Winter Farmers’ Markets & Seasonal Food: Intersection of Culture, Tradition and Creativity

Cooking Seasonally

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!

Read the rest of this entry »

Explore History & Culture through Food

Explore History & Culture through Food

One way to get some inspiration for your next winter culinary adventure is to visit living history museums such as Historic Deerfield and Old Sturbridge Village.  Both institutions offer hearth cooking classes.  Additionally, a stroll through Old Sturbridge Village during the winter time offers you a peek into New Englanders’ daily living routines and food preparations from the 19th century.  Visitors can see firsthand what types of recipes 19th century Americans were preparing during the cold months of the year.

Sample dishes that were prepared during the winter season include chicken pie, broiled sweet potatoes, stewed beets, soup, hot cakes, Indian Pudding, and breads.  Be sure to remember hot chocolate and coffee too! 19th century New Englanders roasted and brewed coffee at home. It was a season for lots of baking, hearty soups/stews and meats.

Don’t forget to revisit Lydia Maria Child’s The American Frugal Housewife. Her section on vegetables explains how vegetables should be stored during different seasons.  To read an excerpt, download our Jan/Feb edition of Learning Ahead: Cultural Itinerary for Western Massachusetts.

In addition to learning about history through the lens of food, food can also be a great catalyst for learning about other cultures. Read the rest of this entry »

Sense of Place: Winter Farmers’ Markets & Seasonal Food

Think about this:

Vicki Robin, author of Blessing the Hands that Feed Us, spent one month on a diet that consisted of foods that originated no further than 10 miles from her home. It radically changed her perception of eating local and cooking. How do you think your food consumption would change if you were to eat only foods from within 10 miles of your home? What foods would you not have access to and how would it impact your diet seasonally?

What similar recipes did 19th century New Englanders prepare that are still made in our kitchens? Are there recipes you prepare today contemporary versions of a traditional diet?

How does mass production and transportation impact our consumption of food and our sense of place? Are there foods you consume about which you do not know how they grow or how they are produced?

How could a farmers’ market support your interest in local food, sustainability and the culinary arts? Are there skills you could learn? Questions that could be answered? Recipes that could be shared?


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.

Save

Save

%d bloggers like this: