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winter squash and potatoes

Thanksgiving dinner is often a meal centered around abundance—many dishes, crowded tables, perhaps some long-distance travel, and (hopefully) plenty to be grateful for. This year, of course, will be different for lots of folks. Maybe a turkey and all the fixins is overkill for your small family. Maybe you’re only cooking for yourself while Zooming into a larger gathering elsewhere. Maybe you simply need to say no to any added stress, particularly the kind that makes a mess of your kitchen. 

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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. 

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roast chicken

As we move into November thoughts turn to holiday feasting, and for many that means a turkey centerpiece. Local turkey is available from several local farms in the region, including Hickory Nut Gap Farm and Dillingham Family Farm, though you will need to order in advance—and act fast! These birds tend to sell out every year. Find a list of farms in the area with local turkeys, and information on how to order them here.

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watermelon radishes from Ten Mile Farm

The weather continues to defy autumn’s arrival, but cooler-weather crops are arriving at farmers tailgate markets, including fresh root vegetables like radishes, beets, carrots, and turnips.

Watermelon radishes are a particularly fun find right now, spotted at both Ten Mile Farm (Asheville City Market, River Arts District Farmers Market) and Headwaters Market Garden (Asheville City Market). These heirloom varieties of the daikon are all business on the outside and party on the inside, with fuschia cores rimmed in white and lime green, reminiscent of their namesake. You can snack on them or use them as a dipper as you would other varieties of radish, but their bright centers beg for a pretty presentation. Here are a few suggestions.

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We never fail to get excited about the fact that we can get locally grown rice in the Western North Carolina mountains. Lee’s One Fortune Farm has had its fall harvest available in limited quantities for the past couple of weeks at many farmers tailgate markets, including purple and brown rice varieties. The flavor of rice this fresh elevates even the simplest preparations, but Korean bibimbap is a dish that can really highlight all the best of your market haul.

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