• Eating Local In Winter

    Posted by   |  January 8, 2016
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    winter farm

    Eating local is an important way to lessen your environmental impact. Buying from large conglomerates wastes resources for transportation and manufacturing, and encourages businesses practices with potential adverse effects. By eating locally-grown food, you can support the farming industry and cut down on the greenhouse emissions that wide-spread production entails. Not to mention the health effects – locally grown, organic food does not contain the myriad additives, hormones and preservatives.

    But how can you shop local in the winter, when the farmer’s markets downsize and the food gets scarce? Fortunately, while farming remains a seasonal endeavor, you can make environmentally conscious choices year-round.

    Winter Farmer’s Markets

    Once an elusive find, winter farmer’s markets have proliferated throughout New York in the past several years. Although summer and fall markets greatly outnumber their winter counterparts, the cold-weather industry has seen a stark rise in popularity. Last year, 120 markets offering locally-made products, from meat and dairy to vegetables, operated throughout the state – three times the number just eight years ago. The New York State government offers a map of winter farmer’s markets, so you can take advantage of this new trend.

    Look For Vegetables

    Some vegetables remain in-season even during the coldest months of the year. The cold weather can preserve late-harvested crops, leaving you with a plethora of choices. A number of crops, including chad, leeks, kale and spinach, in fact thrive in the later fall months, leaving them fresh for the remainder of winter.

    Root vegetables, such as carrots, constitute a major part of winter diets. These plants can offer a wide variety of flavors and nutrients when the prospect pool of food seems limited. You can prepare these any number of ways to create different dishes.

    Local cheeses and meats also persist throughout the winter sale period, including artisan varieties.

    Preserving Food

    The best way to eat well during the winter is to start preparing in the summer. By freezing, canning and carefully storing food during its peak seasons, you can keep it in reserve for periods of relative scarcity. It takes some work to pull this off properly, but Canadian organization FarmFolk CityFolk offers some tips on how you can undertake all these procedures in the comfort of your own home.

    FarmFolk CityFolk also suggests utilizing indoor, greenhouse and community gardens to keep food growing even in the coldest temperatures.

    Community Supported Agriculture

    Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) can provide you with fresh, local food, year-round. CSA supports the farming community and keeps your environmental impact positive – all it takes is a subscription. CSA works by having farmers offer shares of their output to the public. Members of the community purchase these shares, and in turn receive seasonal produce on a weekly basis. According to Jennifer Grayson of the Huffington Post, CSA farms store their produce and distribute them throughout the year, meaning that your shares don’t have to abide by seasonal dictation. By using Community Supported Agriculture, you can enjoy fresh spring and summer produce even in the dead of winter.

    Comments

    1. I am interested in local markets below 14th Street especially Farmers markets.

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