The return of the root vegetables is imminent. Though some root veggies are around for most of the year — for example, potatoes last from midsummer harvests through their midwinter storage crops — other root vegetables come and go. Radishes and turnips have just begun to appear at farmers’ stands, and more (carrots, beets, sweet potatoes, etc) are on their way.
There are a few varieties of radishes available now. Small radishes are great for salads and slaws, and are perfect for adding spice and crunch to sandwiches. You can also cook radishes — try sauteing with butter, garlic, and greens. Find radishes from Paper Crane Farm (Asheville City Market and West Asheville Tailgate Market) as well as other farmers around the region.
B & L Organic Farm (North Asheville Tailgate Market and West Asheville Tailgate Market) has daikon radishes, as well. Daikon radishes are absolutely perfect for pickling. Quick pickling daikons is as easy as pouring brine (1:1 vinegar and water, with some sugar and salt) over the radishes in a jar and chilling in the fridge for a couple of hours. It makes a great garnish or side dish to barbequed or grilled meats.
Ten Mile Farm (River Arts District Farmers Market and Asheville City Market) and Aardvark Farm (Asheville City Market, Yancey County Farmers Market, and River Arts District Farmers Market) have Harukai turnips (also called salad turnips). These are great in salads if you like that raw spicy bite, but they’re also great cooked. As soon as they’re cooked they become so sweet — just slice them and saute or roast with a little soy sauce or salt.
Celeriac — a variety of celery cultivated for its root vegetable — is still available from Gaining Ground Farm (North Asheville Tailgate Market and River Arts District Farmers Market). Celeriac has such a unique and wonderful flavor. It’s a great addition cooked and incorporated into mashed potatoes, but it’s superb on its own, as well.
Each week farmers have a wide array of fruits and vegetables. In addition to produce, you can always find a range of meats, cheeses, eggs, breads, baked goods, value added items, fresh flowers, and other treats!
Area farmers tailgate markets take place throughout the region. As always, you can find information about farms, tailgate markets, and farm stands, including locations and hours, by visiting ASAP’s online Local Food Guide.