Posted by Susan, Earned Media and Goodness Programs Manager
Delicious coffee, old friends, inspiring meal ideas, fresh root veggies and, umm … nesting balls? Yup, these are the things that bring me out to our winter farmers markets every other week. It’s a roaming town square for my little city.
With the short growing season in northern New England, we anticipate the May opening of our local Saturday farmers market the way some look forward to Super Bowl Sunday or Black Friday. The farmers market is where friends meet, acquaintances catch up on the past winter’s news, and community is built and celebrated. And, of course, we plan our gardens, buy our seedlings, get advice on pocket shade gardens and debate the best early lettuce to plant before Memorial Day or (gasp!) the last frost. And the end of the markets in early November is a sad affair; we go faithfully each weekend even as the stands have less fresh produce to offer. Thankfully, as the produce becomes more scarce, the creativity of the farmers ramps up — these artists of the soil teach us how to use maple syrup when broiling salmon and how late-harvest cilantro tomatillo salsa will carry us through the dark, cold months with a south-of-the-border flair.
The advent of the winter farmers markets a few years back came to our small community with great fanfare. Ahhh, not only would we be able to get fresh eggs, local butternut squash and mesclun salad mix, but we’d get our community back. Seacoast Eat Local has been thoughtfully innovative as it’s worked to find the best locations to host the markets — large greenhouses, typically closed in the winter, are a perfect option if you’re looking for an indoor winter venue!
If you live in an area where winter means “cold” and “snow,” you might assume your farmers markets close down for the season, but a quick internet search might prove otherwise! If you find winter farmers markets in your area, I hope you’ll check them out and find them to be as rewarding as I do. The inspiration to cook with fresh, local foods, the education and the community provided by these markets carry us through the long, albeit gorgeous, New England winters.
Check out this article on how to creatively use winter greens all winter long. What winter food recipes do you love?
A guide to loving winter greens