It’s getting to be that time of year, folks. We all know what’s coming. We feel the morning chill and see the scenery growing more dramatic by the day. Next thing you know it’ll be below freezing and the color will be gone, along with the abundance the warmer seasons bring. Life slows down in the winter, and our fellow animals react accordingly, hibernating and doing their best to stay warm.
Fortunately, we don’t just abstain from eating because it’s cold outside. That would mean four months of hangry Sam (maybe that’s why bears are known for their rude behavior.) So we have to eat in the winter, but we’re serious about local food. That means season extension is the only option for The Harvest Table Farm. For some people, season extension just means earlier tomatoes. " For us, it means greens all winter, potatoes and winter squash in the root cellar, stuff the freezer full of the excess while it’s around, and keep the dehydrator going all summer long."
What can you grow when there’s snow on the ground?
We always grow the greens we know will perform well through the winter: kale, spinach, and lettuce. In fact, these greens taste BETTER once a frost or two have hit them. They’re less bitter, and still just as healthy. That’s right. NOW is the time for salads, not July! Tomatoes and cucumbers make a wonderful salad on their own in July, but fall and winter are times to celebrate the full flavor of greens. We also push the seasons for other greens like chard, mizuna, and mustard that add flavor and color to the palate.
Beets and carrots and beets and carrots and beets and carrots.
And parsnips, and turnips, and rutabagas, and radishes.
Many of these crops can remain in the ground under mulch through the winter. Others keep well in the root cellar for months after they’ve been harvested. Look for varieties that are bred for storage or cold hardiness.
Cilantro, dill, cutting celery, fennel and parsley all enjoy the cooler temperatures, and can survive the cold winter days with minimal row cover protection.
Combine some of that with those dried tomatoes, storage winter squash and potatoes, and frozen fruit, and you’ve got a diversity of local food to get you through these cold, hungry months without suffering a bit.
Watch our restaurant menu as it evolves around the seasons, and get some ideas for your own kitchen- happy cooking!