Winter in Minnesota doesn’t have to be a wait for summer. Fresh red bibb lettuce paired with dried mushrooms and hearty roots is like a taste of summer with a splash of winter. How can that be?
Farmers involved with Valley Natural Foods and other co-ops enrich our winter selection with a homesteader’s legacy and a producer’s ingenuity. Centuries old techniques like cellaring, canning and freezing extend the availability of squash and allow for year-round delicacies like dried Morel, the official state mushroom.
Modern advances in cultivation that create a symbiotic environment between aquatic animals and plants are called Aquaponics. This brings us a near-summer taste of freshness with Aquaponically-grown plants like red bibb lettuce. It also allows for local farming during an unlikely season.
Those of us active in sustainability have winter options. Look for squash that is firm. You will find dried Morel mushrooms in packages in the produce department. Store these items in a cool dry place. When selecting Aquaponic plants, select fresh bunches and use within a day or two.