Eating local is akin to eating seasonally, and the benefits are widespread for the eater, the economy and the environment. Most of the time, eating seasonally is also a lot of fun, you get to discover new foods and learn new ways to prepare them. But what are we supposed to do in the middle of winter?

Eating local in winter often means eating the foods that were picked and sometimes preserved in autumn, at the end of the last harvest. Look at the foods your grandmother (or great-grandmother, depending on your age) would have prepared: soups, stews, breads, meat (for meat-eaters), root vegetables, fruits, pulses, pasta, grains.

Thanks to the wonders of the greenhouse and winter farming, we do have access to delicious local food in winter.

Here is a list of locally available foods. It is by no means exhaustive, but I want to show that while our choices are more limited this time of year, we still have some decent options.

Vegetables: Beets, carrots, cabbage, celeriac root, garlic, Jerusalem artichokes, red kale, leeks, button mushrooms, crimini mushrooms, Portobello, shitake, red and yellow onions, parsnip (everyone’s fave!), fingerling potatoes, rutabaga, acorn squash, butternut squash, pumpkin, spaghetti squash, turnip, sweet potatoes.

(Thank you Pfennings, for listing where your food comes from on your website)

Fruit: apples, pears, dried fruits — like apricots, raisins, prunes, cherries, apple, certain berries, etc.

Grains and pulses: wheat, spelt, oats, barley, rice, millet, amaranth, quinoa, flax, corn, buckwheat, hemp, beans (pinto, kidney, navy beans, black), lentils (red, green), split peas (green, yellow).

Animal foods: milk, eggs, yogurt, kefir, cheese, beef, chicken, duck, pork, turkey.

Seeds: sunflower, pumpkin, sesame.

(Thank you Grassroots Organics for listing your bounty)

If you aren’t always able to find local foods, don’t fret. Take a minute to think about your reasons for choosing local in the first place, and apply these same principles to the foods that are available. If you’re concerned about nutrition or the environment, opt for the foods that meet your criteria ( organic, sustainable, fair trade, etc.).

In the meantime, as we wait patiently for those first cherries to appear, we can become soup and stew experts. Here are a couple yummy winter recipes to help get you started:

Epicurious – Celery Root and Potato Puree with Roasted Jerusalem Artichoke “Croutons”

101Cookbooks – Lively up yourself lentil soup


  1. Tweets that mention How to eat local in winter :: LocalFoody Blog -- says:

    January 11th, 2011 at 6:55 pm (#)

    […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by td*. td* said: RT @LocalFoody: New post: How to eat local in winter […]

Leave a Response