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Wednesday, Dec. 21, 2011

Eating Local in Wisconsin, All Year Round

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Eating local is easy enough in the summer and the fall, but it becomes a lot more difficult in the winter, when some of the most popular produce goes out of season and farmers' markets retreat indoors, where they're often out of sight and out of mind. The Wisconsin Local Foods Journal, a book published this August by Madison's Gingko Press, offers tips for where to find—and how to prepare—fresh local food all year round.

“The book is a combination engagement calendar, eating journal, cookbook and resource listing the foods that are available seasonally, with tips on how to store them and prepare dishes with them,” says Gingko Press President Joan Peterson, who co-authored the book with Madison foodie Terese Allen. The first in a planned annual series of foods journals, the book lists the Wisconsin foods that are widely available each month. Even in the dead of winter, there are plenty of them.

“Farmers' markets are still going strong this time of the year,” Peterson says. “They have a lot of winter storage vegetables, which will last for months, as well as vegetables that are grown hydroponically. There are greens that are grown all winter, including the most wonderful frost-kissed spinach, and things you might not expect to have fresh this season, like a lot of great apples and pears. And that's on top of the products you can get all year, like meat, milk, cheese and honey.”

Some of the other ingredients available in December include beets, brussels sprouts, garlic, kohlrabi, kale and microgreens, as well as an assortment of herbs and fruits. The journal highlights a theme ingredient each month. December's entry is on hickory nuts, with recipes for crunchy maple corn, a snack made with baby rice popcorn, chopped hickory nuts, butter and pure Wisconsin maple syrup, and a fruited wild-rice salad with toasted hickory nuts, rhubarb and cranberry chutney.

For more information on the book, visit wisconsinlocalfoodsjournal.com.
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