Thursday, January 13, 2011

Winter's Bounty: Find Some Local Inspiration in the Snow

Today marks the second blizzard of the season for Massachusetts, and while it's certainly lovely to cozy up to a snowy window with a steaming cup of tea, this weather can make the fresh, local bounty of the farmers market season feel like a figment of the imagination. Around this time of year I often face a bout of the winter blues, not just because I'm so uncomfortable in the bitter Boston cold, but also because I find myself at such a loss in the kitchen. The refrigerator that has been overflowing with greens and tomatoes all summer, then carrots and kale through the fall, is suddenly bare, bereft of vegetables and of inspiration--a couple of turnips in the produce drawer just don't cut it. Neither do the supermarket staples of pale, limp lettuce in a plastic bag or washed out tomatoes from Mexico. What's a New England girl to do when her CSA has ended and the coldest months of winter still remain?

Last year I found some respite in the winter farm share from Enterprise Farm, which operates under the mostly-local idea of an East Coast food shed: lots of food from Massachusetts and some from family farms along the coast. It's certainly better to get a couple of zucchini from Georgia than from South America somewhere. This year, thanks to the amazing folks at Red Fire Farm, we'll be getting a truly local farm share through the heart of winter, with a mix of storage veggies, greenhouse greens, and products made by area vendors from the local summer harvest. What will such a share really include? I've been wondering the same thing, and with the first share arriving tomorrow I finally know what deliciousness awaits: there will be shallots, butternut squash, celery root (hooray!), carrots, and spinach, just to name a few. And we'll have pickles from Real Pickles and frozen Red Fire green beans. I can already feel the creative juices flowing...celery root soup? radish salad? roast butternut squash with a spinach and shallot stuffing? The possibilities will be endless once again, and EcoFoodie recipes will be soon to follow!

For those of you without a regular Winter CSA, do not despair. Thanks to the ongoing work of the Federation of Massachusetts Farmers Markets and the many farmers and vendors with whom they partner, winter farmers markets have become an increasingly common affair. There are weekly markets across the state throughout the season, with all kinds of goodies to be discovered. For all you Bostonians, there are markets in Dedham, Natick, and Somerville--no matter where you are there are fresh, local ingredients nearby. So slap on those snow boots and head to the market this weekend. Much yumminess and inspiration await!

To find a market near you, click here and type 'winter' into the "Enter part of the name of a Market" field.

Photo by paige_eliz via Flickr Creative Commons.


  1. The Wayland Winter Farmers’ Market runs weekly on Saturdays (through March 12) from 10 AM to 2 PM in the greenhouses of Russell’s Garden Center, featuring over 30 vendors.

    Last year we had a “Wool Day” at the Winter Market and invited New England farmers who produce their own wool from animals that they raise. That day was so successful, that we have decided to do it twice this season.

    “Wool Days” are January 22nd and February 12th during market hours. This event will appeal to those who knit, crochet, weave and enjoy fiber arts. Our farm vendor list includes Bally Duff Farm (Harmony, RI) Foxhill Farm (Lee, MA), North Brook Alpaca Farm (Berlin, MA), Rag Hill Farm (Colrain, MA), Tintagel Farm (Brookfield, MA), Windy Hamlet Farm (W. Brookfield) Windy Hill Farm (Lakeville, MA) and Winterberry Farm (Leverett, MA).

    Fresh vegetables are offered by farmers’ who have learned the season-extending techniques of cool season growing using high tunnels, growing hydroponically and through winter storage. We are so fortunate to have these farmers, who will be traveling from the Pioneer Valley, Cape Cod, Littleton and Charlton to provide us with fresh Massachusetts grown vegetables.

    Specialty food producers include Vermont and Massachusetts farm cheeses, maple and honey products, low-sugar jams, dessert sauces, black bean salsa, fresh pasta & sauces, pickles and Bola Granola.

    Plenty of breakfast and lunch foods are available to enjoy during the market. Danish pastries, warm apple pie bread, bagels, chowders, smoked fish, pulled pork sandwiches, selections from The Herb Lyceum, Giovanna Gelato, Goodies Cookies, baba ganoush, marinades, dressings, dips and grape leaves. Beverages include Sudbury-roasted, fair trade Karma Coffee and fourth generation Tower Root Beer.

    Globe Fish brings freshly caught seafood, and frozen meal kits from Healthy Habits Kitchen are available.

    In August, legislation was passed, allowing farm wineries to attend farmers’ markets, offer tastings and sell bottled wines. In celebration of the passage of this bill, we will be having “Massachusetts Farm Wineries Day” on January 29th during market hours.

    If you would like to subscribe to the weekly email detailing vendors that will be present each week, please send a note to, or follow us on the ‘Wayland Winter Farmers’ Market’ Facebook page for updates.

    Russell’s Garden Center is located at 397 Boston Post Road, Wayland, MA 01778. Phone information: 508-358-2283.

  2. Thanks, ecofoodie!!! Even during the winter months you seem to inspire me to eat well! Keep the info coming, please!

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  4. Thank you, Peg, for all of the great info! And Kate, I hope you find even more inspiration at your local farmers market--happy eating!

  5. Thank you so much for this information and inspiration! I didn't know there were winter markets available. I will definitely be checking one out ASAP!