The beauty of New England living is that each season offers a new way to learn and engage our communities. Locally grown and produced food is a community-base resource that can help us understand how to connect to local agriculture, even in the winter.
For winter cooking, it’s time to utilize the heat of the oven, something often avoided during the heat of the summer months. This is the season to bake, roast, and stew. It’s the time of year when the preserved and canned foods from the summer and fall harvests can be taken out of storage to enjoy. It’s a different way of eating – one that is intended to be hearty and warming – perfect for greeting the cold weather.
Winter is a time for gathering with friends – and what better way than with a home-cooked meal to be enjoyed together using locally produced ingredients? Preparing a meal together is an opportunity for intergenerational exchange (passing down recipes from older family members or neighbors) as well as for skill-sharing (what cooking technique are you interested in learning from a friend?). Start by visiting the local winter markets for inspiration and then gather friends and family for a warming meal shared together!
- Amherst Winter Market
- Northampton Winter Farmers’ Market
- Greenfield Winter Market
- Winter Market at Forest Park Springfield
In addition to perusing the array of local foods, shoppers can attend educational workshops scheduled during each market. Workshops range in topic from simple cheese-making and canning to growing grains and preparing herbal medicine. All the workshop leaders are local people who practice these skills at home.
Download our Jan/Feb edition of Learning Ahead: Cultural Itinerary for Western Massachusetts for embedded learning opportunities found in cultural resources that exist within the geography, history, and cultural traditions of Western Massachusetts.