If the winds outside this week have been any indication, this March has certainly come in like a lion. But while many of us are tucked cozily inside, distanced from the roar of the wind, there are many across Western North Carolina who have spent their days in the elements, preparing for the season to come.
Local farmers across the region have been working hard toward a successful start to this year’s growing season. They are outside in this weather sowing fields and keeping tender crops safe from the last vestiges of winter. But if the old adage holds true, the month will surely go out like a lamb, a reference to the upcoming season of rebirth and springtime prosperity.
At Beverly-Hanks, we appreciate the work our local farmers do every year to provide sustenance for ourselves and our communities. We encourage you to visit the Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project (ASAP) website to see when your local farmers and tailgate markets will reopen for the season. Patronize them and local farmers to help sustain one of our region’s cornerstone industries.
If you are not sure which local farmers markets are the best for your needs, our Beverly-Hanks agents are here to help. We asked them: Where are the best farmers markets in WNC?
We are so fortunate to have a thriving local food economy in Asheville and Western North Carolina, with so many opportunities to connect with and support our local farmers. As much as I travel around all parts of town for work, I appreciate that there are tailgate markets in all directions almost all week long for several months of the year: West Asheville on Tuesdays; two downtown, in the River Arts District, Weaverville, and right outside my office door in Biltmore Park on Wednesdays; Oakley on Thursdays; in my neighborhood in East Asheville on Fridays; and North Asheville or the downtown Asheville City Market on Saturdays. If I miss one, my go-to is Flying Cloud Farm in Fairview where I can pick up farm fresh food right at the roadside stand.
Mills River Farmers Market is located in the parking lot of Mills River Elementary School at the corner of School House Road and Banner Farm Road. You’ll find lots of very, very local produce, with herbs, vegetables, local eggs, and meat/sausage, as well. Anywhere from 15–25 vendors are there each Saturday morning from 8:00am–12:00pm starting May 6, 2017. Come on out and support the many local farmers in Mills River and be rewarded with some of the best local produce in the region.
The WNC Farmers Market on Brevard Road is awesome! The retail area features displays of high-quality fruits and vegetables, mountain crafts, jams, jellies, preserves, sourwood honey, fresh baked breads, cookies, and dozens of other farm fresh items. My wife and I love to get locally grown NC apples to make apple butter. Admission is FREE and the public is invited to enjoy the atmosphere and character of the mountains, seven days a week, all year long.
There are a couple of tailgate markets that I love to go to once the season starts. Since 1999, the Mars Hill Tailgate Market has been serving up fresh farm products and more to its visitors in a Mars Hill University parking lot just a few short blocks from Main Street. Don’t forget to sample some of the baked goods! I don’t get a chance to go to the Weaverville Tailgate Market as often, due to its being held on a Wednesday, but it’s a really nice one too. You can find it at Lake Louise behind the Community Center.
—Patricia Donnelly, Beverly-Hanks Relocation Department
The quaint town of Black Mountain has a tailgate market every Saturday from 9:00am–12:00pm during the summer months, May through October. It’s at the empty lot behind the First Baptist Church on Montreat Road, and many people in the community walk there and visit with their neighbors while buying local produce and homemade products. There is also cooked food available, so it’s a great place to eat lunch.
The Asheville City Market, a product of ASAP, will be moving to North Market Street beginning in April. This season, two full blocks in downtown Asheville will become an open street market. The outdoor Asheville City Market is held on Saturdays from April through October, 8:00am–noon. Beyond the amazing locally grown food, you’ll enjoy live music, cooking demonstrations, and more.
The South Asheville City Market, a part of ASAP, happens in the center of Biltmore Park Town Square every Wednesday afternoon from 12:00pm–4:00pm, April through October. It’s the perfect place to take care of your midweek shopping while enjoying music, food tastings, and much more.
Beverly-Hanks represents Olivette, a new home community that has its own 47-acre farm and delivers produce to their members every Wednesday. The farm is open to anyone, or you can join their CSA to receive a share of the produce every week.
—Dan Whalen, Managing Broker, NAI Beverly-Hanks
The most established, well-known, and largest farmers markets in the area are on Saturday mornings in downtown Asheville and at UNC Asheville. Asheville City Market is opening in a new location this year downtown on N. Market Street. The North Asheville Tailgate Market is in a commuter lot at UNC Asheville. Another beloved and lively local farmers market happens Tuesday afternoons in West Asheville. Tailgate market season is coming soon, beginning April 1 and running through November 18, 2017.
Hendersonville Historic Curb Market, located at 2nd Avenue and Church Street in downtown Hendersonville, features some of the finest produce in the area. Open every Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday from 8:00am–2:00pm, the market features local honey and fine jelly and preserves. Established in 1924, the Curb Market is one of oldest farmer markets in the area.
—Sonny Iler, Managing Broker, Hendersonville
If you are looking for time to slow down, enjoy a Saturday morning stroll down Courthouse Street in Columbus. At the Columbus Tailgate Market, you will find a plethora of vendors each Saturday for an amazing assortment of Polk County’s best homegrown produce, meat, cheese, eggs, honey, plants, and so much more. Come by any Saturday from 8:00am–12:00pm beginning April 8, 2017 through November 18, 2017.
One of my favorite Saturday morning activities is to go to the North Asheville Tailgate Market at UNC Asheville. I grab a breakfast crepe for me and give the kids a local pastry; it is a great way to start the weekend!
I love the Black Mountain Tailgate Market! It offers a variety of vendors for every shopper, from baked goods, coffee and tea, produce, pottery, herbs, plants, and crafts to someone that can bring your cast iron cookware back to life! It is outdoors, dog friendly, and conveniently located just behind the fire department at Black Mountain First Baptist Church.
There is no better way to begin any Saturday (8:00am–Noon) than by going to the North Asheville Tailgate Market on the beautiful campus of UNC Asheville under a canopy of trees. It is Western North Carolina’s oldest “producer” market and features over 40 farmers, chefs, bakers, growers, and artists. It is Asheville at its best, and it is a real WONDER to experience:
You wonder what new produce will be available this week?
You wonder what new fresh coffee will be on display?
You wonder what new artist or live music will be enhancing the beautiful atmosphere?
You wonder what cooking demonstration or farm-to-table ideas will be on tap?
You wonder what fun and how great the people watching and culture will be?
You wonder why you did not discover this great market sooner!
Farmers market photos submitted by Wes Hight and Bobbi Holland.