Buying Local and Sustainably Through the Winter

Blog Contributor: Madison Lepp

Eating locally and in season is a great way to be more environmentally conscious. Unfortunately, during the cold Canadian winter months, this becomes much more difficult. It is easy to forget about seasonal eating with modern-day food processing and worldwide distribution. Nevertheless, there are still many important reasons for eating seasonally and ways to shop locally in these cold months.

What does eating seasonally mean?

Just because something is available in the grocery store does not mean it’s in season. Simply put, eating seasonally means eating the fruits, vegetables, and grains that are naturally grown in abundance during specific times of the year.

Why is it important?

Eating seasonally not only has environmental benefits but this practice also is often less costly, decreases your carbon footprint, and supports the local community.

Out of season produce is shipped very far distances to reach our grocery store shelves. For example, strawberries can’t grow in our cold Canadian winter, so grocery stores often source them from the United States or South America. Transportation from these places is very resource intense, creating greenhouse gas emissions. Although, that’s not to say that strawberries and other produce can’t be grown in greenhouses here in Niagara.

How to shop locally & in season…

  • Check out your local Farmers market or “on-farm” markets
  • Look for Foodland Ontario logos or “Product of Canada” on the packaging
  • Buy locally frozen and canned varieties

Here is a list of vegetables widely available in season right now (December-February):

Apples, Beets, Cabbage, Carrots, Cucumber*, Garlic, Leeks, Lettuce*, Peppers*, Potatoes, Mushrooms, Onions, Parsnips, Rhubarb, Rutabaga, Sprouts, Squash, Tomatoes*.

*Denotes greenhouse grown fruits/vegetables

Winter’s Farmers Markets in and around Southern Ontario:

Some winter recipes ideas, using in seasons produce to spark your interest!

Pumpkin Apple Muffins

Apple Cinnamon Waffles with Honey

Leek Potato Soup

Butternut Squash Lasagna

Vegan Cabbage Rolls

Apple Crisp

Rhubarb Crumble Bars