One thing you can’t really avoid noticing when you’re buying local food (or growing it yourself) is that stuff changes. Those gooseberries I enjoyed experimenting with a couple of months ago? Gone. That fresh asparagus I like so much? Sorry! Rhubarb? No.
On the other hand, now there’s sweetcorn. And there are tomatoes and melons and cucumbers. Add some prairie flowers, and it seems like a pretty good trade-off. You just have to get used to the idea that everything is not available all the time if your want to keep your food dollars in the local economy.
Which is not to say that farmers can’t stretch things out a bit. That’s what our Season Extension workshop is all about. Attendees will learn ways to grow, store, and process crops in order to maintain profitability for more months out of the year. That’s important for farmers because it helps them make a living, but it’s also important for people like me who really want to support local growers.
In early August, it’s hard to imagine summer ending. The weather’s still hot and humid, and the days are still long. Right now it’s easy to support my local farmers by purchasing the bounty coming out of their fields every week. That doesn’t have to end when it gets cold out, because some local growers are already following season extension practices. With more farmers attending our workshops, I’m looking forward to enjoying a wider array of local products, and to feeling good about spending my dollars closer to home.