Lohbrunner Community Farm: Eat Local Year-Round 

Posted on Friday, 5 February 2021 under Stories

Here at Lohbrunner Community Farm, we are big fans of local eating, and all year round if we can help it. This is why our Homesteader group of growers collectively focus on producing large amounts of winter storage crops to be shared amongst themselves and our market farmers always stockpile a number of veggies for their own winter stores in the fall.

While local eating got a big boost in 2020 due to the global pandemic which highlighted weaknesses in our globalized food system and making a short, direct-from-farmer supply chain seem extra desirable, a lot of the hype around eating local focuses, understandably, on summer and early fall. This is understandable because there is simply so much abundance at that time of year, including a lot of high-profile, well-known, and sought-after crops. This includes local food movement poster children such as luscious tomatoes, crispy cucumbers, sweet corn, aromatic basil, crunchy carrots, sweet strawberries, fresh greens, and even some fall favourites like hearty beets, pungent leeks, and rich winter squash.

As some of these more standard favourites fade away, so too, does some of the support for local vegetables. However, even this time of year – December, January, and February – can be surprisingly abundant and flavourful if you know where to look or have the ability to stock up ahead of time.

varieties of produce laid out on a wooden deck

Photo courtesy of Ariella Falkowski

Now and for the past couple of months, for an avid “locavore,” meals might contain any combination of winter squash, potatoes, beets, carrots, celery root, cabbage or sauerkraut, frozen or canned tomatoes, onions, shallots, garlic, winter storage radishes like daikon, radicchio, kohlrabi, parsnips, and more! Not to mention, for those in the Pacific Northwest, there is a surprising amount of cold-hardy, winter greens available from the intrepid local farmers who grow year-round – salad mix, kale, chard, and much more.

So despite a definite drop off of local produce variety in the winter – as you can see, there is still a lot to make your winter meals delicious and healthy, that can be sourced locally.

With that, we at Lohbrunner encourage you to try to eat local through the better part of the year! This might mean finding a year-round farmers market and trying some of the new vegetables you might find there; purchasing larger amounts of locally grown storage crops in the fall, and storing (and eating them!) through the winter; or finding and joining a winter Community Supported Agriculture program.

If you are new to year-round local eating, it will also most definitely mean a seasonal shift in diet and some effort in the sunnier, more bountiful times of year to “put food by” by freezing, canning, drying, or fermenting things. If that sounds like a lot of work – don’t worry – it is worth it! Plus your body, your tastebuds, the planet, and your local farmers will thank you for your efforts!

Banner image courtesy of Ariella Falkowski.