Friday, November 15, 2013

This Week at the Durham Farmers' Market

North Carolina produces more sweet potatoes than any other state in the country. In fact, in 1995, the sweet potato was officially designated as State Vegetable of North Carolina. Right now, sweet potatoes are in season and, because they store well, will be available at the farmers' market all winter long!

I used to think (please remember, I'm from north of North Carolina) that sweet potatoes were fairly uninspiring and un-versatile. I remember, as a child, eating huge hunks of baked sweet potatoes or a sticky, sweet mess of "candied yams" with a thick marshmallow topping. Having lived in North Carolina for lots of years now, I have learned that, not only are they delicious and nutritious, but also they are a actually a very versatile vegetable and can be used in lots of ways. I look forward to trying new ways to cook with them every year!

Last night, I had dinner at my parents house. My dad made Portuguese Kale Soup which is a really hearty winter soup that includes lots of kale, carrots, garlic, and potatoes. This is a pretty standard recipe in my parents house and because it is so packed with vegetables, my parents used to make this healthy soup when my sister and I got sick. This time, as he was making the soup, he went to the pantry to grab some potatoes and when he opened the door, found only a couple of sweet potatoes. So, because sweet potatoes are in season and my mom had gotten a bunch at the farmers' market, he decided to use them instead. It was an delicious substitution! It changed the color and the flavor of the broth in an excellent way. As we were enjoying this version, my dad declared that, in the future, he'll be using a combination of potatoes and sweet potatoes when he makes this soup.

In my experimentation with sweet potatoes, I have found that another good way to cook them is to roast them in the oven with coconut oil. My mom told me about this method, she loves combination of the flavor of the two. Below is a recipe from the New York Times which goes through the method how how to do it. But, according to my mother, just sweet potatoes, coconut oil and salt is enough! She says when she uses fresh sweet potatoes from the farmers' market, there is no need to add extra sugar.
Coconut Oil Roasted Sweet Potatoes.

And finally, I recently learned a great tip for peeling sweet potatoes. The shape of sweet potatoes at the farmers' market can vary greatly. Our farmers grow lots of different varieties of sweet potatoes and their farms have many different types of soil which can have an effect of the shape of the tuber. Because of the variation in size and shape, peeling can be difficult. So, the way to get around that is to slice your sweet potatoes into rounds and then simply peel the round instead of having the deal with all of the nooks and crannies.

I hope that you are enjoying this year's crop as much as I am! If you have any great recipes for cooking sweet potatoes that you would like to share, please send them to me and I'll put them in the newsletter this fall and winter.

See you at the Market,
Erin Kauffman
Market Manager
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Upcoming Events
Saturday November 23rd, 10am - Chef in the Market! Amy Tornquist & Matt Lardie from Watts Grocery will be cooking and sampling some Thanksgiving-y dishes!

Tuesday, November 26th, 2-5pm - PRE-THANKSGIVING MARKET! This year we'll be holding another special Market for you to stock up on the freshest, local food for your holiday meal. If you are looking for a local turkey, Fickle Creek Farm is now taking orders to holiday birds!
Saturday, November 30th - MARKET CLOSED. This is the one Saturday during the year when the Market closes. Have no fear! We'll be open all winter!
Saturday December 7th - WINTER HOURS BEGIN! This Saturday, the Market will switch to our Winter Hours and will be open weekly from 10am-Noon. We'll be open rain, snow, sleet or shine! And you'll get to meet some new vendors too!

Fresh this Week
FRUITS: Asian Persimmons, Scuppernong & Muscadine Grapes, 
VEGETABLES: RADICCHIO, SPINACH, Acorn Squash, Arugula, Beets, Broccoli, Brussels Sprouts, Bok Choi, Butterbeans, Butternut Squash, Cabbage, Carrots, Cauliflower, Chinese Cabbage, Cherry Tomatoes, Collards, Daikon, Delicata Squash, Fennel, Fresh & Dried Herbs (Cilantro, Mint, Rosemary, Oregano, Thyme, Sorrel, Parsley), Frisee, Galangal, Green Onions, Garlic, Ginger, Gourds, Jerusalem Artichokes, Kale, Kohlrabi, Lettuce, Mizuna, Mustard Greens, October Beans, Peppers, Potatoes, Pea Shoots, Pumpkins, Purple Hull Peas, Radishes, Salad Mix, Shiitake Mushrooms, Spaghetti Squash, Spinach, Swiss Chard, Sweet Potatoes, Tat Soi, Greenhouse Grown Tomatoes, Turmeric, Turnips, Turnop Greens, Winter Squash, and more
MEATS AND EGGS:  Rabbit, Beef, Bison, Chicken, Duck, Goat/Chevon/Cabrito, Lamb, Pork, Veal, Rabbit
Duck Eggs & Chicken Eggs
CHEESES: Fresh and aged COW and GOAT milk cheeses. 
PLANTS: Bedding, House, and Flower Plants. 
FLOWERS: Mixed Bouquets
SPECIALTY ITEMS: Raw and Creamed Honey, Flour, Cornmeal, Grits, Baked Goods including Pies, Breads, Cookies & Pastries, Fermented Foods, Beer, Wine, Jams, Jellies, Pickles, Preserves, Wool 
CRAFTS: Pottery, Jewelry, Handmade Baskets, Woodwork, Photographs, Hand-dyed Clothing and other items, Handmade Clothing, Goats Milk Soaps, Body Butters, Lotions, Yarn, Roving, and much more...
Produce availability depends on weather conditions 

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