Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Between Now and Asparagus

locavore dead zone

Little left in the larder ... 

This is the last week of our root cellar in the form of a winter share at Brookfield. That means we're down to 4 carrots, a couple of turnips and 2 garlic cloves. No onions left. Between now and asparagus we have approximately 6 weeks. This time of year is known as the Locavore Dead Zone.

Next to the calendar in our kitchen is a cardboard wheel of the seasonal food. In the Mar/Apr portion of the wheel are sweet little drawings of what food nature provides at this time of year. There are eggs, there is a chicken, cured meats, maple syrup, preserves, mushrooms, dairy, squash, and kale, plus, for some reason, brussels sprouts.

Wildlife hunkers down or invades backyard bird feeders during the dead zone. What do humans do? If it weren't for a pretty blond who grows spinach all winter long, hydroponic bok choy and salad mix from Swartz Farm in N. Amherst and a handful of other stalwart farmers, it would be like the year of 2009 for this Locavore. 2009 was not pretty. I existed on potatoes, cornbread (made from cornmeal from Hadley, Ashfield yogurt, eggs from Wendell), butter and kale I picked out of the snow at a farm on River Road in Whately. 

That was then. Now kale can be purchased legally. Extended season growing efforts means that all of the local food indicated on the cardboard wheel of seasonal food can be purchased under one snow covered roof.  Winter Farmers Markets in three towns now sell hoop house greens and jars of tomato sauce from Red Fire Farm in Granby, the spinach lady's offerings, meats, cheese, mushrooms and more. Fruit and root vegetables are available all winter long due to improved storage facilities at Bashista in Southampton and Winter Moon in Hadley. The Locavore Dead Zone between March and Asparagus is officially over.