Eating local food in season is a great way to support your community, encourage local farmers (like us ( : ), promote a sustainable food system, and help lessen pollution. But let's face it. We live in Canada, and it's cooold in the winter. Not much grows this time of year, unless it's in a greenhouse.
This is the time of year where even brave farming farmers market vendors decide to call it quits (frozen fingers) and even the bravest who are still at the markets have a bit less to display (okay, alot less) then the rest of the year. And the grocery stores are full of produce from Mexico, Chile, China, California, and other far off places. You've really got to look to find something from Ontario.
However, surprisingly, there are still 21 Ontario fruits and vegetables available from storage or greenhouse growers. Here's a list:
Fresh Ontario Vegetables: (yes, fresh!!)
- greenhouse cucumbers
- greenhouse peppers
- greenhouse tomatoes
- lettuce (harder to find)
- shoots (a bit harder to find this time of year)
From Storage (Not fresh, but still good)
- storage squash (butternut, acorn,etc)
- sweet potatoes
To find these veggies, check with the brave farmers at your local farmers market Several markets including Stratford's Saturday market, Cambridge's Saturday market and the Kitchener market run all year round, though some people seem to forget about them in the winter.
If you are new to a market or vendor, check if their products are actually local. Product of USA stickers are sometimes a tell tale sign that they are not. Unfortunately some vendors bring in imported veggies and say they are local, which kind of ruins it for the rest of us ) : We don't sell any veggies that are not grown by us or someone else locally, just saying ( :.
You can also check your grocery store. Lots of Ontario farmers grow veggies that are sold through the grocery stores. Although sometimes it feels like more comes from Mexico, Chile, China, or California (even in the summer) than from Ontario.