Shop Local Even in the Winter!
This time of year there are plenty of farmer’s markets offering the bounty of the harvest – fresh squash, just picked lettuce, garlic, onions, apples, and pears. But what happens when winter arrives? Don’t worry! Current trends show that winter farmer’s markets are on the rise.
Organic meats, locally caught fish, and root vegetables do well in cooler months. Some farmers are meeting the demand for fresh produce by constructing hoop houses — simple, inexpensive steel tubing draped with plastic sheeting — that allow smaller farmers to extend their growing season at low cost, especially in colder climates. In fact, as USA Today reports, the USDA began helping farmers pay part of the costs for hoop houses in 2009, and has since co-funded about 4,500 — many of them in Wisconsin and Alaska, and if they can thrive there…they will be able to grow just about anywhere!
Don’t forget that you can do a bit of season extension yourself, by canning your summer veggies, freezing your fruit or buying preserved items from farmers in your area. Check out some of the skilled do-it-yourselfers who are perfecting the art of food preservation at HOMEGROWN.org, Farm Aid’s online community that connects people to the land and to each other.
Don’t know if there’s a winter farmers market near you? Check out the National Farmers Market Directory and make an effort to buy local — even in the winter.
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