Food for Thought: Is it Possible to be a Locavore in a New England Winter?

Is it possible to be a locavore in a New England winter?  The Smart Green Gourmet is determined to find out.  After shopping at farmer’s markets throughout the Spring, Summer, and Fall, I searched for a way to continue buying local, seasonal, organic/sustainable produce in the winter months.  Last winter, the only thing I could find at Whole Foods, Shaw’s, and Wilson Farm in the winter were turnips.  My dedication to local foods crumbled when confronted week after week with their purply-white peels.

So I had initially shied away from joining a winter farmshare for fear that I would eat nothing but  turnips all winter long.  But this winter I stumbled upon Enterprise Farms, which takes an innovative approach to wintertime Community Supported Agriculture.  Enterprise has created a regional “food shed” to supplement local New England organic produce with partner organic/sustainable farms from the East Coast.  This way my food still travels a shorter distance and consumes fewer resources than if I had bought it at the grocery store, and I can still support small farmers, but I can eat citrus and parsley as well as turnips.   Jordan and Kelley at Enterprise were also very helpful and were willing to tolerate my crazy travel schedule and let us try out a small share from February 1 through May 1.  They had many pick-up locations, including one right near me, and they even deliver by bike in a pinch.  So we signed on for a small share, which easily fits in a canvas shopping bag.  It was great to meet all of my neighbors as everyone lined up to receive their boxes of delicious produce.  Many brought their kids along to learn about local food.  Perhaps they were taking a cue from Michele Obama, who introduces schoolchildren to her White House garden as part of her crusade against childhood obesity, using fresh veggies to teach kids about healthy food and the Earth from which it grows. 

This week, I received:

The produce did not disappoint.  Tonight, the fresh arugula brought a breath of Spring to my Winter table in a salad with crisp apples, walnuts, roasted fennel, fennel fronds, and a sweet sherry vinaigrette.  And after today’s news, I’m especially glad to know where my salad is coming from.  Maybe tomorrow I’ll tackle the turnips.