January’s Bounty

January Farmers Market PurchasesTen years ago, if you wanted to eat locally-grown food in January, you were pretty much on your own, canning, drying, freezing, or root-cellaring the harvest in preparation for the long winter. You might have found local honey and maple syrup at the grocery store, maybe local milk and cheese, but very little else. Saturday, I went to two winter markets: one in Enfield and one in Norwich, and found a bounty that delights this localvore heart:

* Dried beans, sunflower oil, frozen marinara sauce, and soups from Cedar Circle Farm

* Beautiful organic spinach and sweet potatoes from Luna Bleu

* Pea sprouts and alfalfa sprouts from Autumn Harvest Farm

* Vicky Day’s Preserves made from their own berries

* Squashes, carrots, parsnips, onions, garlic, shallots, celeriac, cabbages, kohlrabi, beets, potatoes, meats, fresh eggs; honey, maple syrup, and local cheese.

A trip to the Lebanon or Upper Valley co-ops offers other locally-grown items:

* Neighboring Food Coops frozen corn, green beans, broccoli
* Ice cream from Strafford Organic Creamery and Walpole Creamery
* Champlain Orchards apples and cider
* Butterworks Farm yogurts, buttermilk, kefir, and heavy cream
* Milk in returnable bottles from two local dairies
* Vermont Soy milk and tofu
* Farnum Hill Hard Ciders
* BeidlerFamily Farm whole spelt and whole wheat flours (in bulk)
* Local meats (including Stonewood Farm turkey sausage)
* Local cheeses (including Maplebrook Farm mozzarella)
* Long Wind Farm organic tomatoes

Many farmers have responded to the growing desire for locally-grown foods, extending the growing season with high tunnels and greenhouses, experimenting with new products (such as rice!), flash freezing, Winooski Bean Thresher Co-op, grain growing, and working cooperatively to pack and store goods for the long winter. (The Neighboring Food Co-ops frozen foods were the product of cooperation among 30 co-ops, Sunrise Orchards, regional farmers, Deep Root Organic Co-op, and regional processors . . a lot of cooperation!) We are still far from regional self-reliance, but we are certainly on our way! Have you other locally-grown “finds” to add to the list?

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