Get to the Root of Eating Local

Gourds from Visser Farms

Exploring your Winter Farmer’s Markets

The last of the leaves have been raked from yards, and scraped off of the roads in my neighborhood today. Outdoor furniture that used to occupy lawns is now filling in the garage, and the “bride-to-be” has finally convinced me to turn on our rambunctious furnace. I think it’s time for me to admit winter is basically here, but that doesn’t mean I can’t source beautiful, local produce and meats throughout these frigid months.

Risotto Zucca

Last winter I became familiar with two of the markets that are open until nearly spring. The Bank St. Market reopens in the bingo hall across the street from the original one. You can find Dave Warkentien of Young Earth Farms there. He will always greet you with a smile and a firm handshake, selling his delicious pork and beef products among other things like eggs or occasionally Michigan whitefish. The smoked pork chops are to die for, and our restaurant can’t get enough of his beautiful pork belly. Blue Dog Greens, of Bangor, will also be there this winter. I personally will be very excited to see what Dennis and Shawna have to bring to the table this winter. These are just two of the many vendors here. The market will open on November 24, and run from 8 a.m. until 1 p.m.

Sweet Potato from Kirklin Gardens

There is also the smaller, but not inferior, market on the corner of Burdick and Crosstown. The impressive Visser Farms fills a stand here throughout the winter. Mitch brings a plentiful variety of squash, root vegetables and many other things all winter long. Green Gardens of Battle Creek also posts up here. Trent grows food with the most finesse I’ve ever seen. He will have beautiful radishes, root vegetables and other intricate and stunning produce, possibly even his salad mixes or arugula from his greenhouses. There are usually five or more additional vendors selling food here also. They are open every Saturday, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., November 24 through May 5, at 1156 S. Burdick.

Butternut Squash from Dick Orchards

Don’t let the frost hold you back from eating seasonally, as some of my favorite produce starts to show up now. I know that it can get old using parsnips or butternut squash all winter, just keep in mind that there are several interesting and delicious ways to utilize all winter ingredients. Check back soon and I will have tips and recipes for keeping it local during the winter, starting with the worthwhile turnip.

Viva la Root Vegetables!

Nathan Shaw
Lead Line Cook

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