Last week I asked readers how they eat locally in winter. A few MidWesterners responded, and I decided to call Mom of La Muncha, who lives in Northern New Mexico, to see what local options are like in in the high country. Also, check out our guest post from Montreal.
Meanwhile, here in Seattle the snows are but a pleasant memory.
EcoMama in Wisconsin wrote us:
I'm writing in response to your discussion about locavores in tougher climates. My family of ethicureans does our best to eat SOLE year round. It's definitely tougher to do that in Wisconsin in the Winter. Luckily, we live about 45 minutes from Madison's Farmers Market. We were able to get cabbage, broccoli, beets, spinach, potatoes, onions, and the other usual suspects for quite a while.
The pickings have gotten much slimmer over the past month, but our Whole Foods Market in Madison is still able to offer us local potatoes, leeks, cabbage, yogurt and things like locally made bread, baba ghanouj, and veggie burgers. We also still have local honey, maple syrup, wine, eggs, and milk. If we ate meat, we'd have plenty of local options.
Her mention of veggie burgers reminds me that Gardenburger was (and may still be) based in Portland, Oregon. I've never found out whether they sourced ingredients locally, but I can show you the big house in Portland that Gardenburger's founder built in the 1990s.
We still have a few preserves like apple butter and jam made from local fare, but we're learning that if we want more local foods year round, part of our efforts need to be preserving more foods in their own seasons. With what we do have access to, we're still able to do a good number of soups, stir fries, vegetable pies, and roasted vegetables as a local basis for our meals. We do have a blog detailing some of our efforts to eat locally, but it's a bit sparse. Eating local in Wisconsin definitely takes some effort, but it's certainly not impossible.
Check out their Year Round Harvest blog, which is pretty cool.
Mom of La Muncha has been a vegan for a number of years, except for a trip to France where she relished the local cheeses.
She participates in a CSA from Morningstar Farms, an organic and biodynamic farm located in Arroyo Seco that sells vegetables, chicken eggs and duck eggs. She's also a fan of the local farmers market, which, like the CSA, runs only from April until October.
Other than squash, apples, potatoes and similar items that can be stored in coolers, everything else is brought into the area during the winter.
JulieW reported from Ann Arbor, where the icicles grow as long as a person is tall, and included a nifty tip for locavoreans about Eden Foods:
... 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.
She continued with mention of making sauerkraut, which I love, but no recipe. Well, maybe next time. Ann Arbor's markets offer quite a bounty compared to Seattle, where the farmers are heading home to deal with winter floods and snow.
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.
Local butter? Oh, the envy.
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 (http://brines.org/) 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.
Passive solar is a great option for greenhouses, which typically are heated by burning fossil fuels.
hokan commented on the availability of meat, fowl, beans, grains, apples and mushrooms in wintry Minnesota.