Celebrating Winter Vegetables and Developing Oregon’s Winter Vegetable Market

Author: Heidi Noordijk & Lane Selman, Oregon State University Small Farms Program

The recently-funded Developing Oregon’s Winter Vegetable Market project is led by the Oregon State University Vegetable Cropping Systems Program, the Oregon State University Small Farms Program and the Culinary Breeding Network. The project is funded through the Oregon Department of Agriculture Specialty Crop Block Grant Program.

Oregon’s mild winter climate is well suited to storage crops and over-wintered field vegetables for local and regional markets. However, there are currently few locally-grown winter vegetables in produce markets from January through April. Many European and Asian countries with similar climates have more robust local and regional winter produce markets that demonstrate the potential to increase this market in Oregon. Growers, chefs, wholesale buyers, seed suppliers, and consumers are interested in developing robust winter vegetable production and marketing systems in Oregon and the Pacific Northwest. The Developing Oregon’s Winter Vegetable Market project aims to address this need.

The overarching goal of this project is to increase the production and consumption of locally-grown winter vegetables in Oregon, including eight crops: winter squash, celeriac, garlic, Brussels sprout, cabbage, cauliflower, purple sprouting broccoli and radicchio. The project focuses on varieties that have been shown to be high performing (yield/quality/ winter hardiness/ storability) and have good market potential in past vegetable variety trial research projects

There will be several engaging and educational outreach events during the two years of this project that will connect farmers, seed growers, chefs, produce buyers and consumers including annual winter field days, Sagras and Variety Showcases.

Over 1000 people came together on December 8 at Ectotrust’s Redd on Salmon Street in Portland for the Fill Your Pantry + Winter Vegetable Sagra. Thirty-one local, farm vendors participated bringing in people with over 280 pre-orders and many day-of sales, and approximately $85,000 of sales occurred. This event was very well received by farmer vendors and public attendees.

Chefs prepared tasting dishes and provided kitchen demonstrations featuring winter vegetables grown by local farmers and at OSU’s North Willamette Research and Extension Center.

The tasting tables and vegetable information spaces created a fun, interesting and delicious space that attracted people to come learn, taste, become inspired by and ultimately support local farmers. This event and project is working to enhance people’s ideas on seasonal eating which can be year-round in the Willamette Valley.

Visit the new project website for information and recipes on Oregon’s winter vegetables. There will be more to come as the project progresses. Contact Heidi Noordijk (heidi.noordijk@oregonstate.edu) if you want to be involved in this project.

Project Website: http://eatwintervegetable.com.2020-21 Events and registration information will be posted on the project website.le/KJndcyDjaTFN6VJB9