I headed out the North Carolina State Farmer’s Market this weekend in search of some idea of what kinds produce (and prices) I can expect through the end of the year. Located just off of I40 exit 297, I found a bustling market full of pumpkins, apples, fall plants, and plenty of fall veggies.
Johnson’s Peaches will have Last Chance peaches until mid-week, so this is your “last chance” to savor local peaches until late next spring.
Tart’s Strawberry and Produce Farm has so many varieties of apples that my head spun. All of their apples sell for $.99/lb or $5 will get you a 1/2 peck, which is a little over 5 1/2 pounds.
This year, why not try cooking a pumpkin pie from scratch? I spotted pie pumpkins for $2 each. And pick up some mums to brighten up the front porch.
I took a side trip through the enclosed barn, looking for good deals on meats, when I happened on Wells Pork and Beef. Out of Burgaw, NC, Wells sells only grass-fed beef and their cows are free of antibiotics, steroids, preservatives, and hormones. Their hamburger was selling for $3.99/lb.
Back in the growers barn, Stephanie Moore, from Ronnie Moore’s Fruits and Veggies in Johnston County, said they will have mustard salad, kale, broccoli, collards, turnip greens, and arugula until around the end of the year. If you like sweet potatoes (think pies, casseroles, candied, etc.), they will be selling 25 to 26 pound boxes for $10. And all those southern style greens will be $.99/lb.
Beth Moore, from Beth Moore Produce, also out of Johnston County, will be bringing collards, squash, zucchini, cucumbers, sweet potatoes, field peas, beets, turnip roots, spaghetti squash, and a cabbage she calls “pointed head cabbage”. This is a sweeter, milder cabbage that instead of being round, is shaped more like a cone.
I asked Beth if she could share one of her fall recipes and she gave me one for collards. Now keep in mind that country cooking doesn’t usually follow a set recipe, unless you’re a city slicker who wouldn’t boil an egg without Betty Crocker sitting on the counter.
Here’s Beth’s simple recipe:
Cook a ham hock until it’s done, take it out and put the collards in the broth. Boil it for 45 minutes to an hour, until the stems get a little bit soft. Take the collards out of the broth and chop them up, adding just a little bit of sugar.
Wondering what to serve with your collards? Beth said, “I like potato salad with collards…[and] candied yams and fried sweet potatoes.”
So if want a true taste of fall, take a trip to the North Carolina State Farmer’s Market and pick up some apples, collards, and pumpkins. Cook up some collards, bake some fresh apple and pumpkin pies, and enjoy the taste of fresh North Carolina produce. I’m betting you’ll be back for more. And don’t forget to ask Beth Moore for tips on cooking her southern produce. She’d be happy to oblige!