By Alyssa D’Amico of Niche Wellness
I hate to bring up this dreaded word, but winter feels like it is coming around the corner. And with that, is what I like to call the local food crisis. Many people are passionate about eating local year round but feel it is near impossible to do so in our more northern Ohio climate. However, by being prepared early and being realistic with your menu, it is achievable.
How to eat local foods all year in Ohio:
1.) Preservation: The act of preventing decay or spoilage. This can be done using various processes, both modern and traditional. Some of my favorites including canning, dehydrating, drying, fermenting, pickling or freezing. Now is the time to take advantage of the surplus! With an abundance of local classes, resources, and books available these skills can be easily mastered.
2.) Storing: Winter Squash, root veggies, onions, garlic, and apples are among many items that can be kept throughout the winter if stored properly. Use of a root cellar or dark cool place can prolong their shelf-life. However, be cautious of how and what you store together. Check out the farmer’s almanac for complete details.
3.) Dried Beans and Grains: Several local farms offer beans, grains, and flours available to consumers. These items typically have a longer storage capacity and can be great to use to make winter stews. Check out Breakneck Acres’ website for their full line of products, as well as Mud Run Farm at Countryside Farmers’ Markets.
4.) Make and Freeze: Summer soups, pesto, and even steamed veggies can be prepared and frozen for later use.
5.) Embrace the protein: Many meats and animal products can be stored in the freezer or fridge over the winter. Stock up on quality, naturally raised meats.
6.) Extended Season: Many farmers have taken advantage of season extension techniques such as hoop houses and cold frames. In turn, certain vegetables can be offered year round (or close).
7.) Be Realistic: Just like you can’t get a local banana in the summer, you can’t get one in the winter either. Some items are, unfortunately, unavailable locally for Ohio consumers. Embrace what we do have available, and supplement with organic and small farmed foods from other close-by regions when desired.
Although it may seem difficult, with some planning, a little preparation, and trips to the farmers’ market now and later, eating a local and whole foods diet year round is achievable. For more information, services and for my local foods blog, please check out www.nichewellness.com and like me on Facebook!