At the South Durham Farmers’ Market, not only can you stock up on good-for-you fruits and vegetables, you can also purchase healthy, handmade treats for that special furry someone in your life. Each Saturday, market-goers can visit Good Grace’s Dog Treats and select from an array of wholesome biscuits displayed in a handsome array of glass jars.
Many of the best, award-winning restaurants in the Triangle are dedicated to sourcing their ingredients from local farms, including many of our vendors at the South Durham Farmers’ Market.
The New Year is here, resolutions have been made, and the first full week of 2014 is about to start! A popular resolution is improve diet and improve health. It is also a difficult resolution because it involves changing habits and patterns.
During the quiet days after the hullabaloo of the holidays, as we stand at the threshold of the New Year, we take a moment to reflect upon both the achievements of the past year and the deeds we hope to accomplish in 2014.
At the South Durham Farmers’ Market, our hog farmers are working to make our state’s pork production small and sustainable again.
After a much-needed break over Thanksgiving weekend, the Durham Farmers’ Market is back in full swing! Yesterday, the market switched to its winter hours and will be open every Saturday during the winter from 10 a.m. to noon.
You may still be in a turkey coma, but our farmers are refreshed from their weekend off from the South Durham Farmers’ Market and ready to continue the harvest.
Thanksgiving is right around the corner and your local farmers’ market will be open with special hours this week. Your local farmers and local markets have been planning and planting for weeks in order to help you prepare the freshest, local Thanksgiving meal.
Winter may be coming, but that does not mean you are sentenced to a diet of frozen vegetables. At the South Durham Farmers’ Market, S&H Farm will still be selling freshly harvested produce from their greenhouse and three high tunnels even in the middle of February.
The first frost has officially come to Durham and our local farmlands. That means summer veggies like eggplant, okra, summer squash, melons, etc. won’t be available at farmers’ markets until next year.
Recently, a few friends have asked, “Is there even much produce available at the market right now?”
At this point in the fall, a scene at the Durham Farmers’ Market might look a little something like this: piles of orange, white, and blue pumpkins of all shapes and sizes on one side of the aisle and mountains of assorted greens varieties stacked on farmers tables on the other side of the aisle.
While the leaves on the trees are turning and falling, leaves of another sort are flooding the South Durham Farmers’ Market.
Ginger. Turmeric. Galangal. These are names that you expect to find in the spice aisle, not at a farmers market.
But over the past couple of years, local farmers have been experimenting with growing these exotic spices. Now, in the fall, alongside the pumpkins, sweet potatoes and greens, you’ll find these three spices in their fresh form at the Durham Farmers’ Market.
Ginger, turmeric and galangal are all closely related and most commonly grown in tropical locations. So, it is natural that these three plants like the moist, humid weather of the southern summer. Because of their tropical origins, they need about 7 months of warm, 80-degree-plus weather to mature enough to harvest and enjoy.
Here in the Piedmont of North Carolina, we almost have that length of warm weather, but not quite. So, local farmers start their plants in the greenhouse in late winter and then move the plants outside when the weather has warmed up. By late September, fresh baby ginger, turmeric and galangal roots are ready to be harvested. Farmers will continue harvesting until we reach the first frost.
Since these are all relatively new items to start showing up at local farmers’ market, you may wonder how to use them. Let’s start with ginger. The locally grown, fresh ginger isn’t the brown colored ginger you see in the grocery store. It has a lovely ivory and pink color and it doesn’t need to be peeled -- you can use the whole thing. Because it is freshly dug and hasn’t been cured for storage, it has a higher moisture content and bright gingery flavor. You can use it wherever you enjoy ginger, in soups, stir-frys, juices and sweets. Market customers also have told me that fresh ginger is perfect for making candied ginger.
Turmeric is most often used in Indian and Thai cuisines and is known for its bright orange color. It has anti-inflammatory, anti-fungal and anti-bacterial properties, which has made it a staple in Ayurvedic medicines. To use fresh turmeric, you can slice it up or grate it and add it to curries, stir-frys or soups. Also available at the market are turmeric leaves, which can be used to steam things like fresh fish or vegetables.
Galangal is a little bit less well known than turmeric or ginger. Like the others, it is often found in Thai, Vietnamese or Indonesian cuisines. I’m most familiar with its use in soups such as Tom Kai Gai and Tom Yum, which are often on menus at Vietnamese restaurants. Fresh galangal is also often used in south Indian curries.
Have fun experimenting with these new spices that local farmers are growing. I’m sure before too long, they will be incorporated into southern cuisine in delicious and innovative ways.
Erin Kauffman is market manager of the Durham Farmers’ Market, which is open 8 a.m. to noon Saturdays at 501 Foster Street in downtown Durham.
Farmers’ markets have become one-stop shopping destinations that include not only local fruits and vegetables, but also locally prepared foods, dog treats and even bath products. At the South Durham Farmers’ Market, we have are lucky to have Shorganics and Rolling Hills Soap, as well as handcrafted goat milk soaps from Parker Farm & Vineyards.