In Vermont, we love our local food.
You could say we are a whole bunch of localvores. Almost every community in Vermont has a summer farmers’ market, and Vermont has the most farmers’ markets per capita in the entire country. I love going to summer farmers’ markets, the atmosphere is truly a “Vermont” experience.
Also, especially now that I have a little one, it is very important to me to feed her as much organic, local food as possible.
Vendors offer the best products that money can buy, and communities come together to celebrate the short growing season, support our local farmers and small businesses and gorge in the bounty of the summer harvest. On cold, snowy days like this one, I like to think back on my memories of strolling through the farmers’ market to the tune of a local musician, in a sundress, as I carried my barefoot baby in her ergo. Gosh, I long for those summer days.
But did you know that Vermont has over 23 winter farmers markets?
A winter farmers market? YES! Hundreds of Vermont farmers continue their growing, tending for their livestock and producing local foods throughout our harsh winter. Let’s support them by going to a winter farmers’ market!!
In the winter time, my cows are dry. Meaning that they are not being milked in preparation for the arrival of their new calves (and fresh milk for me) in the Spring. This is my favorite time of the year to get out and support those farmers who do milk, garden and take care of their livestock throughout the winter. Also, February and March are typically the hardest financial times for farmers and small farm businesses. This is why, especially during these months, I like to keep as much as my money flowing into the local economy.
Where can I find a Winter Farmers’ Market?
Burlington, Montpelier, and Rutland have the state’s largest winter farmers’ markets. My local market is the Burlington Winter Farmers’ Market, but to find a market local to you, you can use the Vermont Farmers’ Market Association‘s website to search for one. There are 23 winter farmers’ markets in Vermont.
What is there to do at a Winter Farmers’ Market?
I like to think of the farmers’ market being more than just a place to do your weekly grocery shopping. It is a place for communities to come together. There are usually musicians playing tunes and kids dancing to them, prepared foods to enjoy and crafts to check out. Stella and I always run into our friends (and little friends) and many use the farmers’ market to meet friends, have breakfast or lunch, and enjoy the atmosphere.
A winter farmers’ market is a refuge from the cold. A place where the freshest foods are available and where farmers can warm your hearts with conversation and fill your bellies. Some things that I buy at the winter farmers’ market include:
- Meat (pork, beef, lamb, chicken, veal, fish)
- Storage Vegetables (potatoes, carrots, onions, turnips, beets and other root vegetables)
- Milk, Cheese and Butter
- Maple Syrup
- Fermented Vegetables, Jams, Pickles and other canned goods
- Winter Greens (kale, chard, lettuces, spinach)
- Fiber (sheepskin, yarn and kitted clothing)
So take your kids and join us at the winter farmers’market!
You will be surrounded by other local families and you can probably convince your kiddo to eat a raw carrot, handed to her by the farmer that grew it. Local winter vegetables have an exceptionally sweet taste to them from the nip of frost, so give it a try! We will see you there!