February : In Season

Eating seasonally and prioritizing locally grown produce and ingredients : context for late winter

  • Storage varieties of our favorite hearty produce are on feature this month, along with the fresh delicacies of frost tolerant foods and green house growers.
  • Mid to late winter in the agricultural community is many times referred to as the “hungry gap”, a time in which most of the crops on one’s garden have been harvested, and the new crops planted in early spring have yet to grow into anything of substance.

Citrus front and Center

  • In February, our shining stars become the family of citrus. High in vitamin C and low on the pH scale, citrus thrives between 59º and 86ºF. This crop originates in southeast Asia, where many cutivars have been forged, including (but not limited to) sweet oranges, meyer lemons, ruby red grapefruits, tangerines, clementines, limes, pomelos, kumquats, bergamots, finger limes, yuzu, buddha’s hand, blood orange, kaffir lime, etrog, cara cara navel orange, and much more.

  • Citrus is known to fruit all year round, but the best time of year is wintertime, because the fruits (like root vegetables) sweeten in taste after a light frost.

  • Interestingly, all citrus derives from three ancesteral species; true mandarins, citrons, and pomelos. There are many varieties of non-edible citrus as well, so be wary of urban foraging citrus!

  • In the seventeenth century, oranges became all the rage in France’s botany community, as King Louis XIV had a citrus-specific greenhouse built to have local and fresh citrus year round for his court to consume.

  • Citrus became a sea voyage staple for Europeans during the mid 1700’s, in the time of Captain James Cook’s journey in the Pacific. Many sea men suffered from scurvy, and the high contents of vitamin C in citrus helped to keep the nasty sickness at bay. Referencing British naval travelers as “limeys” refers to this!

  • Enjoy citrus in sweet applications; marmalade, juice, candied, curd…

  • or enjoy in savory ways; preserved in salt, cut in a salad, zest and juice for garnish, in a marinade, and much more!

Storage Crop Heroes

  • Similar to January, February features cruciferous veggies, alliums, and winter squashes. Storage crops, like kobucha squash, potatoes, yams, cabbage, onions, and garlic, are built to last as long as they are stored in their preferred environment (in a cool, dry, and dark place - avoid the fridge due to moisture). Take action and capitalize on these winter heroes before the busyness of Springtime distracts from them!

Recipes to Recommend


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