Now that spring is here, local farmers and tailgate markets are opening all across Western North Carolina. Each farmers market is different. But at every one, shoppers can meet the farmers and put a face to the growers of the food they eat. Visiting the markets can also be an inexpensive and fun family outing.
If you’re new to WNC or you’re a local who doesn’t always have the time, we invite you to explore our many local farmers markets this season. There are many reasons why you will fall in love with the experience. Here are just a few:
Farmers Markets Make Healthy Living Easy
Our rich communities and surrounding mountains offer myriad wellness opportunities. But when you’re too busy to focus on your fitness, you can always count on fresh and tasty produce grown just down the road. Farmers markets are filled to the brim with seasonal organic fruits, vegetables, and more that make healthy eating both fun and delicious. (The area’s many farm-to-table restaurants also bring quality nourishment straight to your table.) All you have to do is pick out what looks good to you that day!
At Farmers Markets, You Know Where Your Food Comes From
When you shop at your local farmers market, you never have to worry about whether your dinner will be impacted by international trade disputes, interstate commerce, or national food poisoning outbreaks. You know your food only traveled from a handful of miles away and came straight to the market. You’ve met the farmers who grow the crops. You know them by name, and they know you, too. Plus, some local products, especially honey, can help alleviate allergies specific to the region.
It’s Not Just Vegetables at Farmers Markets
There are almost limitless possibilities to the local, organic, and handmade products you can find at your local farmers market! On any given day in WNC, you’ll see local cheeses, meats, mushrooms, and fish. You can sample prepared products like pickles, kombucha, or pastries. Local artisans bring jewelry, pottery, clothing, soaps, and homegoods. Through the spring and summer, you can find plant starts, herbs, potted non-invasives, and fresh flower bouquets. And at the end of the season, fresh holiday wreaths will be on display. It’s one-stop shopping at its best!
You can “Support Local” at Farmers Markets
Farms are the original industry for folks who want to shop local. As if supporting local farmers directly wasn’t great enough, when you support your local farmers, you also support all the artisans who depend on their products to make their own wares. Plus, many local farms implement sustainable practices. Bottom line: buying locally grown food helps mountain farmers remain in business, enhances the economy of rural communities, and lessens the environmental impact of food consumption. Supporting local farms means supporting all local businesses from the ground up—literally!
You’ll Meet Your Neighbors at the Farmers Market
Farmers markets could just as easily be called community markets (and many are!). Your regular ramble through the farmers market takes you by booths staffed by local business owners and employees who live and work in your community. Local musicians often come out to set the mood. And everyone else from the neighborhood is there to shop. When you’re a farmers market regular, you get to know the crowd. And over time, you realize it’s not a crowd at all—it’s your community.
It’s Easy to Enjoy the Season at the Farmers Market
Farmers markets are often busy, bustling environments—especially at many of the popular markets across WNC. But if you take a moment to smell the in-season flowers, listen to the breeze in the trees, and look up to feel the spring sun on your face, you’ll relish the season. It may be the next best thing to working in the loamy soil yourself. We’re kidding, but it is a wonderful way to begin or end a day outdoors.
You can Try Something New at the Farmers Market
Farmers market booths are chock-a-block with fruits, vegetables, foodstuffs, and other products. If you want to expand your palate or your worldview, it’s the place to go. Make your next trip a gastronomical adventure! Sample kefir. Explore elixirs. Purchase a bulb of celeriac. If any of these terms are new to you, good! Local farmers want to share their knowledge of the wide variety of products they have available. Take them up on the offer.
Find the Closest WNC Farmers Market to You
There are dozens of WNC farmers markets ramping up for their spring season. Grab your tote bag or basket and find one near you!
For a list and schedule of tailgate markets in Western North Carolina and beyond, visit appalachiangrown.org.