Local…It’s not just for summer anymore

A number of people I’ve met lately have asked if I take a long winter vacation, because there must be nothing going on with farmers’ markets at this time of year. They’ve been quite surprised to find out that we have a year-round market, and several have asked me why. This has been a useful reminder.

Even though local food seems to get plenty of attention on restaurant menus and in the media, a lot of people forget about it for half the year. We’re still heavily dependent on long-distance food and a system that doesn’t adequately support local farmers. Ontario could have a much greater supply of high-quality, varied, and delicious year-round local food if more people made it a priority to buy and enjoy it. After the thrill of last weekend’s march, I feel the need for some good signs….

Local ain’t just a bowl of cherries.
Because you need to eat twelve months a year, and so do farmers!
Give peas a chance, but don’t forget parsnips and potatoes.
I’m eating local for my future grandchildren.

Help me out here people! Send in some better slogans! Actually, instead of my corny ones (ooh, didn’t even think of potential corn puns!) I will return to a favourite which I didn’t write:

‘They tried to bury us. They didn’t know we were seeds.’

You may be a happy eater who doesn’t think of shopping at the market as an act of defiance. That’s fine. Whatever your reasons for supporting local organic farmers, you are contributing to a healthy local farming future.

There’s no hardship as far as selection goes, either! At our house, we prepared brunch for special friends last weekend, and almost everything on the table came from the market: leeks, dried wild mushrooms and eggs for the tart, smoked fish, salad with many kinds of greens, a little kimchi, various cheeses, and some of last summer’s frozen peaches in the dessert.

Everything on that list except the peaches should be available this week.

Laura (Bob Felhazi‘s helper) from Pine River sent a note to say she’s coming, and that means we’ll have incredibly tender kale, sweet, scrubbed carrots, winter radishes, and lovely potatoes.

Jens from Marvellous Edibles will have his cooler full of fresh and frozen meats and poultry, including the sausages of the week, more fresh greens, plus baskets of produce from the farm’s root cellars and an assortment of the preserves Ayse puts by with the harvests from their bountiful orchard and fields.

Yes, Spade & Spoon and DeFloured will be back!

We’re hoping Kevin from Shared Harvest will bring more of their canned tomatoes (jarred, actually), so handy for sauces and chili.

Ask about cheese, and Julia will spoil you with tastes of Monforte Dairy’s Water Buffalo, Sheep, and Cow’s Milk varieties, then head to the garage, where Byron will treat you to samples of ChocoSol’s delights. Who said winter eating is dull?

Bon appetit, and see you at the market!
Anne Freeman

Here’s our Vendor List for this week:

Ali Harris
Bees Universe
Country Meadows Gardens
Culture City
DeFloured (gluten-free)
Dufferin Park Bakers
Forbes Wild Foods
Kind Organics
Lovell Springs Trout
Marvellous Edibles
Monforte Dairy
Pine River Organic Farms
Plan B/Ted Thorpe
Shared Harvest Community Farm
Spade & Spoon

On this weekend: “Where Farmers & Consumers Meet”, the annual Guelph Organic Conference. Read all about it at www.guelphorganicconf.ca