Winter vegetable sourcing

A basement hydroponic system was one way Indiana farmers grew vegetables during the winter. Photo/Domenica Bongiovanni

Lafayette (Ind.) Journal & Courier (03.06-03.07.2016)

Part 1 online version | Part 1 print PDF | Part 2 online version | Part 2 print PDF

JC-Sweet winter season print front

Winter vegetables: Part 1 print PDF

JC-Winter food business print front

Winter vegetables: Part 2 print PDF

This series began from an oft-asked reader question: If a restaurant says it sources Indiana vegetables during the winter, isn’t it lying?

The answer, as I found out, is a resounding no. While temperatures — especially in the northern half of the state — might be too chilly for conventional outdoor gardens, greenhouses, high tunnels and hydroponic systems provide enough protection for cold-hardy vegetables to grow.

What’s harvested possesses a sweeter flavor — a chef’s dream — thanks to the extra sugar plants produce to arm them against the cold (Part 1). But unpredictable weather and an unbalanced supply and demand pose difficulties for growers, chefs and consumers (Part 2). Part 1 was picked up by The Associated Press and made into a sponsored Facebook post by one of the restaurants featured.

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