While sweet potatoes are typically available year round, we’re starting to see more vendors bring the root crop to markets as we make our way into fall! The mild, sweet flavor of this vegetable pairs wonderfully with autumnal warming spices like ginger, nutmeg, cinnamon, and cloves, making it a perfect seasonal comfort food. You can find sweet potatoes from Ten Mile Farm (Asheville City Market), Highgate Farm (River Arts District, West Asheville, and Black Mountain markets), and more growers in the coming weeks!
Made-from-scratch, fresh pasta is easier to prepare than you think! Try your hand at making your own pasta with this simple, three-ingredient gnocchi using local sweet potatoes. Start by poking a few holes in two medium-sized sweet potatoes. Bake them at 400 degrees for 40 to 50 minutes until tender. Combine two cups of all-purpose or gluten-free flour and two teaspoons of salt, then pour your flour mixture onto a large surface, making a well in the middle of the flour. Once your sweet potatoes have cooled, remove the skins and mash with a fork in a large bowl, until there are little to no lumps left. Flour your hands and slowly begin to work the mashed sweet potatoes into the flour, adding additional flour if needed until the dough is no longer sticky. Once fully combined, roll the dough into a ball, and cut into 8 even pieces. Roll each section into a one-half inch thick, long log, then cut one-inch gnocchi pieces. You can either store your fresh gnocchi pasta in the refrigerator for three days, freeze for a few weeks, or cook right away! To cook sweet potato gnocchi, bring a large pot of salted water to a rolling boil, then add your pasta. Once the gnocchi floats to the surface, continue cooking for another 30 seconds, and remove from water. Serve with your pasta sauce of choice and enjoy!
Sweet potatoes can be used for breakfast too! These sweet potato and apple pancakes are a delicious way to sneak some fruits and vegetables into an everyday dish that kids and adults alike will enjoy. Start by combining two tablespoons of melted coconut oil, half a cup of sweet potato puree, one small diced apple, one egg, two tablespoons of maple syrup, half a teaspoon of vanilla extract, and one cup of milk. Stir in one cup of all-purpose flour, half a teaspoon of baking powder, half a teaspoon of baking soda, one teaspoon of cinnamon, and half a teaspoon of nutmeg until combined. Heat a bit of oil in a pan over medium heat, and spoon one-fourth cup of the batter onto the pan. Cook for about two minutes each side, and serve with maple syrup and your fruit of choice! You can find apples for this recipe from Creasman Farms (West, North, and Asheville City markets), Bright Branch Farms (East Asheville Tailgate Market) and McConnell Farms (North Asheville Tailgate Market).
At farmers markets now you’ll also find apples, pears, okra, tomatoes, peppers, winter squash, garlic, onions, potatoes, beets, leafy greens, mushrooms, fresh herbs and much more. Markets are stocked with a variety of meats, cheese, rice, pasta, bread, drinks, and prepared foods. Find more details about farms and markets throughout the region in ASAP’s online Local Food Guide at appalachiangrown.org.