Living East Tennessee

Seasonal produce picks at the local farmer's market

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) - As warm weather lingers here in East Tennessee, the summer harvest for local farmers still continues to be a hot commodity at the Nourish Knoxville Farmer's Market. 

Public Health Educator with the Knox County Health Department said this is one of the best times to take a trip to the local market.

“You still have some of that summer produce, like tomatoes, squash, eggplant, peppers, all of those things that we normally think of for the summer, but you’re also getting some of those fall things as well, like winter squash, apples and pears, so it’s really a nice time to start bridging both of those seasons and find some of the best things from each,” Ford said.

Ford said local produce markets are great places to try items that you’ve never tried before and add new colors to your dinner plate.

“Right now is really a great time for lots of orange and red things, that color has Vitamin A and Vitamin A does so many great things for your body, so look for things like butternut squash, carrots, tomatoes, all of those things that are really deep in that color,” Ford said.

With the heat slowly beginning to fade, Ford said local farmers have begun harvesting leafy greens, like kale and mustard greens.

Ford said the best thing about the farmer’s market is that it’s seasonal, and it’s always changing.

“A few months ago, we had peaches, now we have apples and pears,” Ford said. “It really pushes you to try new things and maybe branch out of your comfort zone.”

If you’re a little lost and don’t know how to use a particular vegetable, Nourish Knoxville, a local non-profit organization produces a local food guide to assist customers in the market, with what produce items are in season, along with some recipe inspiration.

Charlotte Tolley, Executive Director of Nourish Knoxville, said their mission is to build healthy communities with connections to local foods.

“It’s a way for farmers to interact directly with customers and participate in direct sale, but we also produce a local food guide that has Farmer’s Markets and farms you can buy direct from, farms to visit so people can engage in local food.”

Nourish Knoxville has also partnered up with the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program to allow locally produced goods to be more accessible to the Knoxville community.

The Nourish Knoxville Farmer’s Market is celebrating 15 years of providing the community with fresh, local goods.

“Our markets are producer only, meaning everything you find here is grown by the vendor who sells it, so you’re never going to find an avocado here, only things grown right here in East Tennessee.”

The Nourish Knoxville Farmer’s Market is twice a week, on Wednesdays from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m. and Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. until Nov. 17.

Missed Ford's Recipe on Sweet Potato Black Bean Quesadillas? Here it is!

Ingredients for Quesadilla:

Olive oil
1 medium sweet potato, diced
2 red bell peppers, chopped
1/2 large onion, diced
1 can black beans, drained
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1 cup reduced fat cheddar cheese
4 whole wheat tortillas
Salt and pepper

Cooking Directions for Quesadilla:
1. Heat oil on medium high. Add sweet potatoes and cook until golden, bout 5 minutes.

2. Add 1/2 cup of water and continue cooking until sweet potatoes are softened. When water evaporates add onion, peppers, and spices and cook until softened.

3. Stir in black beans and garlic and cook for about one more minute. Remove from heat.                        
4. Sprinkle cheese on half of each tortilla. Add sweet potato mixture, top with cheese, and fold over. Brown the quesadillas on each side in medium high heat.

Ingredients for Salsa:
1 cup quartered cherry tomatoes
1 TBS minced red onion
1 TBS chopped cilantro
1/2 lime
Salt and pepper

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