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Fresh at Farmers Markets This Week

It’s time to get to the bottom of things at area farmers tailgate markets, the bottom of plants, that is. Root vegetables are flourishing this fall, and there’s quite a variety of them! But not all root vegetables are actually roots, exactly. Roots can be true roots, as well as tubers, rhizomes, corms, and bulbs, which technically don’t function as roots, so much as underground stems.

There are many true roots now that are phenomenal fall fare including white sweet potatoes from Highgate Farm, which you can find at the the Weaverville Tailgate Market, as well as the Weaverville and Black Mountain holiday markets. White sweet potatoes have an entirely different flavor than orange sweet potatoes- one that is less floral, and slightly sweeter.

Turnips, including white, scarlet, and purple-topped turnips are all over markets, including Flying Cloud Farm’s table (River Arts District Farmers Market, Asheville City Market, North Asheville Tailgate Market). Rutabaga, part of the same family as turnips, but with a less bitter, more sweet flavor, and less fibrous texture, are available from Gaining Ground Farm (River Arts District Farmers Market, Asheville City Market, North Asheville Tailgate Market). Very few farms grow and sell rutabaga, but they’re a fantastic addition to your fall menu.

Radishes are another true root that are piled high at farmers’ stands. There are still summer radish varieties available in shades of red, white, and more. There are also winter varieties now, including black radishes. Pete, from Blue Ribbon Farm (Asheville City Market and River Arts District Farmers Market) is happy to tell you about the different radish varieties he has to try; he has a range of varieties with many flavor profiles and an assortment of colors.

Daikon radishes have become popular for their crisp, mild flavor, but these winter radishes are not all the same. While they share similar characteristics, Daikons can include a variety of winter radishes from Asia. Farmers in the region, including Meadow Cove Farm (Madison County Farmers Market), grow different varieties of Daikons from farm to farm. To find out more, ask farmers what they’re growing next time you’re at a farmers tailgate market.

West Asheville Tailgate Market is hosting an “Exotic Fall Fusion” market feast on Tuesday, November 18 at 7 pm at The Hub on Haywood Road. Amy Fariss of Nine Mile and Suzy Phillips of Gypsy Queen Cuisine will spice up the night with flavors of the Caribbean and Mediterranean, using food primarily sourced from vendors at the market to create a family style meal with live music and locally crafted microbrews, cocktails (Sovereign Remedy), and tea. Buy tickets before they sell out!

For a complete list of Appalachian Grown™ certified tailgate markets browse our online Local Food Guide or online farmers market calendar.

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