Local foods abound in winter as market logs off

“Oh, no!” was the reaction from Medford resident Tracy Howerton to news that the region’s online farmers market would close later this month.

Howerton had been ordering from Rogue Valley Local Foods for about a year after seeing a flier about it at the local office of Jackson County Health and Human Services. The market, in addition to outdoor counterparts, accepts Oregon Trail cards.

Jacksonville resident Karen Starchvick had a similar take, with the lament that it likely could have continued if more people knew about the market. She ordered on her iPad from the hospital during a family member’s medical crisis and picked up her items on the way home.

The market was mentioned in numerous A la Carte stories and this blog since its June 2010. This week’s food section spread on persimmons notes sales of the dried fruit last year. That was just one of many specialty products that local residents could find only at Rogue Valley Local Foods.

But Thrive accompanied its announcement of the market’s closure with tips for eating local during the winter and ways of locating foods for accomplishing that goal. Among them is the Grants Pass Growers’ Market, mentioned as one of the only outlets for fresh persimmons, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturdays until Christmas. It’s indoors at Brighton Academy, 1121 N.E. Seventh St., Grants Pass.

At least six Rogue Valley farms, according to Thrive, offer wintertime shares in community-supported agriculture. The list of area CSAs is on our online guide to eating local. Please note that Fry Family Farm and Hanley Historic Farm do not offer theirs in winter.

Marrying the concept of online farmers market and CSA, Rogue Produce lists products from several local farms under its link to “winter offerings.” Unlike many farms that prepare shares for pickup, Rogue Produce makes deliveries. Call 541-301-3426.

CSAs have gone far beyond produce in recent years to incorporate eggs, bread, meat, cheese, fruit, flowers or other farm products, such as preserves, fermented foods and even grains and beans. In addition to supporting farmers when they need most need funds for planning next year’s crops, participating in a CSA has many shareholder advantages. They include:

Exposure to new vegetables and new ways of cooking.

Visits to the farm usually at least once a season.

Kids typically favor food from “their” farm — even veggies they’ve never been known to eat.

Developing a relationship with the farmer who grows the food and learning more about how food is grown.

And finally, freshness, flavor and health benefits.

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    Sarah Lemon

    Sarah Lemon covers the Rogue Valley’s food scene with an enthusiasm that rivals her love of cooking. Her blog mixes culinary musings and milestones with tips and recipes you won’t find in the Mail Tribune’s weekly A la Carte section. When ... Read Full
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