March 15, 2011
Eat local (even in the snow)

Eating seasonal and local in the cold, Midwestern winter months is becoming easier and easier as winter markets sprout up and farmers use methods such as hydroponics, greenhouses and cellars to extend their harvests.

A visit to the Indy Winter Farmers Market on Saturday mornings provides customers with options like hydroponic greens, turnips, bok choy and apples. Eating locally in the winter is made vastly easier when consumers turn to frozen and canned food from the last year’s harvest. A canned Indiana tomato still beats out a tomato that has travelled 1,500 miles from farmer to consumer.

Indy market fanatics are no longer limited to making purchases on Saturdays. The Winter’s Eve Farmers’ Market at the Knights of Columbus offers a Thursday option from 4 – 7 p.m. The market boasts locally produced poultry, beef, pork, lamb, goat, chicken and quail eggs, gourmet cheeses, kefir milk, local beer and wine, produce, honey, artisan oils and more.

Bloomington residents can scavenge for local produce at the Bloomington Winter Farmers Market in the Harmony School Gymnasium December through March. Customers can also listen to live music while purchasing produce from their neighbors.

Voted as the 2010 Best Farmers’ Market in Indiana, the Farmers Market at Minnetrista in Muncie, Ind., has more than 80 vendors at its monthly market. Visitors can find items ranging from fresh flowers to baked goods on a third Saturday of November – April.

Eating locally year-round gives Hoosiers the chance to meet with their farmers, learn more about what’s in-season and support their local economy. According to Puget Sound Fresh, a website for fresh and local food sourcing, “For every dollar spent at a farmers market, 62 cents is re-spent locally. For every dollar spent at an average grocery store, 25 cents is re-spent locally compared with 52 cents at a locally-based grocery store.” To learn more about Indiana’s growing schedule and what you can be eating fresh today, visit the Indiana Department of Agriculture’s seasonal chart.

This post was written by Brittany Smith, an intern with the Indiana Humanities Council. Brittany is a senior Communications major at Butler University. A strong passion for food and agriculture brought her to the Council’s Food for Thought campaign.

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