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Fresh at Farmers Markets This Week

crowd at Asheville City Market-Winter

It pays to be an early bird at Asheville City Market-Winter, which often sees a line forming outside the doors of the Asheville Masonic Temple on Saturdays before the 9am opening. Some specialty or sought-after products are in short supply, and often sell out before market’s end.

Once inside, act quickly if Lee’s One Fortune Farm has its locally grown rice available. Bags of red rice were gone before 10am this past Saturday, though the sweet sticky variety held out for a bit longer. Red rice has a nutty flavor and a high nutritional content, like more commonly available brown rice. Sweet sticky rice—also called glutinous rice, despite not containing any gluten—cooks up moist and chewy. Traditionally it’s steamed in bamboo (occasionally the farm offers samples of this preparation), but it will work in a rice cooker or stovetop pot. It’s a good choice for rice pudding or other desserts, but also goes well with curries or can be formed into rice cakes and fried.

Eggs are another product that often sells out early, although there are several vendors to try. Look for them from Dry Ridge Farm, East Fork Farm, Fiddler’s Green, or Hap Mountain Herbal. Bread and baked goods, too, can disappear quickly, especially if you have your heart set on a specific variety.

On the produce front, Lee’s One Fortune also had a very limited quantity of snow peas this past Saturday. Spinach (from Green Toe Ground) was gone within an hour. And if you’re after Pink Lady apples (Creasman Farms), those are among the first types to sell out.

While early arrival can guarantee first dibs on your produce of choice, rest assured that these early winter markets have offered enough to go around, even for late sleepers. Closer to noon, there were plenty of greens like bok choy and salad mixes, sweet potatoes, carrots, turnips, winter squash, meat (including fish), cheese, and ferments.

Area farmers tailgate markets take place throughout the region, even through 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 at appalachiangrown.org.

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