Fresh at Farmers Markets This Week

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Valentine’s Day is one of the few days a year designated to showing your love and appreciation towards your significant other, friends, family, or whoever your valentine might be!

Treating your loved one to a special meal made from local produce, or with an array of thoughtfully selected local artisan products, is a great way to celebrate next week’s holiday.

For a stay-at-home Valentine’s Day dinner, this black truffle and mushroom pasta is an incredibly simple, yet deliciously bold dish, that will surely make the holiday feel special! Start by stirring together one tablespoon of softened butter, one-and-a-half teaspoons of finely grated black truffle, and a quarter teaspoon of lemon juice and salt. In a separate bowl, toss together about three cups worth of fresh, local mushrooms (we prefer shiitake for this recipe), one tablespoon of olive oil, a dash of black pepper, and another quarter teaspoon of salt. Spread in an even layer in a small, rimmed baking sheet, then roast at 400 degrees for 15 minutes. Cook eight ounces of pasta until al dente (we like mafaldine, shaped like ribbons). While the pasta is boiling, heat two tablespoons of olive oil in a 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat, then cook one thinly sliced garlic clove for a minute or two until the garlic begins to brown. Stir in half a cup of vegetable broth and the baked mushrooms into the pan. Drain your pasta, reserving one cup of cooking liquid, then add the pasta and prepared truffle butter to the pan. Cook for about a one minute, stirring and slowly adding in the cooking liquid until the sauce is emulsified and the desired consistency is reached. Remove from heat, then add two tablespoons each of chopped parsley and grated parmesan cheese. You can find truffles or premade truffle butter from Wild Goods at Asheville City Market, and mushrooms from Black Trumpet Farm (North Asheville and River Arts District markets).

Planning on going out for a special evening? Surprise your Valentine with a delicious charcuterie board full of local artisan meats and cheeses as an at-home appetizer! Find a variety of savory, dry-aged salami from Ivy Fields Farmstead (Asheville City and Weavervillemarkets) to enjoy with a sharp cheddar from Blue Ridge Mountain Creamery (Asheville City Market). Wash down your hors d’oeuvres before heading to dinner with a yummy tart cherry pie or blue blueberry lemon lavender flavored mocktail made from Savory Shrub Bitters concentrates (North Asheville, River Arts District and Weaverville markets), or an appetizing, sparkling probiotic jün from Shanti Elixirs (North Asheville Tailgate Market)!

Chocolate and flowers usually come to mind when one thinks of Valentine’s Day traditions, and while this combination can seem a little cliché at times, locally made presents can make these gifts so much more meaningful! While locally grown, fresh flowers might be hard to come by this time of year, Carolina Flowers will actually have hydroponically grown tulips available at Asheville City Market. You can also look for hand-crafted dried floral bouquets from vendors like Fog Creek Floral at the Weaverville Tailgate Market. Silvermoon Chocolate also offers an array of delicious chocolate treats at the North Asheville and Weaverville markets, including vanilla rose bars, dark chocolate hearts, raspberry vanilla hearts, and more!

At winter markets now you’ll also find carrots, beets, radishes, turnips, broccoli, cabbage, kale, salad greens, winter squash, potatoes, and sweet potatoes. Markets are also stocked with a variety of cheeses, 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.