For many visitors, a vacation in Asheville, N.C. includes tasting some fresh, farm-to-table food. The local culture supports small farms in a variety of ways. Shoppers will find fresh local produce at health food stores, such as Green Life and Earth Fare, the French Broad Co-Op on Biltmore Avenue, and even in grocery stores throughout the area. Restaurant owners also purchase locally grown food, eggs and meat products and serve it fresh in their establishments, often advertising their farm-to-table fare.
Many consumers realize that produce fresh from the farm tastes more delicious than fruit, vegetables and herbs that have traveled from a distance and/or have sat on the shelf for a while. Another benefit to buying local produce and other products is the purchase supports the small farmer. If food is purchased at a tailgate market, the consumer may actually even pay the farmer directly. Some consumers derive a great deal of satisfaction from this, and continue their support throughout the growing season.
Visitors have a variety of options for sourcing locally grown food in Asheville. This article will include a short list of farmers markets and tailgate markets in Asheville where farm-to-table food can be found.
WNC Farmers Market
Right in the heart of South Asheville is the Western North Carolina Farmers Market, located on Route 191. This market is open year round and caters to restaurant owners as well as the general public. Food can be purchased in bulk here, or in smaller amounts. The WNC Farmers Market is an open-air market, with some indoor space where vendors may sell their products. If you would rather have someone else prepare locally grown food, stop off at the Moose Café, right next door to the Farmers Market, where farm-to-table food is served everyday.
Tailgate Markets in Asheville, N.C.
Tailgate markets are an intimate setting for the purchase of locally grown and made foods. The term tailgate market was coined to denote producer only markets. These farmers and craftspeople travel from their locations into Asheville to sell food they have grown and transported in their own vehicle.
Attending a tailgate market is a great way to become familiar with the culture of the Southern Appalachians. Expect to sample some mouth-watering food, have something to drink, and listen to some live mountain music. The ambience of tailgate markets is lighthearted and friendly. People in the neighborhood often attend on a regular basis and come out to support the farmers and catch up with each other in this casual, outdoor setting.
In most cases, tailgate markets provide the visitor the opportunity to speak directly to the farmer or craftsperson that grew the food or made the item being purchased.
This is a list of tailgate markets in the City of Asheville. There are many other markets outside of Asheville. One tailgate market in each geographic section of Asheville is listed for convenience.
Asheville City Market (Downtown), 161 S. Charlotte Street
Open April 7- December 15
Saturdays 8 a.m.-1 p.m.
French Broad Co-Op Tailgate Market (Downtown), 70 Biltmore Avenue
Wednesdays, 2-6 p.m.
Asheville City Market (South), 2 Town Square Blvd., Biltmore Park, Town Square
Open May 2 – Oct. 31st
Wednesdays 2-6 p.m.
East Asheville Tailgate Market, 945 Tunnel Road (Upper Parking Lot of Groce Methodist Church)
Fridays, 3-6 p.m.
West Asheville Tailgate Market, 718 Haywood Road, Grace Baptist Church parking lot
Tuesdays, 3:30 -6:30 p.m.
North Asheville Tailgate Market, University of North Carolina Asheville Campus, Lower Level of Two Level Parking Lot C
Saturdays, 8 a.m. – noon
Do not miss the opportunity to attend a farmers market or tailgate market when visiting Asheville. Supporting local farmers is an integral part of the Asheville lifestyle and is a unique characteristic of life in this mountain town. For more information on other tailgate markets in WNC, consult the Local Food Guide: http://buyappalachian.org/.
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