Fresh at Farmers Markets This Week

As we wait to see how last week’s snow storm will affect field crops and hoop houses, now might be a good time to explore some of the storage veggies at winter farmers markets, like sweet potatoes, cabbage, and winter squash. We have a couple of ideas to make the most of the winter squash varieties still available from several farms—including butternut from Sleight Family Farm, kabocha from Lee’s One Fortune Farm, and acorn from Highgate Farm. Look for Sleight at ASAP Farmers Market, Highgate at River Arts District Farmers Market, and the Lees at both markets.

You can use any of these varieties of squash for risotto, which makes a satisfyingly cozy meal for winter nights. Rice from Lee’s One Fortune Farm works great in risotto, and you might also find onion, garlic, and herbs at markets now. You need about two cups of squash, peeled and cubed. In a large skillet or wide pot, gently sauté a diced onion for a few minutes. Add squash and cook for another six to eight minutes. Add two minced garlic cloves and one cup of rice. You can also add herbs like rosemary or sage, if you want. Cook for one minute, then add half a cup of white wine. (Note: If you prefer not to use wine, you can add a few drops of lemon or lime juice to half a cup of broth for this step.) Cook until the liquid is almost gone. Using about three-fourths of a cup at a time, gradually add a quart of warmed vegetable or chicken broth, cooking until liquid is absorbed before adding more. Keep cooking and adding liquid until squash is tender and rice is creamy. Season with salt and pepper. Garnish with herbs and your choice of cheese, such as grated Parmesan or crumbled goat cheese.
Or opt for a hearty winter take on panzanella—i.e., bread salad. Slightly stale leftover farmers market bread makes great croutons. Tear or cut bread into bite-sized pieces, about six cups. Toss with a fourth cup of melted butter, then spread on a baking sheet and toast in the oven. Toss four cups of cubed squash with olive oil, salt, and pepper, and roast until lightly caramelized, about 15 minutes in a 400-degree oven. Let squash and croutons come to room temperature. Combine with other desired ingredients, such as red onion, radicchio, brussels sprout leaves, apples, or pears. Make a dressing with sherry, balsamic, or red wine vinegar and olive oil. Add a splash of maple syrup, if you want a little more sweetness. Toss the salad ingredients in the dressing and serve.
Area farmers tailgate markets take place throughout the region, even in the winter. 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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