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Fresh at Farmers Markets This Week

Celery, one of the more limited veggies to be found at area farmers tailgate markets, is here now! Celery is limited in the length of its harvest season as well as how many farms grow and sell it. There are cooking applications that celery is used in that make its appearance at market particularly exciting — one of which as an ingredient in aromatics.

Aromatics is a cooking term referring to finely chopped vegetables cooked in hot oil (or other fats such as butter) at the beginning of a dish that create the base of flavors infusing the rest of the recipe. They’re fairly ubiquitous throughout history, as well as cross-culturally, as an element of cooking from scratch, with many distinct variations.

The French “mirepoix,” the Cajun “Holy Trinity,” or the Italian “soffrito,” are some of the most familiar today. Both the Italian and French use celery, onions, and carrots (differing only in their choice of butter or olive oil) while the Cajun variation uses celery, onions, and bell peppers.

Find celery from B & L Organic Farm (West Asheville Tailgate Market and North Asheville Tailgate Market), onions from Aardvark Farm (Yancey County Farmers Market, River Arts District Farmers Market, and Asheville City Market) and carrots from Gaining Ground Farm (Asheville City Market, North Asheville Tailgate Market, and River Arts District Farmers Market). Many other farms will have each of these, so check out a market by you to see who has ‘em!

In other cultures there are a wide range of combinations of vegetables for aromatics — not to mention all of the regional and family variations. Basic combinations usually include three or four ingredients, but any base can be supplemented with more vegetables, depending on the culture and the recipe, including (but certainly not limited to) scallions, leeks, shallots, parsnips, garlic, fruits such as raisins or apples, chiles, tomatoes, and more. You can also freeze aromatics and add them to any dish at any time of year, no matter the seasonal availability of the produce.

For some recipes, you may even want to add meats to your aromatic combination. Stop by one of the local farms at market selling meat such as A Way of Life Farm (River Arts District Farmers Market) and Dry Ridge Farm (West Asheville Tailgate Market, River Arts District Farmers Market, and Asheville City Market) to pick up pork belly or other such meats to add.

Area farmers tailgate markets take place throughout the region. Find out where farmers tailgate markets are on which days. As always, you can find information about farms, tailgate markets, and farm stands, including locations and hours, by visiting our online Local Food Guide.

 

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