Spring is almost here!

Despite the snow this week, I have spring fever!  It’s hard not too after the had 60 degree weekends in SGF a couple of weeks ago. It’s easy to image spring flowers or when the early spring vegetables like asparagus starting to appear in the grocery store.

It is however still winter. The Farmers Market of the Ozarks is still open but I’ll be the first to admit the produce selection is still limited. There are still winter squash and beets for sale. On a recent trip I was also able to pick up sweet potatoes to make sweet potato fries and leeks for Crustless Leek, Greens and Herb Quiche. While I left with a light basket I didn’t leave disappointed. I left hopeful at the signs of things to come! I saw signs welcoming the sign up for CSAs. A CSA (community supported agriculture) is a great way to support a local farm even if you don’t have the time to make it to the farmers market on Saturday morning. For a set price you receive a share of a farmer’s weekly harvest. Some will deliver and some have set pick up times. Either way the process is easy. Your share includes a little bit of everything the farmer grows so you get vegetables that may be new to you which can spark come creativity in the kitchen and expand your food horizons. Some farmers also include things like eggs or meat. To find a CSA in your local area check out LocalHarveest.org.

I am also hopeful when I see the wide variety of locally produced products, not just produce, at the farmers market. I love online shopping for saving time but I also love supporting local small businesses like myself. You can find many unique quality products at your farmers market (although the selection may vary based on market rules). I was paying special attention to the selection of bath and body products at Farmers Market of the Ozarks on my recent visits. Winter is harsh on my hands. Not only is it dry in my house, I am constantly washing and hand sanitizing in the gym. My hands are red and cracked with the occasional bleeding knuckle. I sampled a variety of hand salves at the market to see if one can help nurse my hands back to health. I’ve also set a reminder for my next market Saturday to take my Wustoff chef’s knife to the market to get it sharpened. It’s only $1!

Don’t write off the farmers market in winter! If you’re market is like mine you can also pick up bread, eggs, leather goods, wine and spices. Take some time to see how you can support local business and see if you can plan ahead for when your farmer does have a bountiful harvest to share!

Do you use a CSA? Is there a local product that brings you to your market besides the produce?

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