Fresh at Farmers Markets This Week

Warming, wholesome, and hearty — soup is the perfect meal as the temperature continues to drop, and area farmers tailgate markets are full of inspirational ingredients for a perfect pot of soup.

There are infinite ways to prepare soups. Starting with a base of stock or broth is common. What’s the difference between broth and stock? Broth is cooked for a short time (max two hours), with a higher ratio of meat to bones, and the goal is to create a light, flavorful liquid for making soups with. Stock can be a mix of meat and bone and is cooked for a medium length of time (four to eight hours), and the goal is to extract the collagen to create a thick base for creating sauces, soups, and other dishes. Visit a meat farm such as Dry Ridge Farm (Asheville City Market, West Asheville Tailgate Market, and River Arts District Farmers Market) to ask about which soup bones they have at market that day.
If you’re cooking vegetarian, you can skip the meat broths and head straight for the vegetables, namely aromatics. Aromatics is a cooking term referring to finely chopped vegetables cooked in hot oil (or other fats such as butter) at the beginning of a dish that create the base of flavors infusing the rest of the recipe. They’re another opportunity to create a base for your soup. The French “mirepoix,” the Cajun “Holy Trinity,” or the Italian “soffrito,” are some of the most familiar today. Both the Italian and French use celery, onions, and carrots (differing only in their choice of butter or olive oil) while the Cajun variation uses celery, onions, and bell peppers. Find carrots from farms such as Paper Crane Farm (Asheville City Market, West Asheville Tailgate Market), celery from Long Valley Eco-Biotic Farm (West Asheville Tailgate Market and Weaverville Tailgate Market), and Ten Mile Farm (Asheville City Market and River Arts District Farmers Market).
Once you have your bases covered you can move on to the hearty ingredients that make up the soup. Perhaps you want to puree winter squash to add to the broth. Or make your soup spicy using dried peppers from Sleight Family Farm (Asheville City Market and West Asheville Tailgate Market) or ginger from Aardvark Farm (Asheville City Market and River Arts District Farmers Market).
Whatever the combination of ingredients you dream up, with seasoning, attention, and care, you can make a soup sure to warm your family, friends, and guests on dark chilly evenings.
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.

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