Kids "Busy Bee" Scavenger Hunt at North Asheville Tailgate Market - TribPapers

Kids “Busy Bee” Scavenger Hunt at North Asheville Tailgate Market

We're ready to go on this scavenger hunt for pollinators. Photo courtesy of Phyllis Stiles.

Asheville – The North Asheville Tailgate Market on the UNCA campus brings a number of local, sustainably produced eggs, cheeses, produce, meats, breads, plants, prepared foods, and crafts to be purchased straight from a local farm. This market gathers some of the best farmers, craftsmen, and bakers in the area. For the summer months, it is open Saturday mornings from 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. in the upper parking lot (P28) of the UNCA campus.

See what we found at the NATM during the scavenger hunt. Photo courtesy of Phyllis Stiles.
See what we found at the NATM during the scavenger hunt. Photo courtesy of Phyllis Stiles.

For even more excitement, on May 13th, the market is hosting Pollinator Day. So be sure to bring some youngsters, as they will enjoy an educational scavenger hunt. Asheville GreenWorks is planning to have a “Bee City USA” booth. There will be a caterpillar zoo at the booth, as well as a costumed staff of “pollenteer” helpers. The participating kids may have bees and flowers painted on their knuckles. They will also be able to select the antennae they prefer to wear to help them smell the items on the scavenger hunt sheet. After all, antennae act as the pollinators noses! Do they want to be a bee, butterfly, fly, or beetle as they go around seeking items?

The “Busy Bee” scavenger hunt sheet the child is given includes (fresh or prepared) fruits, vegetables, and nuts for them to locate at the market and then explains how these items are pollinated by bees. The goal is to educate children, their parents, and even the vendors about the connection between pollinators and the foods they find at the market. It’s surprising to learn that many of the tailgate market vendors don’t know who pollinates their products besides honey bees.

When the children return to the booth, they report how many items they found. If there are more than five, they can choose a prize. Hopefully, a number of kids will come to the market on May 13th and choose to participate. It is a fun educational activity and will undoubtedly bring a smile to all at the Tailgate Market.


The North Asheville Tailgate Market has been in existence since 1980. It is considered one of the biggest markets in the area, having grown from 55 vendors last year to 70 this year. You will be able to find Sunburst Trout Farm, Sugar Hollow Farm, Meadowsweet Creamery, Immortal Juice Co., Hogback Ridge Herb Farm, and French Bread Pantry, to name just a few. Quality organic fresh seasonal fruits and vegetables can be easily found, as can many products that are trickier to find, such as quail, free-range chicken, rabbit, or local honey.

According to Oakley Brewer, who has been the executive director of the NATM for 2 years, this market does draw a large crowd from all over. Cecilia’s Culinary Food Truck is there, as are musicians on good days. Parking is plentiful in lots near P28, such as P 25, P 26, and P27.

Asheville GreenWorks

Asheville GreenWorks has managed Asheville’s Bee City USA affiliate since 2017. While there are more than 340 Bee City USA and Bee Campus USA affiliates in 46 states today, Asheville gave birth to this national program in 2012. On their website, Asheville Greenworks says, “Our native pollinators are responsible for the full shelves in our farmer’s markets and grocery store produce sections and for the livelihoods of our WNC farmers. In fact, nearly 90 percent of all flowering plants rely on pollinators to reproduce and fruit, including many of our most nutritious fruits and vegetables. Right now, they’re disappearing by the billions because of development, pesticides, and the pressures of a changing climate. In recent decades, populations of many native pollinators have plummeted—some, like monarchs, by as much as 90 percent.

Rusty-patched bumblebees, an iconic native pollinator that used to frequent Asheville backyards, are now classified as endangered species.” Taken from

As Phyllis Stiles, founder of Bee City USA and a pollinator champion, says, “With 40% of the world’s insect pollinators at risk of extinction, we can all do something to sustain our local pollinators by planting more locally native plants and avoiding pesticides. You can download a list of locally native plants, along with local suppliers for those plants that manage pests with pollinators in mind, from Asheville GreenWorks under the Pollinators section. There you will also find their pollinator habitat certification program.

June is Asheville GreenWorks’ Pollination Celebration! month, so watch GreenWorks’ website for the calendar of events for young and old. There will be another Pollinator Day at the North Asheville Tailgate Market on June 17.