Brrrrrr. Fierce or crazy? As farmer Tom Elmore put it…”either these farmers are very committed or they need to be committed!” Snow coated every tree branch on Saturday morning. Temperatures were bitter with a biting wind chill, but the roads were fine. I arrived at the North Asheville Tailgate Market bundled in a wool coat, wool socks, hat and scarf. After about an hour at the market my hands and feet were freezing; farmers had been exposed to brutal temps since early morning. I heard Asheville City Market was also up and running too, and I bet the Madison County Farmers & Artisans Market and others were too.
Despite the cold, the farmers were admirably jovial. I stocked up for dinner and the week ahead. My newlywed niece, Cecile, and her husband were visiting – which motivated some cooking to stave off the frigid outdoors. Isn’t that one luxury of cold wintry days? They inspire cooking cozy foods and drinking lots of tea (wine, beer, cider…).
A perfect bread making day, I baked mostly-local multigrain loaves that included flours from Carolina Ground and Steadfast Farm, and a secret stash of cornmeal from Bee Tree Farm. The coarse dough was surprisingly receptive as I kneaded. Cecile concocted a salad with local greens, Bill Whipple’s pears, walnuts, and Kalamata olives. While the bread baked, we nibbled on an hors d’oeuvre of Carol’s mushrooms sautéed in butter and served on toasted pita points. Then came supper – hot bread and butter, salad, and a hearty soup made with many homegrown and local ingredients. The ingredients included carrots that were gifted to me by my sister-in-law during her recent visit. She grew them behind the flowers in her front porch window boxes.
Meals cooked with love from ingredients grown with care nourish us on so many levels. Thank you fierce farmers!