Fresh at Farmers Markets This Week

Despite some colder temperatures last week, spring is officially here! We’ve been seeing little signs of the changing seasons, from blooming trees to the return of seasonal allergies, but there’s still a few more weeks until farmers tailgate markets open up for their regular season and we see the return of new spring produce!

Until then, there’s still plenty of ways to experiment with winter veggies — like turnips! This versatile vegetable can be cooked in a variety of ways, and even their greens can be put to use. Find turnips from Olivette Farm at Asheville City Market, Thatchmore Farm at the North Asheville Tailgate Market, and more.

This pizza uses the whole turnip plant, with turnip green pesto and sliced thin-sliced turnips as a topping. In a food processor or blender, add one bunch of turnip greens, one clove of chopped garlic, a quarter cup of pine nuts or walnuts, a quarter cup of freshly grated parmesan cheese, two tablespoons of lemon juice. Process until a paste is formed. Slowly work in a third cup of extra virgin oil, then season with salt and pepper to taste. Heat a little olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add one bunch of thinly sliced turnips to the pan, and cook for about one minute per side. Remove from heat and set aside. Roll out a ball of homemade or store-bought pizza dough. Spread the turnip green pesto, then layer on the turnips slices, half a cup of grated mozzarella cheese, a quarter cup of grated parmesan cheese, and a pinch of crushed red pepper flakes. Bake in a 475-degree oven for about 15 minutes, until the crust is golden and the cheese is bubbling. Remove from the oven, and top the warm pie with your choice of mustard greens, arugula, microgreens, or even some wasabi greens from Two Trees Farm/Sustainabillies at Asheville City Market!

You can also use the turnip green pesto in pastas, on sandwiches, or mixed into mashed potatoes!

Pickled turnips, a staple in Middle Eastern cooking, are not only a great way to make your turnips last longer, but are also a delicious acidic companion to any meal! In a large, wide-mouthed mason jar, add one-and-a-half cups of hot water, half a cup of white vinegar, two tablespoons of kosher salt, one tablespoon of granulated sugar, one smashed garlic clove, and two bay leaves. Stir continuously until the salt and sugar appear dissolved. Peel and cut one pound of turnips into half inch thick pieces. Add the turnips to the mason jar, along with one small, diced beet. Make sure the vegetables are submerged in the vinegar mixture, and allow to cool. Once cool, seal the glass jar tightly and allow it to sit for 5 days at room temperature in a cool, dark place before enjoying. Refrigerate afterward opening, and use within one month. Add your pickled turnips to a salad, sandwich, or wrap (or just eat them out of the jar)!

At winter markets now you’ll also find beets, radishes, cabbage, kale, spinach, salad greens, winter squash, potatoes, sweet potatoes and more! Markets are also stocked with a variety of meats, cheese, rice, pasta, pastries, drinks, and prepared foods. Find more details about farms and markets throughout the region, including winter hours, in ASAP’s online Local Food Guide.

Written by Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project.