Summer is here and so is delectable local fresh produce. There is nothing as good as fresh picked berries, picked ripe that morning or a ripe red tomato that hasn’t been shipped green from another state. Asheville is home to over 17 local tailgate markets as well as the North Carolina Farmer’s Market and each one has it’s own personality. Flavorful fresh local food is only one reason to visit our tailgate markets. Live music, local craftspeople, locally prepared artisanal foods and baked goods, free samples, native plants and flowers and lots of socializing mark Asheville’s markets. Our small Western North Carolina farmers utilize sustainable farming practices and share their expertise on using the varied seasonal fruits, vegetables, meats and cheeses that are native to our rich, beautiful mountain region. Our favorite market is the North Asheville Tailgate on the UNC campus. Just a 7 minute drive or 25 minute walk away from A Bed of Roses, the shaded market is always full of life with fiddlers playing and children dancing, The aromas of fresh baked goods, unique food trucks and freshly brewed coffee mingle with the perfume of colorful local floral displays. Locals and visitors to the area sample local goat cheese, grass fed meats, specialty chocolates, jams and amazing baked goods, many of them gluten free. Local potters, quilters, jewelry makers and more offer goods for sale. Open every Saturday from 8AM until noon, the market has ample parking available. You can check to see what’s available at local markets each week at the FromHere website, part of ASAP, the Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Program.
Another way to experience all our small farms have to offer is to go on a Farm Tour. ASAP just held their annual farm tour this month, but other tours are available all season long. You can visit historic farms like the farm at the Biltmore Estate or the Historic Johnson Farm in Hendersonville or active working farms like Hickory Nut Gap Farm or the Orchard at Altapass right on the Blue Ridge Parkway. RomanticAsheville.com has a great guide to farms in the area. You can also take advantage of our own Farm & Artisan’s Tour of the lush area of Sandy Mush. On the first Saturday of the month from May through October the inns of the Asheville Bed & Breakfast Association offer an exclusive self guided tour that includes a free picnic and wine tasting at Addison Farms Vineyard. See our website for details.