Beating the Winter Farmers Market Blues

This time of year, “Buy local” gets interesting in Northeastern Ohio. It seems like all there is to buy is root vegetables. Anyone want more potatoes? Anyone?
*And what in the world do you do with celeriac? Help!

But! If you have a winter farmers market, make the trip. You’ll be surprised by the abundance our farmers have for us at this time of year. Between storage vegetables, high tunnels, and cold frames, they provide a surprising variety of produce.

For example, here’s the list of vegetables that were in my Christmas CSA box from Crown Point:

  • Beets
  • Butternut squash
  • Carrots
  • Daikon radish
  • Watermelon radish (looks like a turnip to me)
  • Cabbage
  • Sweet Potatoes
  • Lettuce mix
  • Garlic
  • Parsnips
  • Celeriac (What do I do? This is a serious cry for help!)
  • Eggs
  • and lots and lots of Potatoes, of course

Tim Knorr, who runs my CSA, apologized for giving us dirty root vegetables. The root crop washer “works with water, not ice”, he explained. We have a foot of snow on the ground, last week’s high was 22F, and you gave me enough (locally grown) vegetables to strain my back as I carry them to the car. I don’t mind if the root vegetables are a little dirty!

Even if the vegetable selection isn’t quite the same as the middle of August, I still want to visit my winter market. Before Christmas, I saw locally grown eggs, lamb, pork, beef, chicken, and even buffalo. (Can you tell I loaded up my freezer?)

Sure, buying local is easiest in the middle of the summer. But, even in the deep midwinter, it is worth the effort. Find your winter farmers market. You’ll thank me!

What do you think? What do you buy at the winter farmers market? Any good recipes for celeriac?  Tell us about it in the comments section below.

Inspired by:
My CSA: Crown Point CSA
My local farmers market: Cuyahoga Valley Countryside Conservancy Farmers Market
Thank you all for your hard work this year!

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  1. I use celeriac in mashed potatoes. Peel the outer layer off with a sharp knife and the cut the rest up into smaller pieces that the Idaho’s (since the celeriac is denser than the potato and needs longer to cook than a potato of the same size).

    I normally do a 50/50 blend of the two. Into a pot of cold water and continue as with the regular recipe for mashed potatoes. They’ll add a subtle celery flavor and honestly, unless you tell people, they might just not even notice the change.

    You could also do a 100% celeriac mash … or better yet, a soup! Instead of simmering in water, simmer them in chicken stock until tender, blend it up until smooth, add in cream or yogurt and enjoy.

  2. @Tino:

    Thanks, Tom! I’m going to give the soup a try tonight; I’ve got the celeriac and chicken stock, and it sounds like a great idea.

  3. @Deanne:

    Thank you for the idea, it sounds delicious!

    I looked into what made a gratin a few months back for my chard gratin. If you top something with bread crumbs and bake it in the oven, it is a gratin – cheese and milk are extras.

  4. I make a gratin-esque dish using fennel and celeriac as the main ingredients. It doesn’t use cream/milk or much cheese so it’s not really gratin, but it is baked with a crumb topping so it’s somewhat similar and not as heavy. The recipe is available on epicurious (search fennel and celeriac gratin) and sometimes I cheat and just roast the celeriac and then top it with the crumb topping from the gratin. Any leftovers that last more than a few days can be tossed with pasta and a little lemon juice for a remake.

    Blog is looking good, keep it up!

  5. Agreed on the mashed potatoes and soup. I particularly like Deborah Madison’s turnip soup (in Local Flavors) but often swap out the veg. Celeriac works beautifully there. Top the soup with some crispy onions or toasted cashews.

    Or just consider it a root veggie like any other – roast in a root veggie mix under a roasted chicken with herb butter under the skin and you have a simple, fabulous dinner. Good luck with your veggies!

  6. @Stephanie:

    Thanks for the “Treat celeriac like any other root vegetable” comment – that’s probably what I should have done in the first place, and under my roast chicken sounds delicious…

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