Yes, winter is upon us and so begins the challenges of local eating. I find that it is easy to get people excited about local eating and motivated to get out there and find local sources of food in the spring and summer, when fruits and veggies are plentiful. However, once the colder temperatures hit most people give up and hit the big grocery stores. This year is a slightly bigger challenge for us since I did not put nearly as much time and effort in to preserving this year. None-the-less, there are lots of ways to keep your diet local throughout the winter.
If you are like me and did not get around to canning those summer harvests, fear not, someone in your community did. Christmas craft fairs are great places to find preserves. You can usually find a wide variety of jams, chutneys, jellies, sauces and preserves. If you are wondering where they got all their produce just ask, most craft vendors love to tell you about their product.
Although it is cold out, here on the west coast we can still get produce. Take a drive through the rural areas and you might be surprised to see farm stands still going. Leeks, squash, brussel sprouts and root veggies can be grown into the winter. Also, keep your eyes out for greenhouse operations, they will be able to supply you with salad greens and other veggies throughout the winter.
Meat is the thing to get you through the winter when it comes to local eating. We usually eat a mainly vegetarian diet in the summer/fall but in the colder months we turn to roast and stews. We have found that throughout winter local beef, lamb, poultry and fish is available and usually not all that hard to find.
Don't be afraid to ask around. You might be surprised at the resources that are available in the cold months of winter. Eating locally is not hard not matter what season, as long as you take the time to be informed about what you have at your disposal.
If you live on Vancouver Island here are a couple resources where you can likely find some good local food:
Mitchell Bros. Farm in Saanich is open year-round 250-652-6770
Stonefield Farms in Mill Bay offers organic meat and can deliver 250-743-3861
Touch of Saltspring Craft Fair includes artisans and local preserves 250-655-0967
Galey Farms in Saanich is also open year-round for produce 250-477-5713
Apple Luscious on Saltspring Island has apples through fall and early winter www.appleluscious.com
Victoria Winter Market runs from November until March on the 3rd Saturday of each month in Market Square
Terra Nossa in Mill Bay also offer meat products 250-743-7484
Little Qualicum Cheeseworks in Parksville supplies local cheese year round 250-954-3931
Iron Maiden Seafood in Sooke has fresh sustainable BC seafood year round 250-642-3551
Fresh Beginnings Organic Farm in Saanich offers year round produce 250-658-2585