Broccoli, cauliflower, kohlrabi, cabbage, and other brassicas have returned to farmers tailgate markets for the fall.
These crops make a quick appearance in late spring and early summer, then fade away over the hottest part of the season, returning when the days lengthen and evenings start to cool off. Cruciferous vegetables can make wonderful, hearty comfort food dishes that actually impart a few health benefits as well (like high levels of vitamins C and K).
Of course cauliflower has gained quite a reputation as a comfort food stand-in, whether it be cooked until soft, then pureed with butter for silky “mashed potatoes,” pulsed in a food processor for “rice,” or even replacing your standard glutinous pizza crust. Our favorite feel-good cauliflower indulgence? Fried, the way it’s served at Gypsy Queen, with a garlic-lemon-tahini sauce. For classic results, deep fry the florets in 350-degree oil for three to five minutes, until golden brown. (Want to avoid deep frying? An air fryer or even roasting in the oven will work as well.) Fried cauliflower also makes great alternative buffalo wings, dredged in a mix of Frank’s Red Hot and melted butter, then dipped in ranch or blue cheese dressing. Many farms should have cauliflower in the coming weeks, including Ten Mile Farm (Asheville City Market, River Arts District Farmers Market) and Gaining Ground Farm (North Asheville Tailgate Market, River Arts District Farmers Market).
Broccoli and cheese is another cozy combo we crave at this time of year. Quinoa is a great base for both of these flavors, and just as warming as a rice or cream-based casserole. Roasting the broccoli florets first brings out the best flavor; drizzle them with olive oil and roast in a 400-degree oven for 20 minutes. Cook one cup of any kind of quinoa with 1.5 cups stock or water. Combine quinoa with two cups of grated cheese and one cup milk, along with salt and pepper to taste. Stir in the broccoli and top with a bit more grated cheese. Reduce the oven to 350 degrees and bake for about 25 minutes. Look for broccoli from Olivette Farm (Asheville City Market) or Flying Cloud Farm (North Asheville Tailgate Market, River Arts District Farmers Market), among others.
October also marks the season’s end for some farmers tailgate markets. East Asheville Tailgate Market finished its season at the end of September (though it will return for a holiday market Dec. 13), and this Thursday will be the final week for Enka-Candler Tailgate Market. Asheville City Market-South and Weaverville Tailgate Market run through Wednesday, Oct. 30. Want to stay abreast of all the market closings and openings in our region? Visit asapconnections.org for a full schedule.
At markets now you’ll also find winter squash, apples, pears, grapes, cucumbers, tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, potatoes, sweet potatoes, carrots, turnips, radishes, fennel, onions, garlic, salad greens, kale, chard, collard greens, and more. Area farmers tailgate markets take place throughout the region. As always, you can find information about farms, tailgate markets, and farm stands, including locations and hours, by visiting ASAP’s online Local Food Guide at appalachiangrown.org.
Prepared by Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project.