Fresh at Farmers Markets This Week

There were a limited number of local turkeys available from Appalachian Grown farms this year, and those sold out by the end of October. So what if you didn’t reserve your bird early, but still want a local meat centerpiece for your Thanksgiving dinner? If you’re willing to get a little creative, you can find alternatives at farmers tailgate markets. (Planning a vegan or vegetarian feast? Stay tuned for next week’s column for ideas.)

Quail is at the opposite end of the spectrum from turkey in terms of size, but you still get delectable, juicy dark meat similar to the flavor of turkey legs. If you have an abundance of side dishes, you can serve just one quail per person, though two each would be a full entree portion. Quail is quick and easy to cook—just rub with olive oil, salt, and pepper, and roast at 500 degrees for 10 to 12 minutes. You can also brine them the night before, rub with your favorite spice or herb mix, and even cook on top of your bread or rice stuffing. Look for quail from The Wild Way Farm at West Asheville Tailgate Market or Caitlyn Farms at the Enka-Candler Tailgate Holiday Market this Saturday and Sunday only. Still prefer a bigger bird? Dillingham Family Farm (Weaverville Tailgate Market) has whole chickens available. 
Sausage and bacon are often supporting players on Thanksgiving, but they absolutely pack enough flavor to be the main event. Consider skipping poultry  altogether and letting your stuffing or dressing take center stage. (Serve it in a pumpkin to give it more visual appeal.) Our favorite recipe is a classic and you can get everything you need at markets now—Italian sausage, apples, onion, celery, garlic, parsley, sage, crusty bread, and eggs. Look for sausage and bacon from Hickory Nut Gap Farm at North Asheville Tailgate Market, Warren Wilson College Farm at ASAP Farmers Market, or Cove Creek Farm at the Enka-Candler Tailgate Holiday Market.
Ready to depart from tradition altogether? Serve hazelnut-crusted lamb chops! You can get local hazelnuts right now from Full Sun Farm (North Asheville Tailgate Market) and various cuts of lamb from Warren Wilson College Farm or Sugar Hollow Farm (North Asheville and River Arts District markets). Toast the hazelnuts lightly first to remove the skins, then chop them in a food processor along with whole coriander and cumin. Season lamb chops with salt and pepper and sear them in olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Cook until browned, about two minutes on each side. Dredge chops in the hazelnut crust. Serve over an arugula salad with local goat cheese and persimmons from Lee’s One Fortune Farm (ASAP, Black Mountain, West Asheville, and River Arts District markets).
At markets now you can also find carrots, beets, fennel, turnips, radishes, broccoli, cauliflower, potatoes, mushrooms, lettuce, and hardy greens like kale, collards, arugula, chard, and mustard. Markets are also stocked with farm-fresh eggs, cheese, rice, pasta, bread, pastries, drinks, and prepared foods. There are more than 100 farmers tailgate markets throughout the Appalachian Grown region. Find them, as well as farms and other local food businesses, in ASAP’s online Local Food Guide.

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