Each year we have customers ask us what local produce is available in March, with a tone that says they expect a meager answer. However, despite the short days and cold nights of the New England winter, we work with some skilled local growers who are able to supply quite a variety of products through the spring. A lot of what is still available to us for locally grown produce are “storage crops” that growers like Picadilly Farm, Brookford Farm and Champlain Orchards keep in temperature- and humidity-controlled storage to extend the product’s shelf life, much like high-tech root cellars. Winter storage crops include: apples, potatoes, sweet potatoes, onions, carrots, parsnips, rutabaga, turnip, daikon radishes, beets, and winter squash (all hearty crops that hold up very well after harvesting when properly stored).
One exciting thing about this time of the year, is that greenhouse growing does allow for a lot of winter greens, which we are just now starting to see! We have Sun Moon Farm in Rindge NH growing winter spinach, and Allen Bro’s in Westminster growing spinach, arugula, and spring mix.
There are also a few hydroponic growers who allow us to support our local economy year round including Backyard Farms in Madison, Maine who supply us with vine cluster tomatoes, Five College Farms in Hadley, MA who provide us with certified organic heirloom tomatoes, Green Mountain Harvest Hydroponics in Waitsfield, VT who provide us with basil, and LEF farms in Loudon, NH who provide us with spicy greens, smooth mesclun, and baby kale salad blends.