Saturday, January 30, 2010

The Winter Farmer's Market

One of the challenges to eating local in the Winter can be the availability of local foods. Just like in the summertime, they are out there, but finding them quite often isn't as easy. One reason for this is that in many towns, the Farmer's Market shuts down at the end of Fall and doesn't start up again until late Spring. Luckily, this is changing. I am reading about more and more markets that are attempting to stay open year round. Ultimately, their success will depend on folks supporting them. But before they can support them, they must know they exist! Last weekend, I discovered through word of mouth that our town is now hosting a year-round market. While much smaller than our main market downtown, this Winter market still provides a lovely place to buy locally grown produce and goods. And it provides our farmers and food producers with some small amount of  Winter income. A win-win situation for everyone.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Dark Days Challenge - Week #10

For this weeks challenge, I looked at what was left of my summer harvest and what was available at the Farmer's Market. Soup seemed to be the answer. From my harvest, "Delicata" Squash are still filling the garage - well not quite. But perhaps next year a few less "Delicata" and a few more plants of another variety. My newly discovered Winter Farmer's Market still had a nice selection of potatoes and many beautiful leeks. Now all I needed was a recipe. There are probably as many Potato & Leek Soup recipes as there are cooks. But I wanted something special. After a search on google I discovered the site Pinch My Salt and read Nicole's recipe. Besides sounding delicious I loved the story attached to it. Recipes connected to loved ones always taste better. My only addition was to throw in one Delicata" with the potatoes. It nicely blended in with the potatoes, added some important nutriants, and got rid of one more squash from the garage! Here is the link to Nicole's recipe.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

A Beautiful Winter Day - and Signs of Spring

After a storm moving thru the area yesterday, we were treated today with a beautiful, sunny day. By early afternoon the temperatures had risen to the 50's and it was time to get outside! As I walked around the property,even though we are in deep Winter, there were signs everywhere pointing to Springs eventual arrival. Above, is pictured a tip on one of the branches of one of the three "Sweet Gums". The buds are really beginning to swell and are turning a deep red color.

I also came across our patch of "Early Sensation" daffodils. They are already up a good 2-4", although most of the other varieties have yet to poke out of the ground. These should be blooming by mid-February.

It wouldn't be a proper hike around the property without my faithful companion Cleo. She was enjoying the sunny day every bit as much as I was.

Even the indoor cats were loving the unseasonably warm weather. You find the sun where ever you can!

Not everyone was on-board. Tom clearly knows there's still 2 more months until Spring and would kindly like me to quit taking pictures and go away. Kitty hibernation at its best!

Friday, January 22, 2010

Today was the first blue-sky , sunny day that we have had for such a long time. As I drove home from work, the sunset got more and more intense. I managed to snap this photo just in time, before darkness fell. We still have a long way to go, but it is so encouraging to have it light now until 5:30.