Now that the days are shorter and the traditional growing season is in hibernation, it becomes more difficult to find fresh, local food. Difficult, but not impossible.
We pulled together some options for you so you can enjoy the good stuff year-round.
Denver Urban Homesteading (DUH) Indoor Farmer’s Market
Housed in a nondescript building in a semi-industrial part of town, lies the only year-round farmer’s market in Denver. It may not look the part from the outside, but it certainly makes up for it on the inside.
Various stalls line the space, selling quality beef and pork, raw goat milk, organic vegetables, greens, raw honey, organic spices and a number of other goodies. Founded by James Bertini and his wife, Irina, the DUH Market is dedicated to selling organic and high-quality food from local farmers—most food originates within 100 miles—and food producers. They know where the food comes from and the people who grow it.
Hours: 3–7 p.m. Thursdays and Fridays, 9 a.m.–3 p.m. Saturdays
Location: 200 Santa Fe Drive
Payment Options: Cash, Visa, Mastercard, food stamps
Local Farms & Food Producers
While it’s true that most farms close up shop during the winter, there are some with hoop houses—similar to a greenhouse—that grow food year-round. One such place is Berry Patch Farms in Brighton. They offer a range of produce, including spinach, chard, winter squash, potatoes, garlic, onions and more, as well as frozen tomatoes and organically fed free-range chicken and turkey, grass-fed beef, and organic eggs.
Hours: 10 a.m.–3 p.m. Saturdays; e-mail to possibly arrange a time if you can’t make it on Saturday
Location: 13785 Potomac St., Brighton
If you can’t make the drive out to Berry Patch, there is a different option a little closer to home. MM Local partners with local growers to pick produce at the height of ripeness and preserves those flavors using the most traditional and natural methods available so you can eat fresh and local throughout the year. Check their website for places you can purchase their products.
If you’re a do-it-yourselfer, you can take matters into your own hands and either build or purchase a cold frame. A cold frame is basically an enclosure built low-to-the-ground with a transparent roof, similar to a mini-greenhouse.
The idea is to extend the growing season into the winter, by providing plants shelter and trapping the natural heat of the sun. In Denver, according to both Colorado State University —Denver Extension and Grow Local Colorado, we’re able to grow a number of things, including arugula, lettuce, beets, chard, spinach, scallions, garlic, potatoes, broccoli and more.
For most of these, it’s best to plant in early fall for a winter harvest, but you can plant now and reap your rewards in early spring.