The days are short and cold, so growing, even in a greenhouse, has its challenges.
Winter vegetables usually include brassicas like kale, cabbage, broccoli and delicate salad greens that are able to be grown in the soil in a cooler environment. Hydroponics is growing in water with nutrients, and aquaponics is using fish to provide the nutrients.
Farmers markets are not usually associated with winter, and there are fewer veggies to select from, but people still have to eat, so why not support the local farming community at the same time?
Several farmers defy the odds and are ready to provide locally grown vegetables. Here is a list of what you can find and where.
Gaining ground in its third year is Del Tech Applied Agriculture farm market, open year-round, Tuesday and Thursday, 1-5 p.m., unless the college is closed. It’s located in back of the Delaware Tech campus at 21179 College Drive, Georgetown. Students hydroponically grow a variety of lettuce, herbs, microgreens, bell peppers, cucumbers and tomatoes in a heated greenhouse. Vegetables like kale, Swiss chard, bok choy, carrots, kohlrabi, beets, radish, turnips, cabbage, rutabaga and bunching onions are grown in dirt in a high tunnel. Also on sale are Ray’s local honey, and locally produced Backyard Jams and Jellies. The market’s goal is to teach students real-life market gardening and growing, and the money goes back into the program. Go to DTCC Owens Campus Farm Market.
Outside Milton, off Cave Neck Road at 16300 King Cole Drive, is Totem Farms. They grow in greenhouses, producing mustard, arugula, claytonia, buttercrunch and mizuna microgreens, and radishes. Depending on availability, spring mix, romaine, collards and kale are also on the list. Turnips are for sale while they last, plus Totem Farms honey and Stag Run Farm apples. Transplants are available if you have your own cold frame or a sunny window to grow them. The new shop is open Saturday and Sunday, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. The farm is very responsive to Facebook messages. Go to totemfarmsde.org to learn more.
Every other Saturday, 9 a.m. to noon in Lewes at Savannah Station, 1143 Savannah Road, vendors from Historic Lewes Farmers Market gather to sell their wares. Elysium Farms has pork products, while Twin Post Farms brings chicken and duck eggs as they are available. Fresh Harvest offers a selection of hydroponic lettuce, and Nice Farms Creamery sets up with dairy products, although they leave at 11 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 15 is the next market.
In its 14th year of supplying the area with winter veggies is Hattie’s Garden delivery service. Harnessing many vendors from Historic Lewes Farmers Market, she offers a variety of items from eggs to fish, and from cheese to prepared foods. Hattie sends out an email on Sunday with the offerings. Chesapeake Organic, Totem Farms, Fresh Harvest and Hattie’s Garden are the main suppliers of greens and veggies, and sometimes the available produce is limited. New this season is Wilder Breads by Green Man. Organic oranges, figs and dates are a new addition. Dittmar Family Farms is new this year, offering pasture-raised chicken. Nancy’s Cafe is new to the service with prepared items like soup and quiche. Chrissy’s Bees of Stag Run Farm is the honey supplier. AlaskaWild Seafoods, Chapel’s Country Creamery, Davidson Exotic Mushrooms, Backyard Jams and Jellies, Jen’s Pies-Flying Squirrel Garden and Patty’s Gourmet Food are also on the list. Orders are delivered for a small fee in Lewes or Rehoboth Beach, or items may be picked up at the garden. Go to Hattiesgarden.com to sign up for the email.
For those who are willing to take a little ride to 37756 Bearhole Road, in Selbyville, Bearhole Farms is growing year-round. Every Friday and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., the farm offers arugula, basil, swiss chard and four types of lettuce including romaine and spring mix, as well as other available vegetables. The farm is an eco-friendly operation and uses an aquaponic system to grow the greens. Aquaponics combines aquaculture - raising fish in tanks - with hydroponics in a symbiotic environment. Offered the first Saturday of every month, cooking demos start at 11:30, either inside the greenhouse or outside under the pergola, depending on the weather. Bloody Marys and fresh bread with a variety of cheeses are offered. Rescued greyhounds also make an appearance. The farm offers many other events throughout the month. Go to bearholefarms.com.
On the first and third Sundays until April, Nassau Valley Vineyards Farmers Market is held inside the event center near the grove. Several of the summer market vendors return to sell their stash, such as Stag Run Farm, offering eggs, honey, fruit and root veggies. Totem Farms is there with microgreens and honey, and Fresh Harvest offers hydroponic salad greens. Elysium Farms comes up from Berlin, Md., with pork products, and visitors can get their alpaca fix from Nuevo Mundo Alpaca farms and shop with Four Acres Living for alpaca products. Also setting up in Claret Hall are Gaia Coffee, Remarle, Blue Moon Seaglass, Delaware Bay Clay, The Point, Papi Joe’s Cafe, EpicurEan Provisions, Backyard Jams, Ada’s Picnic, and Charlie’s Treats. Wine tasting is offered in the winery retail room, and local artists are on view in Gallery One. Live music is also a draw. The vineyard is at 32165 Winery Way, off Nassau Commons Boulevard between Rt. 9 and Rt. 1 in Nassau. Go to nassauvalley.com/farmers-market or find them on Facebook.
Last minute adjustments are as common as weather changing, so it’s always a good idea to follow the businesses on facebook or check their website.