Farmers, especially those here in our region, are remarkable. They’re up against so many odds, and they still deliver the most exquisite — in both flavor and aesthetics — produce, meats, cheeses, and more to area farmers tailgate markets each week.
Brussels sprouts are incredibly hard to come by here in the Southern Appalachian mountains. According to farmers, they’re very challenging to grow. They’re pesky plants prone to pests, take up a lot of space and a long period to grow, and they need cool weather to mature to their best potential.
Brussels sprouts are more suitable for the Pacific Northwest, and so when a farmers grows and harvests them here in the Southeast, it’s something to get excited about! Right now find brussels sprouts from Aardvark Farm at Yancey County Farmers Market, River Arts District Farmers Market, and Asheville City Market.
Parsnips (also uncommon to find here) are to carrots as sweet potatoes are to potatoes; they have a more rich, complex flavor than carrots, but are similar to them in their shape and texture, as well as in their balance of sweet and savory. Aardvark Farm has parsnips available now.
Turmeric root is prized for its health benefits and its strong color and flavor, and has been used in dishes across the world and throughout history. Find turmeric from Aardvark Farm and Jah Works Farm (Asheville City Market). But what can you do with it?
- Make teas with it. Cut fresh turmeric and ginger and boil in water for 10-15 minutes to create strong, delicious, and immune-boosting tea.
- Use it to flavor marinades and soups. A bit of grated or pureed turmeric goes a long way, and can add great color and flavor to any dish.
- Make a turmeric omelette. Just grate turmeric into the egg mixture before cooking it.
In our region we have a longer growing season than most other parts of the country. With that said, farmers at area tailgate markets are still employing season extension practices to provide some of our favorite fruits and veggies for as long as possible. Find tomatoes, peppers, and even some summer squash from farmers still growing these in greenhouses.
Next time you’re at area farmers tailgate markets, take in the wonder of what’s been accomplished by the farmers, and if you feel like it, let them know you find it inspiring.
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.