Locavores — people who eat food produced in the region where they live — are growing in number.  And there’s plenty to like about the Locavore lifestyle. Shorter shipping distances mean less environmental impact, and food quality is usually better too. Fruit or vegetables that have to be transported hundreds or thousands of miles are often selected and grown for their sturdiness and appearance, not their taste. And who doesn’t want to support their local economy and farmers? You don’t need to be dogmatic about locally grown food, either, to enjoy taking steps in that direction.

Locavores — people who eat food produced in the region where they live — are growing in number.  And there’s plenty to like about the Locavore lifestyle. Shorter shipping distances mean less environmental impact, and food quality is usually better too. Fruit or vegetables that have to be transported hundreds or thousands of miles are often selected and grown for their sturdiness and appearance, not their taste. And who doesn’t want to support their local economy and farmers? You don’t need to be dogmatic about locally grown food, either, to enjoy taking steps in that direction.


Of course, shopping at farmer’s markets, farm stands and the like is wonderful in the summer. But if you live in a cold climate, eating locally in winter might sound like a hopeless errand. Although it’s true that your options will change with the seasons, it’s still doable, especially with a little planning. And you will not be reduced to eating tree bark.


Plan ahead and preserve


Preserving your own garden’s bounty or the fresh food you get from farmer’s markets or the like doesn’t need to be ridiculously time-consuming. It’s easy to find instructions online for freezing different types of produce. And canning may not be as labor-intensive as you imagine. As with so many other changes, you don’t have to do everything at once—try starting small with just one homemade canned item like jam. You’ll love pulling it out of your pantry in January and having a sweet reminder of summer.


Network and learn


Do you have like-minded friends or family nearby? You might really enjoy trading (say, some of that jam you made) for something they’ve preserved. If your area has a natural foods store, ask them if they’re carrying local products. It there’s a restaurant that emphasizes local ingredients, the staff there may know of food sources you aren’t aware of. Strike up a conversation the next time you dine there and you may come away with fresh ideas. In some areas, you can find greenhouses that grow produce like salad greens and tomatoes out of season, and some cities even have winter farmer’s markets.


Consider community supported agriculture


In community supported agriculture (CSA), now popular around the country, farmers offer "shares" to the public. These usually consist of a box of vegetables you pick up on a weekly basis. The appeal of this in the summer is obvious. But many CSAs offer winter subscriptions, too, providing products like meat, eggs, cheeses and mushrooms as well as preserved vegetables and fruit from the fall harvest. (You could try to save fall vegetables yourself in a cool dark place at home. If you lack the space, though, a CSA subscription could be a perfect solution.)