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Fresh at Farmers Markets This Week

purple and orange sweet potatoes

The mornings and evenings are getting pretty chilly, and if you’re feeling like us, you may want to snuggle in with a warm drink for a few extra minutes. Farmers tailgate markets have lots of nourishing options for getting creative with hot drinks, whether you prefer tea, cider, or even a frothy vegetable latte. 

Korean goguma is a latte made with sweet potatoes, not coffee. Traditionally this is made with purple-skinned sweet potatoes with pale flesh, but experiment with whatever variety appeals most. (You can find a all kinds of sweet potato types from farms including Lee’s One Fortune Farm, Ten Mile Farm, Gaining Ground Farm, and Flying Cloud Farm.) To make lattes for two, steam and peel one to two sweet potatoes, enough for one cup of mashed flesh. Blend with two cups of milk and one tablespoon of sugar. Top with cinnamon and ground nuts, if you like. (Look for local hazelnuts from Full Sun Farm at North Asheville and River Arts District markets.)

Or try variations with other fall veggies, like this beet-ginger latte: Boil or steam one small red beet and peel it. Blend it with one teaspoon grated fresh ginger, half a teaspoon ground cinnamon, a splash of vanilla extract, one to two tablespoons of honey, and a cup and a half of milk. Beets are available from many farms right now. Get fresh ginger from Lee’s One Fortune Farm (ASAP, Black Mountain, West Asheville, and River Arts District markets) or New Roots Market Garden (ASAP, North Asheville, and West Asheville markets). Local honey is available from a variety of apiary vendors as well as Ten Mile Farm at ASAP Farmers Market. 

You can buy local cider from many apple vendors at markets. But you can also make your own from fresh apples, sweetened just the way you like it, in a slow cooker. Quarter about ten medium apples (don’t worry about peeling or deseeding). Add to a slow cooker along with one orange and a three-inch knob of fresh ginger, also sliced. For spices, use an assortment of cinnamon sticks, nutmeg, cloves, and allspice (whole or ground spices will work). Pour in enough water to completely cover everything and cook on low for six to eight hours. Mash everything with a fork or potato masher, and cook another hour. Strain liquid through a mesh strainer into a clean pot or pitcher. Stir in honey, maple syrup, or brown sugar to sweeten. Get apples from Creasman Farms (ASAP, North Asheville, and River Arts District markets) and McConnell Farms (North and West Asheville markets). 

At markets now you can also find winter squash, carrots, fennel, turnips, broccoli, cauliflower, potatoes, mushrooms, lettuce, and hardy greens like kale, collards, arugula, chard, and mustard. Markets are also stocked with farm-fresh eggs, cheese, rice, pasta, bread, pastries, drinks, and prepared foods. There are more than 100 farmers tailgate markets throughout the Appalachian Grown region. Find them, as well as farms and other local food businesses, in ASAP’s online Local Food Guide.

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