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Winter Farm Markets

“Pease porridge hot, pease porridge cold, pease porridge in the pot, nine days old.”

When America was truly an agrarian nation, with every household involved in some level of food production, winter food was monotonous. Pease porridge, consumed since at least the Middle Ages in Europe, evolved in New England to “the canonical dish of our forefathers”—baked beans.

Dried vegetables, boiled lovingly to a mush, supplemented by an occasional joint of tough meat, were staples of Early American life. How different it is today. Food is flown in from all over the world, allowing us to eat foods year-round that Early Americans did not know existed.

But we are a fickle lot and increasingly Americans are seeking locally grown, seasonal foods, produced by purveyors who eschew industrial agricultural methods. Happily, locally grown food is no long desiccated and bland, even in the middle of winter.

Several farmers markets in the region have expanded their hours into the winter months, offering the opportunity to purchase specialty meats, eggs, cheeses, fresh-made breads and baked goods, preserves, artisans’ creations and even fresh produce.

At the Amenia Farmers Market—held the first and third Saturdays of each month from 12-2PM in the Town Hall parking lot— fresh herbs are available from Running Creek Farm and Dashing Star Farm to inspire would-be chefs. The market’s website even offers recipes to help the less imaginative to create a dinner worthy of the ingredients. (See link below).

The Millerton Farmers Market, sponsored by the North East Community Center, is located only a few miles away from Amenia at the Methodist Church at the corner of Dutchess and Main streets. The market is held outdoors from May to October, but retreats indoors in November, where ten local farmers, bakers and food artisans display their products. The winter markets are held every second and fourth Saturday from 10AM-2PM. through the end of April.

Berkshire Grown’s last famers market of the season will be held from 10AM-2PM on Saturday February 17th at the Monument Valley High School in Great Barrington. This festive event features the freshest locally grown and produced food and gifts including vegetables, cheeses, meats, breads, preserved foods and grilled sausages.

Norfolk has joined the winter crowd, holding monthly markets (the next is planned for February 24th during the Winter Weekend in Norfolk Festival). The market will be held from 10AM-1PM inside the Town Hall on 19 Maple Avenue.