Ask the Reader: How do you cook locally in winter?

One of our readers piped up - imagine! - and suggested that even more interesting tales of locavorean cooking would be found in places like Minnesota or New Hampshire.

At issue was my comment on Food and Wine's article on eating like a locavore. I suggested that California is too easy, and that Washington and Texas would be more interesting.

The mention of Washington and Texas were obvious - or so I thought - jokey references to our correspondents here in Washington and afar in Texas.

California's Bay Area lies in a more temperate zone than Puget Sound, where snow is common in January and February, and fresh vegetables other than root vegetables are uncommon. While this year's cold spell is unusual for California, it is what Washingtonians expect at this time of year.

I agree in principle with Kevin's comment. Eating locally in Minnesota would be a challenge during the winter. I can't imagine having eaten locally when I was a child in Alaska in the 1970s, at a time when there may not have been local greenhouses providing fruit and vegetables. Fish was the locavorean dish of choice in Anchorage.

This leads me to the question in the title. We have readers from many parts of the world, in temperate and intemperate zones, and we are interested in knowing your thoughts:

How do you cook locally in winter?

While we continue to twist the arms of friends in distant places to write about their regions, our primary areas of coverage remain California's Bay Area, Washington's Puget Sound, and central Texas. (Other guest posts from less hospitable regions are in the works. Stay tuned.)

In the meantime, we would be interested to know your answers to the question. Feel free to comment below, or email and we'll be happy to post a follow-up summary. Be sure to include what region of the planet is local for you.

2 Responsesto “Ask the Reader: How do you cook locally in winter?”

  1. hokan says:

    Winter in Minnesota: lots of meat and fowl; around a dozen kinds of dry beans; many grains including wheat, corn, oats; root veggies; frozen veggies (Green Giant, SnoPac); hothouse tomatoes; apples (for a while); winter squash; cultivated and dry mushrooms;dairy;eggs;canola and grapeseed oil.

  2. Juliew says:

    I live in Ann Arbor in southeastern Michigan and I think the keys to eating locally in the winter are to plan ahead and establish connections with local farmers. This year we froze local corn, broccoli, peppers, and raspberries. We still have parsley, sage, oregano, and thyme growing in their sunny spot next to the house (it has been a mild winter). Our local tomato season was bad this year so we didn't can any, but we eat Eden Foods canned tomatoes since the company is local and almost all of their tomatoes are from Michigan. We made our own sauerkraut in the fall which should take us into spring. We can still get local onions, potatoes, apples, pears, turnips, radishes, parsnips, eggs, meat, grains, winter squashes, and maple syrup at our Farmer's Market. The textures of the fruit and vegetables do diminish a bit over the winter, but the taste often even improves. We get all our dairy, including butter, delivered year-round from a local dairy with local cows. We also have a lot of dried beans. This year, a local farmer started a passive solar greenhouse where he grows a large variety of greens in the ground ( so luckily we are even eating local greens throughout the year. We have found it is actually quite easy to eat locally in the winter here once you figure it out.