Fresh at Farmers Markets This Week

Is there anything more beautiful than a bouquet of purple, pink, and red on Valentine’s Day? Of course we’re talking about veggie bouquets! Brighten your loved one’s life with an array of colorful (and healthful) foods this year. Radicchio, radishes, beets, sweet potatoes, and carrots are all in season now at winter farmers markets.  

The ruffled pink, purple, and green-speckled leaves of a small head of radicchio can be pulled back to look like a rose. Or you can tear off the leaves and use them to make a rosy-hued salad. Wash, peel, and thinly slice several small red beets. Add them to a large bowl with the torn radicchio leaves, sliced radishes, sliced red onion, and crumbled feta cheese. Toss with a vinaigrette made from one-fourth cup of olive oil, two tablespoons of red wine vinegar, one teaspoon honey, and salt and pepper to taste. Look for radicchio from Ten Mile Farm at ASAP Farmers Market. Radishes are available from several farms, including Olivette Farm or Velvet Morning Farms at ASAP Farmers Market or Highgate Farm at River Arts District Farmers Market. Highgate also has beets. Get feta from Three Graces Dairy and Spinning Spider Creamery (both at ASAP Farmers Market; Spinning Spider is also at River Arts District Farmers Market). 
Is your valentine more of a salty snacker? Make a paper cone “bouquet” filled with beet and sweet potato chips. Scrub and thinly slice beets and sweet potatoes using a sharp knife or mandolin. You want them to be about one-eighth of an inch thick. In a large pot, heat several inches of vegetable oil to 350 degrees. Fry in batches until chips begin to curl at the edges, about two to three minutes for sweet potatoes and three to four minutes for beets. Drain on paper towels and salt while they are still hot. You can bake your chips, if you prefer. Toss sliced sweet potatoes and beets in oil and salt and lay them in a single layer on baking sheets. Bake them in a 375 degree oven for about 24 minutes, rotating the trays halfway through. Get sweet potatoes from Sleight Family Farm (ASAP Farmers Market). 
For a kid-friendly veggie valentine, make heart-shaped carrot slices. Peel carrots first. Using a paring knife, cut a small v-shaped wedge out of the length of the carrot. Using either a paring knife or a vegetable peeler, shave the opposite side into a point. Slice carrot into perfectly shaped hearts! Add carrot hearts to a fresh green salad or use them as dippers with homemade buttermilk dressing. You can even cook them and use them in dishes like chicken noodle soup or sesame vegetable stir-fry. Look for multicolor carrots in orange, pink, and purple from Highgate Farm or Ten Mile Farm. 
At winter markets now you’ll also find hardy winter greens like cabbage, kale, chard, mustards, collards, and bok choy, as well as tender salad greens and microgreens. Winter squash, potatoes, turnips, and mushrooms are still available. Markets are also stocked with rice, pasta, pastries, drinks, and prepared foods. Find more details about farms and markets throughout the region, including winter hours, in ASAP’s online Local Food Guide.

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