets now you’ll also find raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, summer squash, cucumbers, beans, new potatoes, cabbage, carrots, beets, radishes, turnips, broccoli, cauliflower, and much more. Also look out for greens like lettuce, arugula, chard, kale, spinach, bok choy, and mustard greens. Markets are stocked with a variety of meats, cheese, rice, pasta, bread, drinks, and prepared foods. Find more details about farms and markets throughout the region in ASAP’s online Local Food Guide at appalachiangrown.org.

Prepared by Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project.