March farmers markets are getting pretty bare! I see lots of people, but few produce vendors right now.
Spring is nearly here, and with it, fresh vegetables and fruits at the farmers market. Unfortunately, warmer weather in March may mean crops will start growing, but they won’t be harvested right now.
March is difficult for seasonal eaters. So is April, for that matter, but at least in April we might start seeing asparagus and peas. Right now, though, even easy storing vegetables are getting old.
In Maryland, we have the option of storing some crops in the ground throughout the winter, and the one local farmer at my market that has winter produce says that Maryland weather does allow for some in ground storage. He has broccoli, even, but said that as it gets warmer the broccoli will suffer.
So right now, for fresh produce, you are more or less limited to root crops. And apples! We still have apples at my market. You’ll also find microgreens, mushrooms, and fermented vegetables to buy.
As always, you’ll find meat, eggs, and dairy. The chicken farmers are running out out chicken to buy, since they usually don’t raise meat chickens until spring. There are fresh eggs to be found, though less in winter. Frozen stored meat and fresh milk are available year round.
March Farmers Markets
Though fruit and vegetables are harder to come by, I did preserve peaches and apples last summer and fall. I’m looking forward to preserving tomatoes this year, and would like to try freezing more vegetables for winter.
I’d like to get some bulk meat by buying a half hog for next year, since at my market the variety for meat is falling off as spring comes.
Even chicken is harder to come by, because the farmers at my March farmers market are running low. I might have to go visit a larger market. Next year I’ll buy more and have extras in my freezer for winter.
There is nothing like trying to eat seasonally in winter to show you where our food really comes from. I can supplement from the grocery store, but enjoy the challenge of trying to eat locally as much as possible. It certainly teaches you to be creative, and to think about how you might change things for the year to come!
I’ve planted some fruit trees in my yard, and am starting some pepper and tomato plants this month. I’m looking forward to summer vegetables!
In the meantime, I’m sticking to my seasonal eating challenge. Each week I make a local meal, with local meat, vegetables, and dairy. This past month, my meals were:
- Roasted chicken with beets and mashed potatoes. The potatoes had local milk in them too.
- Breakfast for dinner, with homemade french toast (not local bread, but local milk and eggs), with local bacon and eggs on the side. We topped it with Maryland maple syrup.
- Roasted pork loin with broccoli and roasted potatoes. All local.
- Thai green curry with local chicken, kale, carrots, and mushrooms.
I’ll have to get more creative this upcoming month before we start seeing asparagus, spinach, and early strawberries. Once fresh produce starts coming in, it will be easier to make local meals! For now, I’m grateful that we have March farmers markets, so I can continue to support local farms.