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Fresh at Farmers Markets This Week

Farmers market eggs, photo by Lauren Gallagher

It’s common for chickens to slow down their laying in January and February, meaning that eggs can rise to a new level of scarcity at winter markets. If you’re looking to score a dozen (or more), it’s best to get to market early and head straight for one of the following vendors. 

At River Arts District Winter Market on Wednesdays, look for eggs from Lee’s One Fortune Farm, Lick Log Apiaries, Black Trumpet Farm, and Headshrink Farms. At Asheville City Market–Winter on Saturdays, you can find eggs from Hickory Nut Gap Farm, Lee’s One Fortune Farm, Fiddler’s Green Farm, and Dry Ridge Farm

After scaling up in 2019, Dry Ridge Farm has one of the biggest egg-laying operations around, and should be back to having enough eggs to go around in a few weeks. In the meantime, ask about their pullet eggs, which are smaller and come from hens in their first few months of laying. You’ll never find these eggs in traditional grocery stores, as they don’t conform to standard sizes, but they are often considered to be richer with brighter yolks. Pullet eggs poach or fry up beautifully, but you can also use them for baking. Just aim for a ratio of one-and-a-half pullet eggs to one regular size egg (so a recipe calling for two eggs would require three pullet eggs). 

At the other end of the spectrum, you can find duck eggs from Lee’s One Fortune Farm. Duck eggs are about fifty percent larger than standard chicken eggs and have a thicker shell, which means they stay fresher longer. With bigger yolks and a higher fat content, they are generally found to be creamier than chicken eggs and are prized by bakers for fluffier cakes and more stable meringues. 

It’s worth seeking out eggs of any size right now, as they are the perfect accompaniment to the winter greens and starchy root veggies abundant at winter markets. A simple but delicious weeknight meal can be made of rice or grits with roasted sweet potatoes, sauteed greens such as Swiss chard, bok choy, or turnip greens, crowned with a poached or fried egg. Maybe add a little kimchi or fermented hot sauce from Sweet Brine’d (River Arts District Winter Market) or Serotonin Ferments (Asheville City Market–Winter) on top. 

In addition to eggs, sweet potatoes, and leafy greens, market vendors are stocked with potatoes, apples, turnips, carrots, radishes, fennel, cabbage, snow peas, salad greens, mushrooms, meat, cheese, bread, baked goods, and much, much more.

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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