April 17, 2011 01:56 PM
At this time of year, many people think there’s no locally produced food available. The winter crops are gone and its too early for the spring crops. Well, there’s still lots of variety available. Here’s what I found at the Rochester Public Market today. There are winter crops stored from last fall, including squash, potatoes, cabbage, onions, and beets. Then there are the fresh produce grown under glass, including tomatoes and many types of greens. Many of these are hydoponic, but also for the first time I saw soil-grown organic greens available, grown in Penfield by Fresh Wise! And finally, the smallest category this month, produce harvesting from open air fields. The only thing I saw this time were ramps, a delicacy in the onion/garlic family. They have a wonderful pungent flavor and can be used in recipes like onions and garlic. Last night I also just fried some up in butter and a little hot pepper - delicious.
Finally, there are a vast variety of animal products that are available all year. There’s every type of cut of beef and pork, chickens, and a wide range of charcuterie. This week I saw dried beef, chorizo sausage, breakfast sausages, and italian sausage. Lamb is available by advanced order from Rick Austin, And of course, a wide variety of locally produced milk products, milk, cream, butter, yoghurt, and a good variety of locally made cheeses. We mostly eat raw milk cheeses, and this week I bought Meadow Creek Farm Raw Milk Cheddar, and Finger Lakes Farmstead Cheese’s Red Meck Gouda. Eggs, ranging from organic pastured eggs to more conventionally produced eggs, are available from a wide range of vendors. And, if you’re so inclined, there’s live chickens and rabbits!
So its perfectly possible to eat mostly local even in April, especially if you’ve preserved some fruit and berries from last summer. We mostly freeze fruit such as blueberries, peaches, strawberries, as it the least amount of work!