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Ready for winter (?)

November 2, 2011

Years ago I had a friend who had been stationed in Scotland. She commented on her return that she found it odd that in the grocery stores, they only had seasonal produce. “In the middle of winter,” she said, “all they had were root vegetables, no fresh fruits or vegetables.”  Now Randy and I are in that place – a root cellar full of root vegetables to last a year, with berries and greens in the freezer that we hope will last until greens start popping up in April, or maybe May. We left spinach in the garden to overwinter, and have hopes that the leeks and garlic will last under a nice layer of mulch.

The farmer’s markets provided pumpkins, and extra onions, as well as apples. Randy went on a crabapple foraging trip in early October with other food challenge participants. They asked people in Anchorage with crabapple trees whether they could pick. All of them said yes, and he came home with 40 pounds to preserve on top of the 30 pounds of apples we had bought or picked earlier.

Canned, we have applesauce, tomatoes, pickles, jellies and jams. The pantry looks comfortingly full, but we’ve never tried to get through a winter only based on what we’d grown, foraged, or bought locally and preserved. Luckily, the farmer’s market is still going strong with dairy, eggs and meat as well as seasonal produce. We are still waiting to hear how the Delta Junction wheat and barley came out this year, but have 60 pounds of wheat left from our purchase in the spring. With the caribou and salmon to provide the protein, we’re feeling pretty confident now, but I’ll keep up this blog as the winter comes on and let you know how it’s going.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. November 13, 2011 3:22 pm

    Do you find yourself craving foods that aren’t part of your local challenge? Like the fresh greens, or tropical fruits?

  2. November 13, 2011 7:24 pm

    We do! Fresh greens aren’t a challenge yet, we still have zucchini in the root cellar and lots of frozen kale, cabbage, nettles, broccoli and collards. We had problems with spinach this year, it’s usually one of our winter staples.
    When visiting Seward last week, we each bought a banana. What a treat! I think fruits are the challenge for us. We have all kinds of things canned and frozen, but sometimes we really want something fresh and crispy. I’d say that’s what we miss most at this point.

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