February and March are the hardest months to keep your commitment to eating local foods, so we asked Grist readers to share their tips, recipes, and inspiring anecdotes. We’re thrilled by what we got. And, like you, we’re getting ready for spring to arrive!

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  2. Tue, Feb 28 2012 16:39:08
  3. We asked our Facebook fans to “share your favorite recipe, tip, or photo of how you eat local and still survive the winter.” Here’s what they had to say:
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    Indoor farmer’s markets like such: http://www.sowaopenmarket.com/sowa-winter-market/
    Thu, Feb 16 2012 20:06:29
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    Does venison count? A client got 2 does this year and has shared that meat.
    Sat, Feb 18 2012 19:56:22
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    To eat local eat seasonally & learn storage & preservation technqs. Don’t look for peaches in Jan. Learn to love turnips. #TellGrist
    Mon, Feb 27 2012 22:21:04
  7. Facebook user Gary Brever let us know that his farm is one of the first to offer “frozen shares” in the winter. In other words, they freeze food they grow during the rest of the year so you don’t have to.
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    Great question. Growing stuff in the summer that lasts during winter, another focus than instant consumption. Green cabbage, Helianthus tuberosus can be harvested during winter and spring (Sweden). Building warm beds with hot manure from stables in the bottom and glass at the top of the frame; possible to start grow now (without electricity/light!).
    Tue, Feb 28 2012 02:53:27
  9. Facebook fan Shane Morgan had this recipe to share (with some great photos of her home grown Butternut squash).
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    Micro greens and sprouts. A sunny window and some very directed seeds.
    Tue, Feb 28 2012 12:35:02
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    Basement root cellar filled with garlic, squash, apples, potatoes, and onions. Canned applesauce, tomato sauce, cider, and low-sugar jams. jars of our own honey. Freezer with local meats (mostly from friends), local fruits, and garden produce. Lots of baking!
    Tue, Feb 28 2012 08:43:33
  12. Rachel Friedman had this recipe to share:
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    We have a small pop up greenhouse with micro greens, Swiss Chard and mustard greens, plus low tunnels over brussels sprouts, kale, collard greens, carrots and turnips. Just picked and roasted some carrots and turnips last night. A mild winter here in the Shenandoah Valley has given us a longer run than in colder, snowier years.
    Thu, Feb 16 2012 19:45:19
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    Sat, Feb 18 2012 15:24:45
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    I’m still eating tomatoes from the garden. Tossed them (whole) into the freezer in August, and am using them still for soups and stews. Also, frozen peppers (chopped before freezing), frozen tomatillos (oven-roasted, then pureed, then froze…n in ice cube trays), and frozen pesto (again, with the ice cube trays). Canning, drying and root cellaring are also great techniques (and I use them all), but the freezer is just so easy.
    Thu, Feb 16 2012 19:47:06
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    Sprouts! Growing green stuff all winter long while the garden beds rest.
    Mon, Feb 27 2012 22:42:17
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    Tue, Feb 21 2012 19:30:32
  18. Here are some from our Twitter followers:
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    Who’s got tips on how to eat locally grown foods during these winter months? bit.ly/wno6xw Answer with #TellGrist
    Mon, Feb 27 2012 22:00:20
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    Freeze summer’s tomatoes and peppers so that you can eat local in winter. #TellGrist
    Mon, Feb 27 2012 22:13:40
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    @grist #tellGrist roasted carrot and brussels sprouts pulled from the field today! Ask #skellyandthebean
    Tue, Feb 28 2012 02:49:08
  22. From our new Pinterest page:
  23. Grist comments:
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     I use canning jars, too. But I go a bit further. First, I fill the jars with almost boiling soup, stock, etc. Then I use my vacuum sealer to suck out most of the air. Then as they cool, the vacuum just increases. THEN, as a final step, I freeze them. I think those suckers would survive a nuclear holocaust! Canning rocks!

    Sat, Feb 25 2012 12:17:51
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    Tue, Feb 28 2012 16:39:53
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    I’m in North Carolina, too, and I agree, there’s pretty much nothing that’s not good when made with sweet potatoes and kale or collards. We just combine those basic main ingredients as many ways as humanly possible – soups, beans, stir-fries, pasta dishes, fritatas, roasted root vegetables…

    We’ve got a big store of braided garlic and dried peppers from the summer and a steady supply of local eggs and cheese that help round the meals out. (And sometimes we’re lucky enough to get turnips, beets, and cabbage.)

    It’s delicious, but I have one hard and fast rule that is critical to making my local-food winter work – no cooking with sweet potatoes or collards all summer long.

    Fri, Feb 17 2012 14:33:52
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    I work with home-based learners near Victoria and Vancouver, BC and one of my families is experimenting with being as self-sufficient — all year round — as possible. Kale, fava beans, eggs and root veggies (all home grown, with organic brown rice that they buy in bulk) make up the basis of their winter diet. They’re also keeping track of what is hardiest, as they recognize that an unstable climate will make food growing more and more difficult.

    Check out their recipe book here: http://scr.bi/SustainableCooki…

    Fri, Feb 17 2012 13:25:36
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    Here in NC I look forward to making dishes with kale.  I miss tomatoes TERRIBLY in the winter but I have learned to make my vegetarian version of Portuguese Soup (potato and kale with soy chorizo).  And I just tried sauteeing diced sweet potato with kale and adding northern beans. It’s SO easy and smells and tastes good with just kosher salt and pepper.  Plus a huge bag of kale at the Farmer’s Market costs only $2 and lasts at least 4 completely separate dishes and it’s known as a “superfood”.  Then I look forward to tomatoes again…

    Fri, Feb 17 2012 10:55:27
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    Here in Louisiana, we grow tomatoes in greenhouses in the winter.  It’s actually too hot to grow them here in the summer.

    Thu, Feb 16 2012 19:35:08
  30. One reader uses his Facebook page, Single Man’s Kitchen, like a blog, and fills it with suggestions and photos of his local meals, including this example of an economical soup he makes using beet greens and stems.
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    Tue, Feb 28 2012 16:39:29
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    In New Hampshire there’s been enough demand for local foods that we’re now supporting two weekly winter farmer’s markets and two winter CSAs in the Concord area alone. I think they make it worthwhile for farmers to invest in cold storage and hoop houses. One farmer has partnered with a local food coop that subsidized his hoop houses for producing greens all winter. Last night I picked up onions, potatoes, beets, daikon, turnips – the usual – AND spinach and pea shoots at my CSA. Combining those foods with what I froze this summer, we are eating almost exclusively local vegetables all winter long.

    Fri, Feb 17 2012 09:58:42
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    the pears are freaking awesome in Washington State, right now!

    Thu, Feb 16 2012 20:48:30
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    California, Louisiana… you don’t even really have winter.  Here in Seattle we have 3 months of summer if we’re lucky.  I did the all-local organic CSA for two years, and man did I get tired of root vegetables.

    My main recipes included root vegetable pot pie (always bright red from the beets, but cook once and eat for days), root vegetable stir fry (always bright red from the beets, but it’s quick and easy), root vegetable quesidillas (always bright red from the beets, but yum!), and a bright red borscht.

    I took a break this winter and only bought a semi-local organic CSA (including veggies from California and occasionally even Mexico), and I’m not sure I’ll go back.  I think I still have a root vegetable pie in my freezer.

    Thu, Feb 16 2012 20:11:08
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    Sat, Feb 18 2012 15:07:18
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    For me it’s craving the fresh crunch of greens in the winter. I try and eat cabbage and kale a lot to satisfy that. We grow sprouts too, and they make a tasty sandwich even tastier! In Toronto, our CSA this year comes with a bunch of delicate winter greens which is a very nice break from the roots.

    This is my most recent favorite: a delicious recipe for squash, pomegranite and kale salad here:http://mynewroots.blogspot.com…

    Thu, Feb 16 2012 23:07:24
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    My first year in a winter CSA was hard because of all the squash.  I felt like I was eating dessert and/or baby food all the time.  It took me years, but I think I got it figured out now.  I eat squash just once/week, and I aim for more unusual flavor combinations (i.e. not pumpkin pie spices).  One of my favorites flavors with squash is chipotle.  Right now I’m making squash-chipotle soup with quesadillas.  Also, sausage-stuffed delicata is to die for.

    I also ditched my winter CSA after the first year.  Now I just go to the farmer’s market every week and pick out the things I actually like.  I’m just a lot pickier about winter veggies, so it makes sense to do it this way.

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    Winter is the most important time to plan out you meals for the week.  I use all my favorites once per week, changing up recipes every week: potatoes, beets, brussels sprouts, cabbage, pears and apples, mushrooms, and of course squash.  That way I don’t get sick of things.

    Before I started eating more locally, I bought the same 5 veggies every week of the year: onions, carrots, peppers, tomatoes and broccoli.  I never knew how much I liked beets, and I’ve only become infatuated with brussels sprouts this year.  I enjoy my food so much more now, because diversity and abundance rule my diet, even in the winter.

    Thu, Feb 16 2012 22:31:30