a new winter CSA and winter farmers’ market starting up in Concord!
Most gardens are buried in inches of snow. But that doesn’t mean it’s not possible to get fresh vegetables in Concord.
Next month, Larry Pletcher, owner of the Vegetable Ranch in Warner, is starting a winter CSA and farmers market. A CSA – an acronym for community supported agriculture – will give members a chance to pre-buy shares of the farm’s produce, then pick up fresh lettuce, bok choy and other fresh veggies every two weeks from the end of February through early May.
“It’s becoming a growing thing,” Pletcher said. “I know lots of people interested in local foods, the local situation, but everyone wonders what can they eat locally during the winter.”
Pletcher has run the Vegetable Ranch as an organic farm since 1988. He has been working there full time for about seven years, selling his goods at farmers markets throughout the area.
In the summer, he participates in the Local Harvest CSA, which includes a large number of farms around Concord, and the Kearsarge Mountain CSA, a smaller program run from his farm.
This year, after putting up a new greenhouse, Pletcher decided to start his own CSA in the winter. He has stored potatoes, onions, beets and carrots, which will be distributed. He also has three greenhouses filled with lettuce, spinach, bok choy, chard and kale. Come spring, there should be fresh radishes, beets and carrots.
Pletcher said that some vegetables, like lettuce, need to be grown in heated greenhouses. Others, like spinach, are simply covered in an unheated greenhouse. The greenhouses generate solar warmth, and covering the vegetables in mid-afternoon keeps the heat in. “It’s amazing,” Pletcher said. “You have days when it’s down 5, 6 below. You go out the next day and they’re not frozen.”