Fresh at Farmers Markets This Week

Leaves may be turning red, orange, and yellow now that fall’s here. But leafy veggies are staying vibrant green at area farmers tailgate markets! Look for Swiss chard, head lettuce, and kale.
Kale is most tender and flavorful during the cooler months, and several varieties abound now. Need to make a fast weekday meal? Opt for Red Russian; it’s super tender and only needs a quick sauté. You can even enjoy it raw in a salad. Thinking soup? Curly kale varieties are perfect, as they need a bit more cooking time but pack a ton of flavor.

Wait! Don’t throw away the tops to those beets and turnips; they’re healthful leafy greens, too. Turnips are just joining beets in bigger numbers, and we’re hearing from farmers at the North Asheville Tailgate Market that they’re especially beautiful and delectable this season.
Soup season is officially here, too. In addition to kale, pick up celeriac, also known as celery root. You can’t miss it while shopping with vendors like Ol’ Turtle Farm at Asheville City Market: the celery stalks are attached to a large, solid bulb. Slice off the tough outer surface of the root bulb then use in creamy bisques or rich stews. Or, after boiling, mix it in with your mashed potatoes—a wide array, including sweet potatoes, are available now and will remain through the end of market season. While at Ol’ Turtle’s booth, also pick up fresh young ginger for a flavorful soup addition.
This Saturday, October 1, the Jackson County Farmers Market in Sylva will host a seed, plant, and bulb exchange from 10 am until noon (the market opens at 9 am). Bring seed saved from non-hybrid veggies or flowers, along with garlic and perennial plants that need to be divided and replanted in the fall. Also bring the kids for the market’s new weekly children’s program. The Fine Arts Museum at Western Carolina University is leading Homegrown Family Art at the Market, or Homegrown FAM. Free hands-on arts activities will run from 10-12 through the end of this season and next year.
Most area markets remain open through October with lots of fresh produce, meat, and dairy offerings, as well as gifts and crafts. Many markets run through November and into December.

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