February 19, 2013

Local food available year-round

Local food and seasonal eating do go hand in hand, but you would be surprised to find that locally we have access almost year round to many of the foods produced in our region.

Local food does not have to be a dream in February, something to look forward to after the thaw, but actually is pretty attainable right now.

I am not promoting a complete shift to a local diet but maybe a little celebration of local food when it seems like the only thing we are growing locally are icicles.

I am hoping people who are not already committed to local foods might try just one meal featuring a local food in the next week or two. You can even just have one food at your meal that is local.

This could be as easy as raiding your freezer for those strawberries your froze, looking carefully for some products that are made in New York at the grocery store, or better yet, visiting the indoor farmers market at the Plattsburgh City gym, held on the second Saturday of the month, to see what the producers themselves have to offer.

You can also contact many growers directly through websites and email, or an old-fashioned phone call, to see what they have available.

Do not worry that not every food on your table is locally sourced — though big bonus points if you manage that. The idea behind celebrating local food, especially in northern New York in the winter, is really just to recognize what our neighbors and land do produce.

Working at Cornell Cooperative Extension, I have been able to see some impressive innovations on local farms and think it would surprise most people to learn just how long the growing season has become and the variety of goods being produced.

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