It’s December, the last month of the year, and the last month where the days continue to grow shorter! As promised, it is time for a look at which local foods are in season this month!
Referencing from the Southwestern BC Seasonal Food Chart, available at www.getlocalbc.org, we can see that there is still a pretty wide variety of fresh local food in season. The chart details that beets, brussel sprouts, green cabbage, red cabbage, savoy cabbage, carrots, kale, leeks, red onions, yellow onions, parsnips, red, russet, yellow and white potatoes, rutabagas, winter squash, white turnips, swiss chard, mushrooms, nuts (in storage), apples, kiwis (this still surprises me, where does one find locally grown kiwis?) pears, bay leaves, chervil, cilantro, rosemary, sage and thyme are all available this month.
You can pick up these delicious local foods at farmer’s markets, as well as select grocers. Sprout market here in North Vancouver is a great option, as well as Whole Foods in West Vancouver. I have found that the local bigger box retailers carry some local produce; you just have to hunt around a bit more, and check the labels (which can be a little confusing, especially when you see a label which reads ‘Canada/USA/Mexico’).
It also appears that on December 15th, the Vancouver Farmer’s Market is having a special ‘Holiday Market’ edition at the Croatian Cultural Centre! Over 85 local vendors will be there selling local produce and foods (such as cheese, honey, baked goods and locally roasted coffee), as well as other handmade crafts. It could be a great place to buy some locally made Christmas gifts for loved ones. Check out this link for further information http://www.eatlocal.org/holidaymarket.html.
December offers a lot of possibility, and it is pretty exciting that here in the Pacific Northwest we have so many options, even in winter. If you are looking for a new or interesting way to enjoy produce in December, a friend of mine recently shared a wonderful recipe with me; one which he believes celebrates the tastes of December’s seasonal produce. So if you are looking for some inspiration, or a new way to enjoy local produce, perhaps give it a try!
Zach’s Seasonal Squash Bake
– 1 small onion, chopped
– 2 cloves of garlic, minced
– 1 tbsp olive oil
– 3 cups of assorted greens (kale or swiss chard), chopped
– 1 winter squash, cubed – approximately 4 cups
– ½ tsp salt
– ½ tsp pepper
– ½ tsp ground thyme
– ½ ground sage
-1 cup vegetable stock
– 2 slices of bread
– 1 cup of nuts (pecan or other)
– 2 tsp of olive oil
Preheat oven to 425 F or 220 C. In a saucepan over medium heat, sauté the onions and garlic in oil until the onions are translucent. Add the greens, turn off the heat, cover with a lid and let it rest for 5 minutes. Meanwhile, place the squash, salt, pepper, sage, thyme, and stock into an 8×8 baking dish. Stir in the greens mixture and toss together well. Cover with a lid or tinfoil and bake for 30 minutes. While the dish is in the oven, blend the bread, nuts, and oil in a food processor (or blender) until it is an even meal-y texture. Sprinkle this mixture on top of the squash dish. Uncover and let bake for 15 more minutes.