Some quick things:

  • Want to receive this list via email each week? Sign up here.
  • Talking Breads fresh Thursday! 
  • BUTTER BLOWOUT continues — Apple Valley Creamery’s grass-fed butter is on sale for $7/tub (usually $8.50).
  • Those Knead Pizza Kits should be in more reliable stock this week, but please bear with us while we figure out how many we need to order each week!

Scroll down for the full list of what we’ll have this week!

Beets in our oven right this second (or at least as of a few minutes ago), waiting to become a beet experiment by Dusty.

In the height of summer, and maybe even more so in early fall, local food is quite clearly The Best. The produce is abundant and beautiful; the options are varied; some of the treats are so fleeting we could eat them every meal and not be sick of them before they’re gone. It’s basically a no-brainer.

And then there’s local food in February and March.

Earlier this week, my sister, who recently moved to midtown and is in her first winter of doing nearly all of her family’s grocery shopping at Radish & Rye, said to me, “I just can’t eat any more beets!”

Fair enough, and I love beets.

One of the things I marvel at this time of year is how much locally grown produce is still around — we’ve got sweet potatoes (two types!) in abundance; regular potatoes, too; carrots harvested before the ground froze are still in great shape (mostly); baby greens are starting to surge from the high tunnels; and yes, there are beets. Time was, this was how we survived — we had no choice, if we wanted veggies in February — and these were the foods that got us through the winter. These days, we do have a lot of choices, but you could, if you were so inclined, eat an all-local diet even now, even this time of year, when the pickings are, realistically, just about as slim as they get.*

Dusty and I, of course, get most of our own groceries from Radish & Rye as well, or from the CSAs delivered to us at Radish & Rye. We’re eating a mostly local diet year-round. During the late winter, though, we do have fewer meals where we can tally up the source of everything on our plates than we do during peak produce season.

And yet…. in some ways, I find eating a mostly-local diet to be even more satisfying this time of year. I get a little tickle of pride when we find a way to make beets taste like a treat again, or a new way to prepare sweet potatoes. I love challenges and games, and reconfiguring the same old ingredients into something new is one of my favorite puzzles.

And so, in that vein, I would like to propose some community collaboration — will you share with us (and my sister) some of your favorite ways to make beets new again? I’d love to hear about your standbys, but I’m also interested in the things you wouldn’t necessarily cook all the time, but those that have surprising flavors, or occupy part of the meal where you wouldn’t normally stick beets. These can be things you’ve actually made, or things you’ve dreamed about.

I’ll go first: for my stand by, I’ve got a go-to beet salad that I’ve probably mentioned here many times before and I think would also be amazing tossed with some farro. And for my dream, I’ve been thinking about a beet/carrot/ginger salad, with grated raw beets and carrots, chopped ginger, and probably some kind of yogurt dressing — almost a beet slaw, maybe, to keep in the fridge for lunches, or have at dinner next to pan-seared country style spare ribs and a big green salad. And for my stretch dream, I’m thinking beet ice cream. Maybe with cloves? Or maybe streaks of honey? Gotta keep thinking about that one…

If you’ve got beet ideas, comment on the blog or on Facebook, or email radishandrye@gmail.com. With your permission, we’ll share some of our favorites — so bonus points if you’ve got photos! (Maybe this is inspiration to try that recipe or idea you’ve been dreaming about, so you can take some pics?)

And if beets aren’t your thing? Let’s do this challenge again next week, but with sweet potatoes — feel free to get to work now!

-Julia

*Knock on wood, I should, after saying a thing like that. In most years, the first of the spring crops — bigger leafy greens, spring radishes, maybe even asparagus — will come in before the last of the storage crops are depleted or deteriorating. If it’s a very cold and grey late winter/early spring, though, that confluence is not guaranteed. Once upon a time, the whole population lived in fear of this possibility; nowadays, it’s only the farmers and us purveyors of local food that really have to worry.


Produce

Fruit

  • Fuji Apples
  • Granny Smith Apples
  • Pink Lady Apples

Herbs

  • Parsley

Mushrooms

  • Cremini
  • White
  • Shiitake
  • Oyster
  • Lions Mane

Onions & Garlic

  • Garlic
  • Red Onions (limited)
  • Yellow Onions
  • Shallots

Potatoes

  • Yukon Gold Potatoes
  • Sweet Potatoes
  • Japanese Sweet Potatoes

Roots

  • Red Beets
  • Carrots – ugly, regular, and small
  • Rainbow Carrots (somewhat limited)
  • Jerusalem Artichokes
  • Daikon Radishes
  • Purple Radishes
  • Rutabagas
  • Purple Top Turnips
Salad Greens 
  • Ruby Streaks Mustard Greens
  • Asian Salad Mix
  • Mesclun Mix
  • Baby Spinach

Squash

  • Butternut Squash

Bread

McGrath’s Brick Oven Bakehouse (fresh Friday & Saturday)

  • McGrath’s Original
  • Sesame Original
  • Irish Oatmeal Pan Bread
  • Cranberry Ginger
  • Everything
  • Prairie
  • Baguettes (available frozen only)
Talking Breads (fresh Thursday)

  • Batard
  • Ciabatta (frozen only)
  • Miche
  • Seeded