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Fresh at Farmers Markets This Week

The extraordinarily wet weather we’ve had this year has impacted farmers’ crops in various ways. One result is that some rock star produce of early October farmers markets may be late to arrive; appear in much smaller quantities than past years; or not make it at all. Among these are cauliflower, broccoli, and romanesco. What are some alternatives to these favorites that you can find flush this fall?

Kohlrabi is the best placeholder for broccoli, as it has the same taste and texture as broccoli stems. Peel the thick outside layer first, then use in any recipe you would broccoli — raw or cooked. Napa cabbage, though in the same brassica family, does not have the same texture as cauliflower or broccoli, but it can make a great slaw, or braised dish.

Also great for braising? Braising mixes, of course! These are made up of a hearty mix of dark leafy greens, such as kales, collards, choys, mustard greens, and others. And they don’t need to be braised; they can also be used in soups, stir-fries, sautees, or as a pizza topping. Visit Fiddler’s Green Farm at Asheville City Market to grab some, and keep your eye out for other farms making the mix, too.

Other green options? Sweet potato greens prove that the root of the plant, may not be the best. You’ll just have to get some for yourself to decide, though. You can cook sweet potato greens in any recipe you would use for spinach; they have a similar rich texture, but a unique flavor all their own. Find sweet potato greens from Highgate Farm (West Asheville Tailgate Market and Black Mountain Tailgate Market).

In addition to the greens mentioned above, lovely root vegetables have made their way to market this week including daikon radishes and salad turnips. Daikon radishes are a good salad topping or pickle them to balance their bitter flavor. Salad turnips, true to their name, are wonderful raw in salads, but they also really shine when sliced about a quarter inch thin and roasted in salt and olive oil until soft.

Area farmers tailgate markets take place throughout the region. 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.