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Finding Fresh Produce in the Dead of Winter

Finding Fresh Produce in the Dead of Winter


Gray and gloomy winter is no excuse. There are still ways you can keep your kitchen full of fresh, locally grown food.

By the time you’re reading this, winter will have been with us for a while now. In the coldest part of the year, fresh produce from locally owned farms seem like an impossible dream that’s currently unattainable. But is that really the case?

I’m going to say no.

Even during this time of year, there are ways you can access locally grown produce with cravable fresh flavors and nutrition. By doing so, you’re opening your wallet to support small businesses during a slower period, and you’re eating seasonally. You’re also not relying on long-distance transportation and related ozone-depleting emissions to help you put food on the table.

Support farmers in person

There are quite a few winter markets on the Front Range that allow you to buy directly from area growers and smaller kitchens. Right now, that does require a drive north to Fort Collins where the Winter Farmers Market is open from late January through April, closing for the season right when traditional farmers markets start to pick up again.

The Winter Market is located in the city’s Foothills Mall and has more than 40 vendors. There have been winter markets locally as well, though many of them happened in December around the holidays. The Boulder County Farmers Market’s annual Winter Market took place at the Boulder County Fairgrounds and is fairly well known. We’re hoping that it comes back in 2024 along with a few other sessions early in the year.

If markets aren’t convenient, you can support farmers when you dine at restaurants that support them. Farow in Niwot, OAK at Fourteenth and River and Woods in Boulder, and 24 Carrot Bistro in Erie are just a handful of places that come to mind. They purchase seasonal produce from farmers and incorporate those fresh items as part of the menu. If you want to know if your favorite spot supports farmers year round, look for mentions of purveyors on their website, and look for menu items that are seasonal and store well beyond the growing season such as root vegetables. You can also just ask them the next time you dine there. They’d probably be happy to chat about it.

Another way to access fresh produce in person is to sign up for a winter farm shareThough lots of people take advantage of these in the summer, cool-weather versions exist too, with more storable, long-term produce like squash or greenhouse-grown items. While this time of year is too late to sign up for a winter current winter share, but if you mark your calendars, you can inquire with your local market to see if they’re planning to offer them and then sign up next time around.

Buy from farmers without leaving home

Plenty of people enjoy the benefits of prepared meal kits delivered to their doorstep, but a Front Range company, Spade and Spoon, fills its kits with locally sourced ingredients. Customers can order from a selection of meals and curated boxes made with ingredients from Marsroom Mushrooms, Project Umami, River Bear American Meats, and Moxie Bread Company.

We tried one of Spade and Spoon’s options at our house, choosing a three-meal curated kit that included teriyaki salmon, cauliflower garbanzo bean tacos, and mushroom bolognese.

Once we received our box, we unpacked an array of fresh fruits and vegetables — including four heads of baby bok choy and a large head of cauliflower — along with sustainably packaged meats, grains, and condiments. There were sprigs of thyme, garlic cloves, even a lime and a lemon. Recipes were easy to follow, my 13-year-old son cooked for us the first night, and felt as fresh and hearty as anything we would have bought and made on our own.

No, they didn’t pay me to write this, but our family genuinely appreciated using Spade and Spoon as an easier way to get local produce in winter. I applaud them for figuring out how to keep things fresh and provide a seamless experience for us as a family.

Their existing producer list is strong, but I’ll always advocate for greater farmer support, especially in winter. Meal preparation kits appear to be an efficient, delicious way to keep home kitchens and farms connected.


Deborah Cameron
Deb brings a passion for community journalism and for the local food scene. She started out as an intern and over the years grew into our current Cuisine Editor. She has appeared in multiple publications including the Longmont Leader, The Left Hand Valley Courier, Ms. Mayhem, Finance101, and Ask.com. When not writing she's eating, road tripping, dog-parking, or watching high school softball. She moved to Colorado from Seattle in the early 2000s after spending a year traveling the U.S. in a teal Ford Escort hatchback. She lives with her husband, two teenagers, and a rescue dog named Charlie.

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