Fresh at Farmers Markets This Week

Pumpkins, the winter squash behind the quintessential “fall flavor,” have begun to make their entrance at area farmers tailgate markets. But how much are pumpkins really behind the symbolic autumnal flavor, and what of it’s history?
The “pumpkin flavor” ubiquitous in mainstream food culture is actually the flavor of the spices added to pumpkin pie — cloves, nutmeg, cinnamon, etc. The flavor of the pumpkin itself is rather buried and removed from the flavorings of so many of these mainstream fall foods. Furthermore, none of the spices in the traditional pumpkin pie are grown here — they’re all tropically-grown spices.
Want to experiment with all locally-grown flavors in your own homemade pumpkin pie? Try flavoring it with milk, which you can find from Mills River Creamery sold by Brittain Farmsm (West Asheville Tailgate Market and Mills River Farmers Market) honey, which you can find from Tucker’s Garden (North Asheville Tailgate Market and West Asheville Farmers Market) and ginger which you can find from Aardvark Farm (Yancey County Farmers Market and River Arts District Farmers Market, and Asheville City Market). Other ideas for local flavor for your pie: sorghum molasses, plain chevre, and/or a small bit of hot pepper.
Historically, the pumpkin pie wasn’t always what we know it to be now. Accounts lead historians to believe that the early settlers made a “pie” by stewing pumpkin, milk, and honey in the pumpkin shell over a fire. Perhaps give this a try at your next backyard bonfire!
As for the pumpkins themselves, you can find them from Root Bottom Farm (West Asheville Tailgate Market) and Long Valley Eco-Biotic Farm (Weaverville Tailgate Market and West Asheville Tailgate Market). Pumpkin pie mix from a can, is made from more types of winter squash than just pumpkin though, and almost any variety of winter squash will make a great “pumpkin” pie. Test out different pies using a range of varieties and see which you like best! Many folks throughout the region recommend candy roasters, but it’s fun to form your own opinion.
Now, to the kitchen — let the pumpkin pie making begin!
Area farmers tailgate markets take place throughout the region. Find out where farmers tailgate markets are on which days. As always, you can find information about farms, tailgate markets, and farm stands, including locations and hours, by visiting our online Local Food Guide.

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