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Fresh at Farmers Markets This Week

February is often the height of cold and flu season. While the common cold is not usually cause for medical treatment, it can certainly knock you out for a few days (or longer), and that first throat scratch or sneeze might have you reaching for your standby home remedies—if not for a cure, at least for some comfort. Winter farmers markets can be a good place to stock up on your arsenal of cold-fighting and feel-good foods, from chicken broth to elderberry syrup.

Chicken soup is a classic restorative and may help ward off a cold. If nothing else, warm broth can soothe a sore throat and keep you hydrated. Get whole chickens from Fiddler’s Green Farm and carrots from Ten Mile Farm (Asheville City Market–Winter). Add rice from Lee’s One Fortune Farm (Asheville City Market–Winter and River Arts District Winter Market). Prefer a beef bone broth? Ask about bones from Headshrink Farms (River Arts District Winter Market), Dry Ridge Farm, or Hickory Nut Gap Farm (both at Asheville City Market).

Many people swear by the curative properties of garlic, particularly in battling colds, though the science is inconclusive. But making up a pot of traditional French chicken with 40 cloves of garlic certainly won’t hurt and might improve your outlook. New Moon Herbs (Asheville City Market–Winter) has bunches of garlic, which should be enough (if it doesn’t get you exactly to 40 cloves, don’t sweat it). Cut a whole chicken into eight pieces (save the carcass for stock). Salt and pepper the pieces, then brown in a few tablespoons of olive oil in a 12-inch cast iron or other oven-safe, straight-sided pan. Remove the pan from the heat and add a half cup of olive oil, the whole, unpeeled garlic cloves (separated from the head), and a tablespoon of dried herbs de provence or several sprigs of thyme, rosemary, and/or tarragon (look for herbs from Myseanica Family Farms at both Asheville City Market–Winter and River Arts District Winter Market). Cover with aluminum foil or lid and bake in a 375-degree oven for an hour and 10 minutes. Serve with bread with the roasted garlic and olive oil spooned over. 

Need something a little less time-intensive? Honey, whether adding it to hot tea or taking it by the spoonful, is a very effective way to quiet a cough. You can find local honey right now from Sleight Family Farm (Asheville City Market–Winter). Elderberry syrup is another promising remedy that has been shown in some studies to prevent or reduce the length of upper respiratory infections. Brew Naturals, at both Asheville City Market–Winter and River Arts District Winter Market, has it available in 16-ounce bottles or as a DIY brewing kit (just add your own honey). 

At winter markets now you’ll also find a myriad of greens like kale, mustards, bok choy, and collards, winter squash, turnips, sweet potatoes, potatoes, fennel, cabbage, salad mix, snow peas, mushrooms, cheese, 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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