March 29, 2012

Asheville Farmer's Markets Season Openings + Ramps Recipe

Springtime means the return of fresh goodies at Asheville area Farmer's Markets! Collards, kale, and chard will be the most prevalent farm fresh foods in season, along with market staples, like local meat, eggs, and honey.

Flowers Aplenty at the Farmer's Market

Get your garden starts and flowers
A great way to get your flower or vegetable garden going is with some locally grown starts. Market will be full of baby tomato and pepper plants, along with herbs and other veggies. And the flowering plants are always a treat to see with their array of colors ready to spruce up your yard! If you're vacationing in the area, stay at a Carolina Morning's vacation rental cabin so you'll have deck or driveway space where you can keep your starts until you head home.

Where and when to go to market
There's a farmer's market for every side of Asheville, and they're all having their season openings in the coming weeks. The French Broad Food Co-op Wednesday Tailgate Market serves the downtown area and opens on April 4th. Asheville City Market is every Saturday on Charlotte Street and opens April 7th. The West Asheville Tailgate Market takes place on Tuesdays on Haywood Street and opens April 10th. For more area listings, visit From Here's website.

Can you handle eating ramps?
Not from around here? Then you may have never heard of ramps, a mountain variety of wild leeks that have long been celebrated by Appalachian residents as one of the first signs spring. Some say ramps are an acquired taste; they have a pungent garlic and onion flavor. You're not likely to find them in the store, but if you come across ramps at a farmer's market, here's a favorite Southern way to eat them:

Ramps: Sticky or Delicious?

Ramps with Bacon
Start with a pound of ramps. Clean and cut the white stem and bulb into bite-size pieces. Boil them in salted water for 3-5 minutes. Meanwhile, fry up some bacon. Remove the bacon from the skillet and dice it. Drain the ramps and then add them to the hot bacon fat. Season with black pepper and fry them until tender. Drain. Mix the ramps up with the diced bacon and serve with eggs and biscuits.

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