Keeping Local Produce at the Market During Off-Season

Dear FMNS,

How can we keep local produce at our farmers’ market during the off-season?

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Ready-to-go meals made from local foods

A company in the valley has started selling shares in a new kind of CSA; a prepared foods CSA. They use local products to make delicious ready meals for their clients in the Valley and Halifax.

Two vendors at the Halifax Seaport Farmers’ Market have been selling complete meals made from local ingredients for their customers to take home and heat up.

The meals could be made fresh from local in season products or include frozen components, preserved during the peak of the season.

Freeze it!

A few years ago I read about a business what froze whole plum tomatoes at peak season and sold them at a much higher price during the off season. This is much easier than canning and preserving and is only limited by the amount of freezer space you have.

Taking this a stage further, in England there is a company that freezes vegetable mixes such as broad beans with parsley, and root vegetable medleys. These frozen vegetables are sold by the scoop out of freezer units (just like pick ‘n’ mix!) at Farmers’ Markets across the country and are very popular with working Moms who know that if they buy anything fresh they are just going to waste it.

Ideas like these keep customers coming back week after week to see ‘what’s new’ at a time of the year when nothing new is in season.