What’s In Season?
Winter may seem like a time when nothing is growing and produce is at its most expensive. Don’t worry!! You have options! A winter farmers’ market, a community supported agriculture, and finding local products at your grocery store are just a few of the ways you can buy seasonal produce throughout the year.
What is in season?
First, if you want to buy local produce, you need to know what fruits and vegetables are in season. Talk to local growers and consult guides, like this one from Field to Plate, to know what’s currently being grown and harvested where you live. This is helpful in a couple of ways: You can purchase produce at its freshest, and you can plan your meals further into the future.
Join a Winter CSA
Supporting a farm by purchasing a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) farm share is a convenient way to obtain seasonal produce. While CSAs have more available during prime growing seasons, there are farms that offer boxes throughout the year. However, the frequency might change. In high season, boxes of fresh, local produce are typically available weekly, while in winter months boxes might only be available biweekly.
Some areas of the country have weather that allows markets to stay open all year. I am very fortunate to live in a region with many options for winter farmer’s markets. Many markets move indoors in the winter. This is especially helpful for farmers who are using techniques to extend their growing seasons, like hoop houses or row covers. They need to sell those crops! If you’re looking for a winter market, seek out a list of markets available around the country.
Purchase Local Products
If there is no option for a winter farmers’ market near you, you may have local products available at your favorite grocery store. Read labels, and pay attention to where your food is coming from. You may have access to local salad greens, root vegetables, eggs and other animal proteins like meats and cheeses!
Grow Your Own
Look for cold tolerant varieties of winter vegetables like beets, lettuce, carrots, kale and many herbs. Mulch them well and many will even last through the snow!! Enjoy the greens in smoothies and salads as the root vegetables grow!
Let me know! What your favorite sources of winter vegetables?