The Kitsap year has two seasons: pantry and farmers market! By May all the farmers markets are open around the county. The last market closes in December.
February is a pantry month. It’s smack dab between seasons. A few hardy vegetables are still hanging on in the ground. Crops planted in the fall have started to grow as sunlight hours increase but are not yet big enough to pull.
What’s in season
Because we don’t get much of a hard freeze locally, farmers can keep crops in the ground and bring them out to sell. Potatoes, beets, and carrots are still coming out of the ground. The hardy greens do well in our low-sunlight climates, some farmers have varieties of kale for sale. Great big cabbages are still growing on the stalk. Winter squashes keep well and can still be found in the stores.
Farmers slaughter chickens throughout the winter and offer them fresh or fresh-frozen. Beef, pork and lamb slaughtered in the fall are available frozen. Milk from local cows and goats, goat cheese, and eggs are all available as well.
Fruits held in cold storage from the fall harvest can sometimes be found at farm stores, or if you talk to Paul Gregory.
The winter table
February features food which can be made from beans, root vegetables, meat, and hardy greens. These include soups, stews, meat-with-potatoes, braised greens, and cabbage slaw.
Cooking from the freezer
Farmers offer bulk meats in the fall – whole or half pigs, cows, and lamb – which can be stored in the freezer.
Last summer’s blueberries and autumn’s cranberries freeze easily. They both bake up into muffins. Cranberries can be made into sauce for a tart accompaniment to winter meals. Pickles can also brighten up a salad or add crunch and acidity on the side.
Cooking from the pantry
Winter is the time to work on turning over the pantry. Onions, potatoes, apples, and squash should be checked and cooked or processed. February menus include pasta and canned meat, rice with frozen vegetables and leftover meats, canned and dried beans in soups or as side dishes.