Thursday, January 6, 2011
The January Harvest Calendar
There’s really not much in the greenmarkets right now. Well that’s not true, it’s just that there’s much less variety than there was even a month ago. There won’t be any new major field harvests until April at the earliest.
Bins of apples in every color and variety always seem to comprise the majority of what’s on offer from now until May. They really are beautiful, but while they were overwhelmingly fragrant and enticing when they first appeared in July, by midwinter they can start to feel like white noise.
But if you take a more careful look around, past the teams of gardeners clearing out the evergreen decorations, other less flashy treasures jump into view. There are baked goods galore, and honeys and preserves, dried lavender, even lambswool.
Still fresh from cold storage are shell beans, beets, cabbage, carrots, onions, parsnips, potatoes, winter squash, and turnips.
There are still some nice pears to be had, and there’s always the hydro tent-grown salad greens, though they pack less of a punch than something grown out in the field.
Thankfully yesterday I spied a small, wooden box of deep, vibrantly green kale all the way at the north end of the market.
Cheryl from Rogowski Farm, at Union Square on Wednesdays from now until March, told me they’d just dug the leaves out of the snow. My kind of greens. They also had some newly dug Jerusalem artichokes and the freshest looking onions around, plus some small, plump pumpkins and winter squash, and even some beautifully delicate green garlic from their tents.
I’m always ready for a return to balance and even a little quiet austerity after the excesses of the holidays, but I’ll admit I was thrilled by my little discovery. Rogowski Farm also has a gourmet supper club that sounds divine for anyone who lives near Pine Island, New York or feels like a field trip.
As always, crop information is available in the sidebar harvest calendar over there on the right all month. The information comes from a guide published by the CENYC, which runs the Greenmarket & New Farmer Development Project. Of course, the best way to familiarize yourself with what's in season where you live is to visit farmer's markets in your area at least every couple of weeks. I truly learn the most of all from the farmers themselves. So ask questions at the market – it’s the best way to find out which crops are not only available, but at their peak. To locate markets near you in the US, check the Zip or City Quick Search at Local Harvest.
Happy winter, and happy New Year!