Fresh at Farmers Markets This Week

NOTE: Asheville City Market and North Asheville Tailgate Market are canceled for Saturday, Jan. 20, due to unsafe temperatures. Both markets will return Jan. 27.

Despite the below freezing temperatures, midweek farmers markets will still be open with plenty of delicious fresh produce and artisan products! Visit River Arts District Farmers Market or Weaverville Tailgate Market this Wednesday before heading back to Saturday markets next week.

In addition to the root crops available at markets, winter greens also get their moment to stand out at this time of year! You can find a plethora of robust winter greens varieties like spinach, arugula, chard, collards, bok choy, cabbage, and broccoli at markets right now,  from farms like Lee’s One Fortune Farm, Stump Farms, Winter Greens Farm, Seven Seven Seeds Farm, Smallholding Farm, Ten Mile Farm, Highgate Farm, and Gaining Ground Farm.

Winter greens are loved for their nutritional value and versatility in cooking. They can be braised and enjoyed by themselves, thrown into soups for additional flavor, used as the base of a salad, added to a stir fry or pasta dish, folded into your morning omelet or frittata, and much, much more! While there’s endless ways to incorporate these veggies into your diet this season, you may want to try some new recipes to avoid growing tired of winter greens this season. 

As we find ourselves spending a little more time indoors this week, try making a delicious spanakopita! The Greek pastry is a nutritious, satisfying, comforting, and vegetarian way to use your greens. Start by thawing 15 sheets (about one box) of filo pastry if frozen, but leave in the fridge until you’re ready to use. Wash about two pounds worth of winter greens (a mix of chard, spinach, kale, arugula, or whatever you have on hand). Discard any thick stems, then roughly chop together and set aside. In a wide pan, heat a tablespoon of olive oil over medium-low heat, then cook one chopped onion and five cloves of minced garlic, until the onion is soft and translucent. Add three tablespoons of chopped parsley and two tablespoons of chopped dill, and cook for another 30 seconds. Add the washed greens and a teaspoon of salt, then continue to cook until the greens are completely wilted and soft. Add the contents of the pan into a colander and drain any excess liquid. 

Once the greens are cooled and thoroughly drained, roughly chop again and scoop into a large mixing bowl. Add one egg, one cup of feta cheese, three-fourths cups of ricotta, and a quarter teaspoon of nutmeg to the bowl and mix ingredients together. Brush the bottom of a sheet tray with melted butter, add one sheet of the filo pastry, brush again with butter, then repeat this about ten more times. After ten layers, spread the greens and cheese mixture on top, leaving about a one centimeter gap around the sides. Add another layer of pastry, brush with butter, then sprinkle a tablespoon of parmesan cheese. Repeat this layer one more time, then top with one final layer of pastry, brush with butter then finish off with a sprinkle of sesame seeds. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes at 350 degrees, then enjoy your homemade pastry! 

Not a fan of cabbage? Or just not sure what to do with it? No problem! You can use the leaves as lettuce wraps, prepare a fresh slaw for a taco night, make a kimchi or sauerkraut, or you can try making some delicious cabbage pancakes! Okonomiyaki, a Japanese savory pancake, is an easy and fun way to take advantage of the abundance of cabbage at markets this season. Simply mix together half a head of a finely shredded cabbage, one-and-one-quarter cups of chopped scallions, one cup of panko breadcrumbs, a pinch of salt, and three eggs. Heat a bit of olive oil over in a skillet over medium heat, then scoop out a quarter cup of the pancake batter onto the pan at a time, flattening gently with a spatula, and cooking about three minutes per side, until you’ve used the rest of the mixture. Garnish your pancakes with a bit of spicy mayo, soy sauce, sesame seeds, or microgreens, and enjoy!

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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