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Root for Roots to Get Local!

Think apples are the last hurrah when it comes to local farm-fresh produce before wintertime? Think again! Right now, farmers are digging up root vegetables, and lots of them—from beets to carrots and radishes to turnips. While also available at other times during the year, roots reach their full flavor potential in the fall.

That excites Miki Kilpatrick, who owns the Asheville restaurant HomeGrown with her husband, Greg. She and her team feature local roots heavily at the eatery during fall and winter in side dishes like vanilla smashed sweet potatoes and a roasted medley. But they pull out all the stops for their Thanksgiving/holiday catering menu: collard greens with turnips; sweet potatoes stuffed with apples, raisins and sage; and root veggie, bacon and Boursin stuffing. And then there are the sweet treats: sweet potato pie and maple-sweet potato toffee brownies! While all roots have a place on HomeGrown’s menu, Miki has a favorite: golden beets, which are used in the restaurant’s logo.

But it’s not just the local veggies themselves that are close to her heart. It’s also the farmers growing them and organizations like us working to promote local food. That’s why she and her husband are donating a percentage of proceeds from all the restaurant’s Thanksgiving catering orders to ASAP this year.

“It’s just the right thing to do,” Miki says. “ASAP does so much for our local farming community, we’re happy to offer some support in return.” (We’re blushing!) When it comes to supporting the farmers themselves, HomeGrown’s local roots come from Whispersholler Farms primarily, a series of small family farms in Buncombe and Yancey counties. They also purchase local food from the distributor Madison Farms and “whoever shows up at our back door!”

Find HomeGrown’s full holiday catering menu at slowfoodrightquick.com. For a list of all area growers producing your favorite root veggies and the restaurants serving and groceries and tailgates stocking them, search our online Local Food Guide at appalachiangrown.org.

And tell us: What root veggie do you like best?

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