When you think of eating local, a farmers market comes to mind and all their fresh, colorful vegetables. With winters freezing temperatures and people in hibernation mode, it's easy to forget how many great items are available no matter what season we're experiencing.
Before super markets became a way of life, people had gardens. They visited local store, such as the butcher, the baker, perhaps a candlestick maker (now you can't remember where comes from!) to gather staples for their homes. They used the growing season to eat delicious, fresh food as well as can these items to eat all year long. Now that we can walk into any grocery store and get bananas, cumin, and ice cream at any time, it doesn't occur to us that life wasn't always like this.
Local food and handcrafted items are coming back around in part because people see value in fresh, clean and well cared for products. It's hard this time of year to imagine life with farmers markets but there is a surprising amount of local food available even in the winter.
1. Pepper and slaw products - With the peppers and onions farmers grow in the summer, great flavors in chow chow, banana peppers, sauces and more are created when they process them after the season is over. Brenckle's and Clarion River Organics will surprise you with flavor. Make dips with them, slather them on meat, or eat them right out of the jar.
2. Jelly, so much jelly - While you cannot find a fresh berry right now, those local flavors are put into a jar by Batch, Jarred, Bylers and so many other great local people. Just think about how much better your bagel will taste with jam made with locally grown berries in these dreary months!
3. Meat - Animals are raised all year long so finding grass fed meat that is raised with no hormones is fairly easy to find. In fact, meat is one of the items my husband is the most surprised with how much better it tastes. No, we're not eating too many burgers this time of year but Cheeseburger casserole has some tasty local beef adding protein and flavor in it.
4. Coffee - Since we're talking about my husband (oh, you weren't?), he is a big local coffee lover now. Locally roasted coffee happens all year long and is much better way to start your day. As a side note, there is something about local roasters because I tell ya, the two we work with, Hunter Brothers and Allegheny Coffee, are just some of the greatest people you'll ever meet!
Honestly, I could go on because we have local honey, free range eggs, handmade pretzels, and more. But that's what you get at a local product store. All year long, you can find locally created goodness to bring flavor, clean eating, and fantastic flavor into your home.
And that butcher, baker and candlestick maker - Rub a dub dub nursery rhyme. Here's a link... you're welcome.