Whenever I talk about eating local food, the question always comes up, “What about winter?” First, I never claim to eat ONLY local foods; only to do so whenever I can, and to support local farmers and businesses and restaurants as much as possible. I realize that “whenever I can” and “as much as possible” is fairly broad; however, everyone can take small steps so I hesitate to issue food commandments.
It would be easy to wag my finger and say “why, didn’t you freeze or can enough local produce to get you through the winter?” But then I’d have to admit that I didn’t get beyond freezing some blueberries and canning some tomato products. And so I assume that others are in the same predicament.
Last year I participated in Eater’s Guild’s winter CSA. While I was very happy with what I received, I won’t be doing it again because the drive from my house to Fennville every other week was just too much; those wintry roads seemed to always get worse on my way to the lakeshore.
So I was not only excited to learn that my summer CSA farm, Trillium Haven, will be offering vegetables for individual purchases through late November/early December, but that Visser Family Farms will be offering weekly vegetable boxes throughout the fall and winter! Neither of these is a CSA in the subscription sense, but it’s still a great way to support local farms.
If you prefer to choose items online, there are two resources I wholeheartedly recommend: Artisan Food Express, with weekly ordering and delivery, and West Michigan Co-op, with monthly ordering and pickups. I have used Artisan Food Express and Sheri is always so helpful; I have been intending to use West Michigan Co-op for a couple of years now but the pickup dates never seem to work out for me. However I have friends who use them regularly.
Some farmer’s markets are open through December; check out Real Time Farms to see which markets are open each day. Someday we’ll have a year-round farmer’s market. Until then, the choices above should keep any locavore fed!