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Fresh at Farmers Markets This Week

As farmers market finds go, turmeric can feel like one of the more exotic ones here in Western North Carolina. The sunny yellow rhizome—a relative of ginger—is native to South Asia, but has been grown by an increasing number of farmers in our region in the past several years. It’s typically harvested in October, but you can find it right now from New Moon Herbs Farm at Asheville City Market–Winter.

Fresh turmeric can be used pretty much anywhere you would use the powdered stuff from the spice cabinet. A good rule of thumb is to use one tablespoon of freshly grated, peeled turmeric for every teaspoon of ground called for by a recipe. Rice, lentils, yogurt, and eggs are great vehicles for enjoying its pungent flavor, but turmeric is also makes a particularly nice beverage ingredient. 

One of these is fire cider, a folk remedy seeing growing popularity (a court ruling this past fall determined that the term could not be trademarked despite a company’s attempt to do so). Recipes for the immune-boosting tonic vary, but generally involve steeping forceful ingredients like fresh horseradish, ginger, garlic, onions, and cayenne pepper in apple cider vinegar for several weeks, then tempering to taste with honey. Turmeric is a common addition, making use of its antiviral and antibacterial properties. Fire cider can be taken as a shot, enjoyed as a tea with hot water and lemon, added to salad dressings or marinades, or used as a condiment. Not interested in making your own? You can also find fire cider from Locally Good Farm and Sister of Mother Earth, which alternate at Asheville City Market–Winter. Shanti Elixirs, at both Asheville City Market–Winter and River Arts District Winter Market, offers a Root Fire Jun with similar ingredients.

Golden milk is another great way to use fresh turmeric (and quicker to prepare than fire cider). Simmer coconut milk, almond milk, or whole milk with fresh turmeric, ginger, cinnamon, peppercorns, and honey for about 10 minutes. Find honey from Sleight Family Farm at Asheville City Market–Winter. Strain and enjoy as a calming bedtime treat (or store in the refrigerator for up to five days).

At markets now you’ll also find produce like winter greens like kale, collards, mustard, and spinach, as well as apples, sweet potatoes, radishes, carrots, turnips, and more. Eggs, meat, cheese, rice, pasta, bread, and other baked goods are also available.

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.

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