Sheet pan chicken is a a fall inspired, farmers market feast! Featuring fall flavors and North Carolina chicken, sheet pan chicken is an easy and delicious way to eat local. I am receiving compensation from the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services to raise awareness about purchasing poultry at farmers markets. All opinions and content are my own.
Saturday was a good day.
It started with a visit to the farmers market and ended with sheet pan chicken with roasted veggies. A cheddar biscuit from Sunflour, dancing to Paul Simon in my kitchen, and catching up with a friend over beers were squeezed in between.
Out of the six weekends between Labor Day and early October, I’m out of town for five of them. We spent the holiday at the Outer Banks with my family and then I spent last weekend sampling North Carolina wine. Next weekend I’m headed to Minneapolis to see a friend, it’s a wedding in Nashville the weekend after that, and then some well deserved rest, relaxation and celebration for our first anniversary in Boone. So while I’m headed to some cool places and will get to see some cool people in the coming weeks, all this traveling makes me savor weekends at home.
My favorite kinds of weekends at home are those that could be considered borderline mundane; where we don’t have any plans except the regular ebb and flow of our routine, relaxation and adult responsibilities. A highlight of these slower weekends (or any Saturday morning for that matter) is my weekly trip to the farmers market.
If you’re new here, I love the farmers market (and if you’ve been around for a while, I apologize for my broken record-esque profession of love for the farmers market). My love for farmers markets was sparked at a young age when my parents and I would make the trek (with my red wagon in tow) to Eastern Market on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, where we would peruse the vendors and make a pit stop at the library on our way home. Living in Madison definitely reignited my love of farmers markets; my roommate and I would bike up to the capital square every Saturday and spend hours shopping (and sampling, of course!) for the week, always ending with a stop at Stella’s for spicy cheesy bread. When I moved to Charlotte, my Saturday farmers market routine continued at the Charlotte Regional Farmers Market.
My slow Saturday mornings are spent meandering through the stalls with an iced coffee in hand (that iced coffee switches to hot coffee in the late fall, winter, and early spring months…the farmers market is open all year round and you’ll find me there whether its watermelon or root vegetable season). I wander around without a list or a plan, taking stock of this week’s produce and lusting after the colorful flowers that will never adorn our coffee table (with four cats and a puppy, flowers are a no go in our house!).
One of the things I love about the Charlotte Regional Farmers Market is that I can get most of our grocery shopping done during my weekly visit; it’s a one stop shop of sorts. Of course, there are tons of produce options, but beyond seasonal fruits and veggies, you can get local food products, dairy, eggs, baked goods, wine, and even protein, like locally raised beef, pork and chicken.
The other thing I love about the Charlotte Regional Farmers Market is the chance I get to chat face to face with the people who grow and raise our food (I actually got into farmer chatting when I started going to the farmers market with AJ who has some mad farmer chatting skills). Chatting with the farmers is not only fun, but super interesting; it’s a great way to learn not only about the products your buying but also to get recommendations on something that you’re maybe hesitant to try, or don’t know how to cook or have never heard of before.
On my most recent visit, I stopped to chat with Charlie from Windy Hill Farm (his stall is in Building A, about halfway down on the right…look for the big white box truck with the Windy Hill Farm logo!).
Charlie and his wife, Dana, own and operate Windy Hill Farm in New London, NC (about 35 minutes northeast of Charlotte), where they focus on producing quality, naturally-raised, chemical-free products using sustainable farming practices. When talking to Charlie and Dana about their farm I loved that they used the saying, “from pasture to plate, we’re passionate about providing wholesome foods for our family and yours.” Not only do they raise all of their animals, as they say, “the way nature intended:” outdoors, humanely, and without using antibiotics or growth enhancers, they also butcher and package their own proteins and have them available for purchase year round. At the farmers market, they sell a variety of pork, beef, chicken, duck and turkey, plus fresh eggs and seasonal produce. To make things even easier, you can see Windy Hill’s inventory online and place an order to pick up at the market, which is exactly what I did; I placed my order on Thursday night and it was labeled and ready for me when I got to the market on Saturday.
With our hectic schedules, easy is my cooking motto for September, so I bought a package of chicken thighs and a full bird from Charlie. I knew the full bird would go into the freezer until we were ready for some easy meal prep later in the week (and it will be great for dinner and lunches, especially with some Viva Chicken sauce I’ve saved from my last visit), and the thighs I’d use for sheet pan chicken, an easy Saturday night dinner with leftovers for the work week (Charlie was out of chicken breasts, but I’m team dark meat anyways, so I was happy with the thighs). Chicken in hand, I wandered the market a few veggies to accompany our sheet pan chicken, and left with sweet potatoes, onions, Brussels sprouts, and apples. I guess fall flavors were speaking to me, even though the temperature peaked at 88 degrees this weekend.
Some preheating, chopping, a quick marinade, and a small dent into Paul Simon’s Graceland later (“You Can All Me Al” is an excellent cooking song if you ask me), we had sheet pan chicken; a little fall inspired, farmers market feast.
If you’re looking for chicken recipes with a little farmers market inspiration (because I know after reading this post, you’ll be picking up chicken at the farmers market this weekend), check out these delicious recipes created by North Carolina food bloggers featuring North Carolina chicken! (Here’s a roundup post with all of the recipes if you’d like to check it out!)
Got To Be NC Chicken at Your Local NC Farmer’s Market
- Sheet Pan Chicken from Off the Eaten Path
- NC Farmer’s Market Feast from Nancie’s Table
- North Carolina Seared Duck Breast from The World on a Table
- Farmer’s Market Chicken Salad from Adventures of Frugal Mom
- Crispy Roasted Chicken with Blueberry Gastrique from Nik Snacks
- 1 lb chicken thighs or breasts
- 1 sweet potato, chopped into ½ to 1 inch pieces
- 1 pint Brussels sprouts, halved
- 1 apple, chopped into 1 inch pieces
- 1 red onion, chopped
- olive oil
- 2-3 teaspoons garlic
- 5-6 sprigs fresh rosemary
- salt and pepper to taste
- Place chicken in a large plastic bag or bowl. Combine ⅓ cup olive oil, garlic, rosemary, salt and pepper and shake or stir until chicken is coated. Marinate for one hour in the refrigerator, up to overnight.
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
- Chop sweet potatoes, Brussels sprouts, red onion and apple, spread on a sheet pan with 2 tablespoons olive oil, salt and pepper. Stir to coat vegetables in oil.
- Place chicken on a separate sheet pan (this allows the chicken and vegetables to both roast without the vegetables being steamed in the chicken's juices).
- Place the sheet pan with veggies on the top rack and the sheet pan with chicken on the bottom rack.
- Roast for 30-40 minutes until veggies are browned.
- Move chicken to the top rack of the oven and switch to broiler. Broil the chicken for about 5 minutes until skin browned and crispy.