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Getting Fresh in February
By Stephanie Mantello
Veggies | Fruits | Sweets

Think local farmers are taking vacation in the winter? Think again. If you are lucky enough to live near a year-round market, you can enjoy an abundant array of fresh produce, even in February. Here are some items you’ll find in your local market this winter.

Vegetables
You still have to eat your vegetables in the winter and a great variety of fresh vegetables is available at markets throughout the winter months. Here’s a tasty sample:

Squash
There’s a reason every restaurant you enter in the winter has butternut squash soup or pumpkin-stuffed ravioli on the menu: squash is abundant late in the year. All hard-shelled squash, from acorn to pumpkin, are available throughout the winter. As an added bonus, squash is easy to cook. With as little seasoning as salt and pepper, most squash can be simply baked and served.

Root vegetables
Root vegetables include all of our favorites: potatoes, carrots, onions, garlic, leeks, radishes, turnips, and Jerusalem artichokes. According to Gabrielle Langholtz of Greenmarket in New York, root vegetables left in the ground after the first frost turn starch into sugar, which lowers the freezing point and makes the vegetables less bitter. Try a mix of roasted root vegetables with a pork roast this month.

Cabbage
Brussel sprouts and cabbage are also better after the first frost and available at markets late in the year. For most, that probably won’t convince them to eat these vegetables, but some traditional comfort foods like corned beef and cabbage can be a great one-dish meal on a cold evening.

Leafy greens
Believe it or not, some leafy vegetables such as spinach, kale, swiss chard, mustard greens, watercress, escarole, endive, and parsley can survive under inches of snow and can be harvested and brought to market in early spring. The snow actually insulates the ground and keeps the vegetables from freezing. So no excuses… eat your greens! Try an indoor BBQ with ribs, corn bread, baked beans, and mustard greens.

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