Winter Produce

| 2/20/2014 9:42:00 AM

Tags: Winter Farmers Markets, Winter Growing, Sheila Julson,

Sheila JulsonI’m willing to bet the last of my frozen summer berry stash that anyone who lives in a cold-climate state is seriously suffering from cabin fever by now, especially after this unusually harsh winter. While I’m starting to tire of wearing what feels like 20 pounds of clothing every time I step outside, the worst thing is that we’re reaching the end of our preserved summer food stash. We finished the last jar of my canned tomato sauce, and the berries that I stockpiled from farmers' markets over the summer and stored in the freezer are dwindling.

But there is a cure, as winter farmers' and growers' markets have been increasing in my area, thanks to advancements in hydroponics and indoor growing methods, as well as hoop houses and greenhouses. There are several winter markets in the Milwaukee area, with growers selling sprouts, winter spinach, mushrooms,  pasture-raised meats, apples, winter squash, alliums, herbs, and root vegetables at these winter markets. As one could expect, the quantities and variety of produce are more limited, but the produce is of fine quality, local, and reasonably priced. The growers are often willing to share their techniques and offer ideas to increase indoor food production.

A winter's farmer market


Also present are local bakeries, artisan cheese makers, and vendors selling small-batch salsas, jams, olive oils, and sauces. Some markets have booths with direct sales vendors peddling cosmetics or kitchen goods, but for the most part, these winter farmer markets are a foodie’s cure for the winter blahs, providing fresh and locally produced food.

Has anyone else noticed an increase of winter markets in your area? What produce or artisan food products are available?

3/10/2014 6:16:53 PM

I'm sorry to hear there are no winter markets near you. Maybe an organization or group will network and start one; that's how some around here came together. I tried potatoes for the first time last year, and I, too had a bigger harvest than what I planted. Good luck!

3/2/2014 11:21:09 AM

Sheila, I soooo wish we had winter markets here in Nebraska but such is not the case. The closest we can come to that is the Whole Foods store. We will start seeing the farmer's markets about the end of May until September. I'm not sure that means all of it will be organic. Some is but most is not. ***** You are so right about the harsh winter. Today here on March 2nd the temperature at 11:12am is -4 with wind chill of -21. Tomorrow will be even colder. Farmer Almanac forecasts for this area is a cold wet spring. (Big sigh) Not again. Last year was that way and garden planting couldn't be done until almost June. I guess I could say that I'm experienced at planting potatoes in the mud with muck boots on. The potatoes really weren't the best last year but at least I harvested more than I planted so the season was a some what success. The rest of the garden was three to four weeks late in producing which made that first tomato out of the garden even more special. And so it will be again this year. ***** Have a great Winter produce day.

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