Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Western North Carolina Farmers Market -- Buying Farm Fresh Local Foods Series Part 1

Western North Carolina Farmers Market--
Buying Local. Buying Fresh! Part 1

Dana & Kenny Koogler 
Rainy Saturday July 19, 2014

     We decided instead of hike in the pouring rain all day on Saturday we'd visit the WNC
Farmers Market in Asheville, North Carolina.     Our son lived about two miles from this 
for a couple years so we got accustomed to shopping here and enjoyed it!   Asheville is an awesome
city and North Carolina is a great state!   The area out there near Hominy Creek is on the outskirts of town.
It is easy to get in and out there. It is convenient to the interstate.  

    It is worth mentioning that there are two different types of sales areas in the Farmers Market.
The buildings at the top of the hill which are the first ones you pass by are the Retail Sales Areas.
The buildings past them and behind them are the whole sale areas.  Some of the sellers in the WHOLE
Sale areas will break up veggies into smaller baskets for you and allow you to purchase a smaller quantity.
Some will not.  Some will break the sales down into peck baskets and sell you either an entire case of a 
vegetable or a peck. Nothing in between.   It depends on the seller.  Most of these sales are 
directed toward businesses who will purchase in quantities.  Some folks will run a produce stand and 
won't grow the goods themselves, but will come to the WNC Market and purchase a case of tomatoes for example and sell them at a retail price in their business.    You get a better price in the whole sale area, but you either need to be able to eat the produce fast enough, re-sell it, or preserve the food some way.
Some folks may go there and purchase a large quantity of a food and can or freeze their purchase.

     Retail sales areas are located in the upper buildings.   The prices are a little higher. The produce 
is still wonderfully fresh. You can purchase smaller quantities.  There are things for sale in the upper buildings
you won't find in the lower ones.   More perishable foods like berries will probably be in the retail areas.


Top: Part of the whole sale area is under cover. Nice on a rainy day!
Bottom: Whole sale produce split into peck baskets.  The lady would mix and match, but would not sell less than a basket per customer.  Her sales are aimed at mainly produce stand owners.   

Kenny selecting a cantaloupe for us.  

Grainger County Tomatoes from Tennessee! We bought some of these and the other type tomato 
was Cherokee Purple tomatoes.  I like both!  Cherokee Purple is an heirloom tomato. I ate tomatoes until my mouth was so sore inside AND out!

Colorful umbrellas in another area of the whole sale produce market. 

One thing we did not get that I want to try before Summers end?  Sangria watermelon!
It is an old variety with seeds. I don't mind seeds! That is how watermelon was when I was a kid!
I all we purchased cucumbers, crook neck squash, a cantaloupe, and two varieties of tomato.

     Other things you may find in the retail area in the top buildings? Fresh cheeses, butter, handmade wreaths, holiday decorations, hand sewed goods, knit goods and textiles, pottery.
Jewelry, art,  unique clothing, gourd crafts, delicious foods, books... the list is almost endless.
One of my other favorite parts of the farmers market is Jesse Israel & Sons Garden Center
The prices there on the plants are on the high side.  It is upscale to be sure.  They do have 
good savings on some items though!  Their cement bird baths are a great deal.  I've priced them
other places and its hard to beat their consistent selection, quality and price.  I bought a bird bath
last Summer as part of my birthday present.  I also got a great deal on a table top fountain.
They carry unique items and hard to find things.  I purchased my first piece of Elizabeth Keith 
red clay artwork.  I had wanted a piece for over a year. I finally got it!

Top & Bottom-- various blooming plants and herbs at Jesse Israel Garden Center in the WNC Farm Market.

       I had a grand time here today.  I will post some photos of garden plants that came from Mills River NC which is where my friend Cathy lives! I am a country gal so it tickles me to be
in the mountains in agriculture paradise!   I will will also post some recipes made from the things purchased during the trip.     

     Support your local economy and farms by purchasing local when you can!
Your tummy, your health and your palate will benefit. 
Try the Moose Cafe' up on the hill which is part of the WNC Farm Market too!
We've eaten there several times. It is always good. 

Honeycomb yellow butterfly bush. I had one of these at my Virginia house. I think I need another one for Tennessee!

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