It can be somewhat hard to fathom when the weather is so confusing, but Winter is not normally thought of as a bountiful harvest time. If you’ve been out and about over the past several weeks, you know what we’re talking about. One day it’s 35 and raining, the next it’s 65 and breezy, then snow, then pushing 70. It’s Mother Nature’s version of the “Bob & Weave.”
“Go ahead! Tag me! Nyah Nyah! You missed!”
But wobbling weather is no reason to kick your commitment to good, healthy food to the proverbial curb. Sure, you may not be stepping outside to pick a fresh tomato off of your own vine, but there are a great number of foods that are still available and good for your Winter repast.
The best way to get your Winter organic on is to raid the root cellar. While there’s nothing quite like eating something fresh out of the ground or off of the vine, things that grow IN the ground can be held for a long time before you munch on them. These are root vegetables like carrots, potatoes and onions.
Another great addition to that list is beets. Not the pickled kind, but out of the ground beets. Like in our Winter Beet Salad. You know – the one with oranges, fennel and mint? Which brings us to another way to stay fresh in the Winter: Fruit.
We try to stay as local as possible with our purchases, but also try to avoid scurvy, so sprinkle our menu with fruit as much as possible. This sometimes means resorting to dried cranberries and cherry preserves (As in our Fruits of the Farm), but we also use pears, tangerines, and good, Virginia apples.
Contrary to popular belief, not everything fresh in your basket needs to be shipped in or culled from your dark, dank basement. There are a great many leafy type vegetables that can be found pretty close to here to augment your meal. If they can, after all, now grow palm trees in North Carolina, we should be able to find some lettuce, right?
Kale is a great leafy green and a good source of vitamins. This time of year you can also tuck in to cabbages, lettuce, spinach and Brussels sprouts. If you source carefully, you can load up your plate with peas, cauliflower, broccoli, and a garden’s worth more. Local, fresh, organic cucumbers or tomatoes? Not so much. You can find them fresh and/or organic, but they likely came from a land far, far away.
If you think about it, back in the good old days before refrigerators and crispers and interstate commerce, we didn’t survive the winter by eating tree bark and shoes…
Okay. Historically speaking, we sometimes did. But times have changed! Today, you can eat fresh and organic regardless of the season, and you don’t have to go against your better judgment to do it. A good first step might be to visit The Urban Farmhouse. We even made it easier for you by opening a new location. So there. Dig in.