Guide to Cambridge local food in the winter months

Today,

the last farmers’ market at Harvard was cancelled due to Hurricane Sandy, windy tents, rain, and squishy turf. We’ll be going into hibernation for the next period, so we’ve created a short guide to getting fresh food in the interim.

For a period of a few months in New England, fresh food abounds; in a 5 mi around Cambridge, there are one or two farmers’ markets every day. As the traditional New England growing season tapers down, it becomes harder to find the products that were in such abundance during the summer and fall months.

Some of that tapering is natural; of course, our climate doesn’t support year-round growing of most vegetables. But plenty of local producers and processors continue to offer product through four seasons; it’s just a matter of finding it. As interest grows, market opportunities increase; this year, we have more winter farmers’ markets than ever and more retail establishments are offering local products year round.

What’s good, off-season, in New England? For the late fall and winter months, look for good cheeses, storage crops, cool-weather greens grown in hoop houses and greenhouses,  & plenty of meat and prepared goods.

Here are four ways to get fresh food from November to May.

1) Get in contact directly

Dave at Plato’s Organic Harvest will continue to have produce, meat, and other farm products available all winter. For more information on winter ordering, get in touch with Dave directly: davepurpura@yahoo.com.

John Crow Farm’s Meat and Poultry CSA begins in December. They’ve got a lovely variety of grass-fed, pasture-raised beef, pork lamb, and poultry (chicken, turkey, duck, goose and game birds when available) each month.

You can contact many of our vendors directly and arrange for a delivery or pick-up at their location.

2) Find  a local store that carries local products

In Cambridge and Somerville, many stores carry our vendors’ products year-round. Here are four stand-outs.

  • Formaggio Kitchen in Huron Village
  • Pemberton Market in Porter Square
  • Dave’s Fresh Pasta in Davis Square
  • Sherman Market in Union Square

3) Find a summer farmers’ market that’s still running

  • Monday, 12-6: Central Square Farmers’ Market, runs until November 19th.
  • Wednesday, 12-6: Davis Square Farmers’ Market runs until November 21st.
  • Friday, 12-6: Charles Square Farmers’ Market runs until November 16th.
  • Saturday, 12-6: Union Square Farmers’ Market runs until November 17th.
  • Sunday, 12-6: Charles Square Farmers’ Market runs until November 18th.

To find the exact location and vendor lists of these markets, consult the Mass Farmers’ Market market directory.  As you’ll see, many of our vendors visit these markets, too.

4) Gear up for winter farmers’ markets
For the second year running, we’ve got winter farmers’ markets in Cambridge and Somerville. There are plenty further away; the Mass Farmers’ Market website lists 17 within the state of MA! At a winter farmers’ market, you can expect plenty of good meat, storage crops, cold-weather crops like greens, breads, cheese, and prepared goods. If you’ve got to have your warm-weather fix, several farms that visit these winter farmers’ markets partner with farms in warmer climes, so they bring up warmer crops grown with care from trusted partner farms.

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