You will be surprised at the homegrown local food you can find at year-round farmers markets now. By using innovative methods and growing hardy crops, some farmers also are beginning to offer spring, summer, fall and winter CSA’s.
Farmers use hoop houses, or high tunnels, to extend the growing season for spring and fall crops, like lettuce, strawberries, spinach, onions and cabbage. Hoop houses, shaped like half a hoop and covered in plastic, are essentially non-heated greenhouses. Farmers start some summer crops, like tomatoes and corn, early in greenhouses that are temperature controlled. They also grow start many other vegetables in greenhouses to give them a good start before planting them outside. Farmers grow more cold weather vegetables, like kale, collards, cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, carrots and others right in the ground.
Now you don’t have to wish for summer any more. You can eat fresh and local all the time.
*Photograph courtesy of Mattawoman Creek Farms: bok choy growing in their hoop house in Cape Charles, VA