The Fresh Exchange Blog

A Winter Harvest

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winter harvest, traverse city, michigan, winter, snow, carrots

Growing up my grandfather had the biggest garden. In fact it was a whole city lot size garden in Harbor Springs, Michigan that he tended himself every day. I spent many days as a young one wandering the rows and snacking on whatever happened to look good to me. This may explain my passion for growing things myself. I love getting my hands dirty and seeing the fruits of my labor.

Most think the growing season ends at the first good snow (at least a foot) but to me this is when the getting is good. I love to plant root vegetables that grow deep under the ground such as parsnips, beets, carrots, and so on because this time of year and even all the way to early Spring you will have a yummy and sweet harvest. I typically plant them in the Summer with the rest of my veggies but just let them do their thing till I am ready for them.

winter harvest, traverse city, michigan, winter, snow, carrots

After the ground has frozen for more than a month those little veggies begin to freeze their natural sugars and nutrients in tightly. They are extra amazing and are the real secret to why you should be growing root veggies. A good garden will serve you even in the dead of winter I believe.

winter harvest, traverse city, michigan, winter, snow, carrots

So yesterday I thought it was time to pull some up. We have been making lots of soups and roasting veggies for a warm treat on a cool night. I spent the last few months buying from the grocery store as our CSA had ended and I knew I needed to wait patiently for the ones I had planted to be ready. But I finally gave up and grabbed the shovel and went to stir up the frozen ground to find the seeds had grown huge yummy carrots in many different colors from white to purple to orange.

winter harvest, traverse city, michigan, winter, snow, carrots

What I love about this process of digging up the veggies this time of year when everything seems so dead, is that it reminds me that even in the toughest most difficult times there is always good growing deep beneath us that we may just not be able to see. This always gives me hope that there is good to come and most likely when I least expect it. Isn’t this why we have seasons? To teach us the beauty of the smallest things such as this.

winter harvest, traverse city, michigan, winter, snow, carrots

winter harvest, traverse city, michigan, winter, snow, carrots

winter harvest, traverse city, michigan, winter, snow, carrots

Even under all the snow I found it so wonderful that the tops of these little guys were still green and there were leaves still making appearances deep under the surface of all that pretty cold white stuff. Almost as if the Summer and Fall had never ended  for them.

winter harvest, traverse city, michigan, winter, snow, carrots

The reason I chose yesterday was because it has been sunny and fairly warm lately. We haven’t seen a good solid snow storm in a while so the snow is beginning to thin down, which means I would have an easier time accessing the little guys under the snow.

winter harvest, traverse city, michigan, winter, snow, carrots

So I dug it all up. I made that perfectly white snow all dirty to get to the beauty and yumminess that was lying underneath the cold blanket of Winter to reveal the a leftover bounty from Fall. It made Spring feel nearer than it really is, but it is moments and things like this that remind me the importance of seasons in life. Each has purpose. Each has beauty.

winter harvest, traverse city, michigan, winter, snow, carrots

Tomorrow I will be posting a Just 5 recipe for roasted root vegetables and carrots. So make sure to stop back to see how these pretty little guys make a great side or light lunch.

winter harvest, traverse city, michigan, winter, snow, carrots Hope you find beauty today even in the gray dreariness.

The items I wore:
Hat: Nine West (similar
Sweater: Anthropologie
Fingerless Gloves: Baabaazuzu
Skinnies: Gap (similar)
Boots: Sorel

13 Comments

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  1. What a lovely post, you look/write so adorable! I wish I could grow my own things but unfortunately I live in the city. Maybe I’ll convince my parents (who don’t live in the city) to start their own garden. :) Wishing you the best! xoxo

  2. I loved this post, my grandfather also had a large garden I got lost in as a child!!! I so want a garden of my own!

  3. What a wonderful post! I honestly didn’t realize you could/should wait until winter to harvest root veggies. We don’t exactly get much snow here in California, so I’m clueless about gardening in super cold conditions. I can’t wait for the recipe!

  4. I love this! I have many happy childhood memories of gardening with my grandfather as well. I think he took a break through the winter months. Those carrots are beautiful, and must taste delicious after that icy treasure hunt!

  5. love these photos and am so impressed that you got out there in the snow to find these treasures (and that your dog happily can lie in snow, as our pup shakes in his little boots out there)

  6. I love this, we’re harvesting too right now. But here it So Cali, we’re just picking citrus off the trees. Definitely a lot less work. Your images are fantastic – like usual. I’m looking forward to the recipe.

  7. My goodness, I had ZERO carrots this year. Boo hiss! Beautiful photos.

    This reminded me that I think I harvested carrots in mid-winter a couple years ago? Sure enough, I found the post of my snowy carrots too: http://besquirrely.com/2011/01/14/garden-of-white/

  8. M

    Ho I love that Nine West Hat! Very cute outfit for digging up veggies! xx

  9. You are the cutest! And you inspire me to eat healthier :)

  10. […] 01. A Winter Harvest by The Fresh Exchange. […]

  11. What a cute post! I have a carrot stealer too.

  12. dan

    My grandfather lived in the snowbelt in Western New York. As a young boy I was always surprised how he would harvest carrots and parsnips on Christmas day and fry them up in butter ( before it became bad) as a sweet snack.

    Many years later I bought a house also in the snowbelt and a local chief approached me about doing a organic garden in my big backyard. I said sure but need to talk to her about the winter connection. Also I’d like her to grow/make her own horseradish.

    What else can we do with winter harvest?

  13. Even in the snow belt you can continue to grow most any vegetables if you set up proper cold boxes. Kale and cabbage grow well in the boxes as do some herbs like rosemary, thyme, and sage. Winter harvests usually consist of your root vegetables so nearly anything that grows in the ground is going to do well. I hope that helps!

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