Fresh at Farmers Markets This Week

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Whether you’re hosting a Super Bowl get together, or are just looking for new ways to entertain guests this time of year, winter farmers markets have plenty of amazing local meat options to switch up your regular party offerings. With less produce variety this time of year, now is the time to see what meat vendors have to offer!

Want to get creative with your Super Bowl shareables? These lamb sliders are a creative twist on a football Sunday favorite. In a large bowl, combine half a pound of ground lamb, a quarter cup of minced shallot, two tablespoons each of freshly chopped mint and parsley, one tablespoon of salt, one teaspoon of pepper, one teaspoon of ground cumin, one clove of minced garlic, and a sprinkle of paprika. Divide the mixture into 9 equal potions, and form patties with your hands. Transfer the patties onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for about 30 minutes. Make your tzatziki by combining a cup of plain Greek yogurt, half a cup of grated cucumber, one tablespoon each of finely chopped dill and mint, two teaspoons of lemon juice, and salt and pepper to taste. Heat a grill pan or grill to high heat and cook the slider patties for 2 to 3 minutes on each side. Add lettuce, tzatziki and feta to the bottom buns, and more tzatziki and some pickled onions to the top bun. Assemble your sliders and serve! You can find ground lamb for this recipe from Crow Fly Farms and Warren Wilson College Farm at Asheville City Market.

Ropa vieja, a Cuban beef recipe, is an easy and delicious way to wow your guests using a slow cooker. To your slow cooker, add one cup of beef broth, six ounces of tomato paste, a fourteen ounce can of diced tomatoes, one and a half teaspoons of salt, a quarter teaspoon of pepper, a teaspoon each of oregano and ground cumin, half a teaspoon of ground turmeric, and one tablespoon of apple cider vinegar, and stir. Add two pounds of beef flank steak or chuck roast and flip it around in the sauce to coat it. Lastly, add two diced bell peppers, one diced white onion, one cup of Spanish olives, and three whole garlic cloves, then mix the contents together. Cover and cook on low for 9 hours, or on high for 5 hours, without opening the lid while cooking. Shred the meat with two forks in the slow cooker after it’s done cooking. Serve with yellow rice or tortillas to make tacos! You can find beef for this recipe from Dry Ridge Farm at Asheville City Market.

You can also find plenty of pork options at farmers markets right now, which is a great opportunity to make these simple pork lettuce wraps. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add one tablespoon of freshly chopped ginger and two cloves of minced garlic, and cook for a few minutes until fragrant. Add one pound of ground pork and cook for 5 minutes until no longer pink. Add a quarter cup of hoisin sauce and one tablespoon of sriracha, and stir until combined. Separate the leaves of one head of romaine lettuce (or any lettuce variety of your choice), and spoon the cooked pork into the leaves. Add grated carrot, sliced scallions and sesame seeds to serve. Sugar Creek Meat sells ground pork, in addition to a variety of pork cuts and sausage options, at the River Arts District Farmers Market.

Area farmers tailgate markets take place throughout the region, even in the winter. 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.

Prepared by Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project.