The Amazing (though small) MARS HILL Tailgate Market.
You may not be able to tell from this photo, but it is right on the campus of Mars Hill College!
This college is a bit of history in and of itself! . It is a liberal arts college founded WAY back in 1856.(For more on the college and Mars Hill, see my college and small towns around Asheville series.)
Summer's here, the mountainsides are blooming and the dear old trees are deepening to even deeper shades of green.
Coming into Mars Hill, I spot the tailgate market just over the hill. Now it occurs to me. . .I love the idea of sustainable agriculture and sustainable practices that bring organic fruits and vegetables to the tailgate markets in and around Asheville.
Today, there appear to be just about twenty vendors down in a sheltered parking lot on Mars Hill College Campus Drive. Small can be good, you know. Gives one a chance to be neighborly. Suddenly, I'm wondering what it looked like back in 1856. ..and who was talking with whom WAY back then.
Speculation aside, it is obvious that this tailgate market, though smaller than those I've told you about in previous posts (Asheville City Market and UNCA sponsored tailgate market), still has much to offer. There is, for one thing, that special quality that gives the market experience a particular and pleasing atmosphere. You could say it is a "human scale" delight. Reconnecting with the land and meeting the people means so much to me...how about you?
FINDS: Good organic produce here-tomatoes, cukes, squash and blueberries, and my favorite-of-all-time chevre from Spinning Spider Creamery. Don't miss this! Outstanding crafts, bedding plants , jams and jellies are here, too...and baked goods that satisfy the hunger for authentic ingredients and baking that feeds the spirit.
Gail Lunsford from Wake Robin Farm Breads is one of the regular vendors. . She does her baking in a wood-fired brick oven on a farm that's been in the family for 150 years. Wake Robin Farm is out in the Sandy Mush Community. (More on this in another post) Good to know that if you live in the Greater Asheville area, or you are visiting, you can find Gail's breads at the tailgate markets at UNCA and at the French Broad Food Co-op.
Tomorrow I'm going to pack a picnic basket for LPS with apples, bread, and an out-of-this-world jam from an "old-timer" at the market. Maybe I'll toss in some decadent cookies and white peaches....
All the Asheville area Tailgate Markets are mentioned in the Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project's Local Food Guide. the Guide lists:
· 180 family farms
· 38 apple orchards
· 36 U-pick farms
· 20 Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) farms
· 31 farm tourism destinations
· 20 roadside farm stands
· 8 wineries
• 39 farmers' tailgate markets
Madison County Farmers & Artisans Markets : Mars Hill Tailgate Market
Madison County, NC Farms "Nestled in the mountains of Western North Carolina, Madison County is home to over 1500 rural, family farms. From farm tours, pick-your-own berries, choose and cut Christmas trees, and horseback riding, Madison County offers many things to see, do and buy...."
RESEARCH--Fascinating Madison County History! It's a good-guess that my friend the well-known author D. Silver will be delving into some research on Madison County...maybe from the College Campus (see photo)
THAT should prove to be a good read on Mars Hill and Madison County history in the not too distant future. The Silvers, by the way, are stewards of 20+ amazing acres in Madison County. I'm thrilled that the ECO TEAM at Our Firm found the acreage with vocal stream and oak barn for them.
Bascom Lamar Lunsford Mountain Heritage Festival The 41st annual Bascom Lamar Lunsford "Minstrel of Appalachia" Festival will take place October 4, 2008 on the campus of Mars Hill College from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m (Look for my post on this event!! Some time in October, 2008)
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