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Posts Tagged ‘Local Food Asheville’

White rose peaches. A man came by the garden center selling these off his truck – grown in his yard using no chemicals. The essence of summer!

peaches white rose

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sandwich after tailgate 1Fresh + ingredients you won’t find in grocery stores. That is the beauty of our tailgate markets. My sandwich ingredients from today’s tailgate market:  ripe purple tomatoes, crispy white cucumbers, and pan-roasted Italian sweet pepper on a bed of sweet basil, and from the grocery store – organic cream cheese, balsamic vinegar, and local artisan bread.

Yes, you can buy basil and purple tomatoes from the grocery store, but are they this fresh and from people who farm in our neighboring counties? People with kids that they are raising. People with land payments. People we know. Will my meager purchases help send their kids to college? Well, no, not exactly. But each little purchase adds up.

I pray that when they count up their money at the end of each market, it is enough to sustain them and their families. Cause these are some hard working folks. Heros. Their food tastes like it came from my home garden. Just look at the color of that tomato. I mean really look. Soak it in. This food brings me to my knees.

I have missed this food during my recent period of busy-ness. I have missed the people too. Manysandwich after tailgate grilled have been so kind to ask about my recently married daughter. Some conversations have made our eyes well up with emotion. Together, all of us have watched these tailgate market children grow and blossom. Suddenly the baby is a seventh grader is a college student is adventuring in Europe is being married or becoming a parent. Again I am on my knees with wonder, and so grateful that I am sailing along on this lovely planet amid this miraculous journey.

Back to sandwiches. This is important – sandwiches taste so much better when they are made on good bread. It is worth the splurge to get good local bread if you are a sandwich-eater. Pan-roast the peppers. Pile the ingredients to the edge of the bread and grill in a skillet with your choice of fat (I used olive oil).

pistachio shortbread sweetheart bakeryPistachio shortbread cookie for desert from Sweetheart bakery.

Purple tomato from Green Toe Ground Farm. White cucumber from Full Sun Farm. Peppers from Gaining Ground Farm. Basil from Mountain Harvest Organics. Bread from Annie’s Naturally Bakery.

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Been kinda quiet on the blog front here…especially in the bountiful middle of summer. Right? Well… I bought a house and moved. That is

This is what my life looks like right now (actually last week). Demolition in progress.

This is what my life looks like right now (actually last week). Demolition in progress.

time  consuming, especially when you start tearing out parts of your house. So I am more or less camping in my new house for a while. Before I moved, I was a few blocks from a wonderful Saturday market. Even on Saturdays when I was working, I could quickly grab a few things when the market opened and make it to work on time.

I am going to have to be a little more organized to pull that off now. My new house is closer to the Wednesday Weaverville Market, so I anticipate becoming a regular at that market. I also get an occasional delivery from some Mars Hill farmer friends. Plus this week I bought two pints of blueberries while I was a work – out of a farmer’s trunk.

On the Fourth of July, The North Asheville Tailgate Market was cooking – with customers everywhere and fresh local food piled up in the farm stands. Truly marvelous. Here are some pictures of that market:

NATM July 4 2015

Beautiful!

The line at the Full Sun Farm Stand!

The line at the Full Sun Farm Stand!

Full Sun Farm Eggplant

Full Sun Farm Eggplant

Sweetheart Bakery Mini-Pies

Sweetheart Bakery Mini-Pies

Gaining Ground Farm Stand. I made red, white, & blue potato salad with those fresh-dug potatoes.

Gaining Ground Farm Stand. I made red, white, & blue potato salad with those fresh-dug potatoes.

Ivy Creek Family Farm. Can't remember the name of these striking, almost black, flowers.

Ivy Creek Family Farm. Can’t remember the name of these striking, almost black, flowers.

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Ivy Creek Farm Spinach, Gaining Ground Farm Eggs, & City Bakery Ciabatta

Ivy Creek Farm Spinach, Gaining Ground Farm Eggs, & City Bakery Ciabatta

This morning was spent working in my garden and pulling out volunteer potatoes. Lunchtime came around, and I made a sandwich on a buttered and toasted City Bakery Ciabatta roll. I sauteed onions and spinach in olive oil, and then gently scrambled two eggs and added them to the sandwich. A splash of balsamic vinegar topped the spinach, and the warm sandwich was HUGE. I could not eat all of it in one sitting, so I will finish the rest of it as an afternoon snack.

The spinach was from Ivy Creek Farm, and the eggs were from Gaining Ground Farm (and came in a bright green box). The ciabatta roll was from City Bakery. I tossed a few tiny potatoes from my garden into the saute pot. Next time, I will kick it up a notch by adding warm salsa picante as a sauce.

The North Asheville Tailgate Market was packed on Saturday. Wonderful jazz music drifted through the market as we shopped and visited with friends. So exciting that the markets are open again (or soon to be open!).

Gaining Ground Farm Eggs, Ivy Creek Farm Spinach

Gaining Ground Farm Eggs, Ivy Creek Farm Spinach

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Tailgate Market This saturday - Even Though I Arrived Late

Tailgate Market This Saturday – Even Though I Arrived Late

Fall excelled this Saturday with a perfect market day. Because I was late I missed out on some goodies, but look at this luscious bag-full I gathered before the farmers started packing up.

Spinning Spider Garlic Dill Chevre, and a buttery harder cheese from Three Graces Dairy called Castenets

-My favorite Roots & Branches crackers – Olive Oil and Rosemary – to go with the cheese

McConnell Farms Granny Smith Apples for a rustic galette inspired by Mark Bittman

Cathy Osada’s Pound Cake for a tea party to celebrate my friends’ new home and promote good mojo for the upcoming paper signing

-Ultra-fresh green chard gifted by Vanessa of Full Sun Farm to experiment with in lieu of spinach (gardener alert – she says it is VERY cold hardy)

-One dozen eggs from East Fork Farm (not pictured)

-And…the most essential of ingredients – onions from Gaining Ground Farm, one was irresistible  because of its soft red color

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North Asheville Tailgate Market, Nov. 1, 2014

North Asheville Tailgate Market, Nov. 1, 2014

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.

The Holy Trinity - Onion, Green Pepper, & Celery

The Holy Trinity – Onion, Green Pepper, & Celery

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!

Market Finds on A Freezing Saturday

Market Finds on A Freezing Saturday

Saturday Morning at B & L Organic Farm,

Saturday Morning at B & L Organic Farm

Bread Dough

Bread Dough

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Chopped Parsley

Chopped Parsley

On a lemony-fall Sunday morning, this LOCAL breakfast brings out my parsley love. As with most herbs, parsley is packed with anti-oxidants and according to a Chicago Tribune article, “Just two tablespoons of parsley, high in vitamin K and the antioxidant vitamins A and C, pack 144 percent [of the daily recommended amount]…of vitamin K for bone and heart health…. and has been shown to stop breast cancer cells from multiplying and growing.”

Twenty four parsley plants line my front walk. The convenience of having the parsley A FEW STEPS from my kitchen cannot be underestimated. In the middle of cooking delicate eggs, I can pull the eggs off the heat, run outside, grab some

Eggs from Mudlicious Gardens - Grocery Store Eggs Pale in Comparison

Eggs from Mudlicious Gardens

parsley, chop it up, and throw it in the skillet – without compromising the eggs. Every single time we add parsley to our meal, we are kicking up the nutrient level, the flavor, and the visual appeal of the dish. Add parsley towards the end of cooking so the flavor is fresh and green. Dried parsley offers good benefits as well, but in Western North Carolina we are able to eat fresh parsley most of the year – and fresh is exponentially tastier. I use parsley at most meals and even as a lettuce substitute on my sandwiches.

Unprotected, my parsley dies back considerably in the coldest part of winter, but in late winter it revives and begins growing again. If you protect your parley with floating row cover it will flourish in the cold months too. A biennial, it is best to replant your parsley every spring because it goes to seed the second season and won’t produce much foliage. Even most apartment dwellers can grow a little parley in their brightest window, so get growing!

LOCAL Scrambled Eggs

LOCAL Scrambled Eggs

My LOCAL breakfast was fast and delicious. The eggs were from Mudluscious Pottery & Gardens (there was even a green egg in the carton!); the onions were from Gaining Ground Farm; the red pepper and the parsley were from my garden; and the Multigrain toast was from Annie’s Bakery. The cheese was not local, but it was organic.

OTHER HARDY HERBS for winter cooking: Routinely add herbs to your cooking. This age-old tradition is an effortless and delicious way to increase your intake of anti-oxidants.

Rosemary – such a savory addition to potatoes, meats, and soups. Demands good drainage in the soil.

Cilantro – Cilantro loves cold weather, not hot weather. Mine lived outside unprotected last winter.

English Thyme – Often happier in wintertime, demands good drainage in the soil.

Dried Basil (not hardy, but delicious dried) – Dry the leaves and store in an airtight jar. Crush leaves just before using. Frozen pesto is unbeatable.

Gardener/Chef Note: In my opinion, flat leaf parsley tastes even better than curly leaf parsley – but it is not as attractive as an edging to your walkway.

Parsley Plants Lining the Walkway

Parsley Plants Lining the Walkway

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