We get a lot of questions about what we do during the winter. Some people may not realize that we deliver every week, year-round, rain or snow! Here are all of the things we do during the winter to make sure you’re getting access to quality local and sustainable food, even when the Farmer’s Market is closed.
Even though it’s cold outside, farmers in the area are still harvesting a great plethora of produce. For example, our local greenhouse farms as well as winter staples such as squash, apples, and root vegetables thrive in the winter. We want to highlight some of our favorite winter vegetables, and the great value-add items that complete our winter bags. We also source organic and sustainable citrus fruit from Florida, as well as fair trade and sustainably grown bananas and avocados from Mexico and Peru to add variety and zing to the winter share.
Still not sure what a winter share looks like? Check out our running gallery to get your taste buds salivating.
Like the idea of supporting local farmers all year round and receiving a bag of sustainably grown produce at your doorstep every week? Sign up here and use the discount code SHARINGISCARING for $10 off your first bag. Remember, if you don’t like it, no problem – simply cancel or pause your subscription anytime.
Fair trade Bananas and Avocados
We partner with Equal Exchange to bring you fair trade bananas and avocados. What does that mean exactly? Equal Exchange has challenged traditional trade models for over 20 years. Starting with the coffee industry in 1986, they have since provided market access to small-scale tea producers and cacao farmers internationally. Equal Exchange sources its bananas from progressive small farmer co-operatives in Peru and Ecuador. According to the USDA, the average American eats 26 pounds of bananas per year. That’s a lot of bananas – and a big opportunity for impact. The banana industry is notorious for low wages and heavy chemical use, causing major health problems across banana producing regions. Together, Equal Exchange and its banana partners are creating a trade model that respects farmers, builds communities, and supports the environment. Thank you for supporting a better future for banana and avocado farmers! If you want to find out more about why we’re choosing to incorporate non-local, fair trade bananas and avocados, check out our post here. If you’re not into bananas or avocados for one reason or another, that’s totally cool – simply login to your account and swap ‘em out.
A special local root vegetable, the celeriac root, is a great crop for farmers to harvest during the winter because they grow underground – they are kind of ugly but super delicious. A favorite of Yotam Ottolenghi, the famous British chef who dedicated 2 beautiful cookbooks entirely to vegetables loves to roast it in the oven on low heat for 3-5 hours coated in salt and olive oil. The celery flavor of celery root is a luscious, creamy, heaven-can-wait kind of celery flavor with no strings attached. You can find more recipes and info about it here.
Another special winter vegetable we often have are Jerusalem Artichokes, also known as sunchokes. Looking knobby and ruddy, they boast a great nutty sweetness. A good source of Thiamin, Phosphorus and Potassium, as well as a great source of iron, they pack a nutritional punch. You can scrub and roast them whole like mini jacket potatoes and split them open, drizzled with a little chilli oil. You can even use them in a salad with smoky bacon. A Jerusalem artichoke’s best friends are sage, thyme, butter, bacon, bay, cream, breadcrumbs, cheese and anything smoked. You can find out more about them on our storage blog post about them here.
We receive a wide variety of winter squash such as butternut, spaghetti, acorn, delicata and carnival. Whether roasted, pureed, or sautéed, winter squash can be prepared in endless different ways. Loaded with fiber, and Vitamins A and C, squash range in flavor, but most have a mild, sweet and nutty flavor with a wonderful soft texture. For a full breakdown of the most common varieties and what to use them for, check out this article.
Being a trendy and super popular vegetable is easy for this health boosting root. Helping to lower blood pressure, fight inflammation and be high in Vitamin C, beets also have a great sweet and earthy flavor to them. Whether roasted, pickled, grated or steamed, beets can be the star of a dish or add great texture and sweet flavor. Check out these 31 recipes for some beet-spiration.
Coming in all colors of the rainbow, these little roots can be sweet to bitter in taste, and pack a great crunch. Helping to protect your kidney and urinary system from infections, they also boost your immune system. Adding instant zing to any dish, they can be munched on raw, sliced onto soups, salads or sandwiches, roasted or sautéed.
Although we try to always get seasonal produce, fruits don’t tend to grow well in the Mid-Atlantic region during the cold winter months. To stay alive as a company and make it through the winter, it was necessary for us to add organic and sustainably grown citrus fruit to our bags. From grapefruits to blood oranges and lemons, a burst of citrus can brighten up a drab winter day.
Uncle Matt’s Organic is one of the farms we get our citrus fruit from. A small cooperative of 25 families growing organic citrus in Florida, they care deeply about their role as stewards of the planet, the environment, and their food system – which, as it happens, is also our food system. Uncle Matt’s, and people like them, can survive (and thrive) if they have customers like us buying from these families in their peak season. In turn, we can survive (and thrive) by keeping our 4P members happy with a little more variety in these cold winter months when, let’s face it, there’s only so many ways you can cook a radish. Read more about why we choose to include non-local citrus fruit from our founder here.
Artisanal locally produced goods
Incredible pickles, jams, sauerkrauts, sauces, snack bars, roasted chickpeas, honey and other locally produced items will appear in your bag to keep you on your toes in the winter. We love to highlight companies that share similar values to ours – for example Number 1 Sons, a pickling company located in Arlington, VA works hard to ensure their business is doing its part for the planet. They store all of their product in reusable containers and attempt to use recycled products in all aspects of their business, including their “crappy” van. If you want to read more about how they make their pickled vegetables and about their company, check out their producer profile here.
Some examples of items in the past have been:
Cold pressed juice from Misfit Juicery
Raw local honey from Bees and Trees Farm
Sauerkraut from The Sweet Farm
Jams from Agriberry
Granola from Michele’s Granola
Salad dressing from Dress it up Dressing
Organic Tofu from Twin Oaks Tofu
Dried Black Turtle Beans from Steadfast Farm
Roasted Chickpeas from 2 Armadillos
Pickles from Baba’s Pickles
Apple chips from Fruit Cycle
Granola Bars from Kate Bakes
If you know of any other great local food companies in the area that you want to see in the bag, feel free to contact us!