Updated: Nov 4, 2018
The regular farmers market season is over. So, how do we go about getting our local produce this fall and winter? Fear not, locavores. I got you.
I am a huge advocate for local food. Here’s a few reasons why.
· Shopping from local farms supports small business and contributes to the local economy. Most of the food from the grocery stores comes from out-of-state big agriculture and goes through a middle man before it goes makes it to the shelves. Shopping local means more food dollars go into the hands of farmers.
· It's better for the environment. Some produce travels thousands of miles before it ends up on your table creating a big carbon footprint price tag for the planet.
Supporting local farms also means preserving farmland and reducing food waste.
· The food is seasonal, much fresher and yummier. When you shop at a farmer’s market your food was grown in season and was probably harvested the day before (except the storage crops such as winter squash, onions, garlic, potatoes, etc.). When you shop at the grocery store it’s likely that the food was picked weeks ago, often picked unripe and sometimes gassed to ripen artificially. The makes for a blander tasting fruit or vegetable and less nutritious because produce starts losing nutrients as soon as it’s picked.
Our ancestors ate seasonally. It’s what nature provides to us. Were we really supposed to eat strawberries year-round? If you listen to your body’s innate intelligence I doubt that you’ll crave a strawberry in winter.
· You get to try new produce. Farmers are often growing heirloom and interesting varieties. Eating a variety of produce is good for the body and the palate. It gives you the benefit of getting a variety of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and phytochemicals while expanding the palate and the pleasure.
· Food is safer. Most food safety issues come from large corporations. Shopping local also ensures a shorter food chain and fewer hands on the food. Know your farmer and their growing practices.
· Shopping local is fun. Getting to know the people that grow your food is good community building and you might just make new friends. I also think that farmers are some of the smartest and kindest people I know. Plus, you might get invited to farm events which are the best.
Okay, so if that’s not enough reasons to shop local food, I don’t know what is. So now that most farmers markets are over except Ballard, West Seattle, U-District and Capitol Hill, here’s where you can get your goods.
1. Snoqualmie Valley Farmers Cooperative. This is a cooperative of 20+ amazing Sno-Valley farmers that offers a winter CSA’s with the option of adding eggs. They are also offering a Thanksgiving Box with all the veggie goods that also includes nuts, eggs, butter, cream, bread and flour. You can even add a turkey from Falling River Meats. They offer lots of pick-up locations in Seattle and the Eastside.
2. Steel Wheel Farm is a certified Naturally Grown farm and has a farm stand on 324thin Fall City. You can also find them at the University District farmers market, the Capitol Hill farmers market and the downtown Issaquah pop-up farmers market running through November 17th. Farmer Ryan grew the most amazing garlic this year, a porcelain variety call Music. If you see it, get it. You’ll love it. I promise. And if you see Farmers Ryan and Kim at the markets, be sure to say hello. They’re the coolest.
3. Jubilee Farm is a family run biodynamic farm in the Snoqualmie Valley that offers a fall, winter and spring CSA. They also sell beef and pork shares. I’ve never purchased their CSA or meat shares but I hear the best things about this farm food. I have been to their summer pig roast and fall harvest festival which are both must do’s if you live in the area.
4. Local Roots Farm in Duvall has a winter CSA that runs from December through March. They also have an honor system farm stand for their organically grown produce at262nd Ave NE, just off 124th St. It’s open daily from 8 AM – Dusk. Farmers Jason and Siri are the king and queen of radicchio. You’re likely to find their amazing variety at the farm stand now. Their CSA has lots of Seattle drop-off locations or you can pick up on the farm or in Duvall.
5. Boldly Grown Farm, a certified organic farm from the Skagit Valley, has a winter CSA offering this year that they’ll be delivering to the Seattle area. When I was sourcing food for Deru Market and Little Brother in Kirkland, they were one of my favorite farms. They specialize in storage crops for the winter season and grow some of the best varieties of produce around. Farmers Amy and Jacob (and their sweet son) are salt of the earth. Definitely check them out.
6. Tonnemaker Farm has a fall CSA offering from their Woodinville and Royal City farms. They have Seattle and Eastside pick-ups. In the summer they do a fruit CSA in addition to their veggie CSA. The farm is certified organic and their fruit and hot peppers are THE ABSOLUTE BEST.
I’m sure there are more offerings, but these are the ones that I can speak to with some firsthand knowledge. You can find more info here on the regular market season and local farmers. It’s a super great resource.
Happy local food shopping!