Happy New Year!
So what do farmers/gardeners do with snow on the ground and temperatures getting down in the teens at night?
Plan for a new gardening year of course!
I stopped by the Boyne City winter farmers market to see what products were available for us localvors.
I found cool season greens, onions, leeks, celeriac, radishes, parsnips, carrots, turnips, squash, garlic and apples. In earlier times we would have purchased a supply of these products in fall and stored them in a root cellar for use during the winter months.
I've seen remnants of root cellars on rural properties in our area, but I'm not aware of anyone still using one. I also found locally raised bison, beef, pork, chicken, lamb, turkey and wonderful farm fresh eggs.
My mother didn't can so I took a canning class a few years ago through MSU Extension. I learned to appreciate all the hard work and time it takes to produce yummy, economical, safe food for family and friends to eat.
I admire my friends who do can and treasure every jar they share with me. There were many home canned products also available at the farmers market. Other locally produced items included cheeses, maple syrup, baked goods, dried fruits, pesto, hummus and baba ganoush.
I stopped at the Blackbird Gardens booth and chatted with Mike Everts to see what kept him busy at this time of year. He is still harvesting root veggies and cool season greens from low hoop houses, evaluating last season's crops and planning seed orders for his 2013 gardens.
The Boyne City farmers market is open from 9 a.m.-1 p.m. every Saturday through the winter, in the red building next to the public library.
Beside planning for this year's garden you might want to attend locally offered workshops.
The 14th annual Northern Michigan Small Farm Conference will be Saturday, Jan. 26, at Grayling High School. There will be 23 breakout sessions and a keynote speaker. Lunch catered by Everts is included with registration.
To find out more about the conference go to www.smallfarmconference.com.
Master Gardeners can earn 5.25 educational hours for attending.
Mark your calendars for the Emmet Conservation District's second annual "Landscaping with Michigan Native Plants Workshop and Sale" which will take place on Saturday, June 22, with Vern Stephens. More information will be forthcoming.
North Central Michigan College is also offering an organic farming series of 10 Monday classes, Jan. 21-April 29, on a variety of topics Classes meet from 6-9 p.m. and cost is $25 per class.
Whether you're a backyard gardener or want to grow produce to take and sell at our local farmers markets, you'll find a class to interest you. Check out www.ncmich.edu, click on Winter Supplement to see a listing of classes, or pick up the Winter Supplement at the college.
Master Gardeners can earn 3 educational credit hours for each class taken.
Cydney Steeb, Advanced Master Gardener, can be contacted at Emmet County Conservation District, 3434 M-119, Harbor Springs; (231) 439-8977 or email@example.com. Her Gardening Wit and Wisdom column runs every Wednesday.