Farmers and food entrepreneurs are very innovative and are trying to address issues of seasonality through different season extension growing practices and methods such as row covers, high tunnel greenhouses, cold frames, hydroponics, canning, flash freezing, cold storage, root cellars and other value-added processes. Consumers and produce buyers can support local agriculture by understanding, demanding, purchasing and preparing what is in season.
The Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services has developed a seasonality calendar to help guide consumers to more locally-grown Virginia foods and farm products.
Again, farmers and food entrepreneurs are always exploring new ideas and ways to diversity and expand their market opportunities so the window of availability may actually be wider than you might think for some fruits and vegetables. As an example, one local farmer in the Shenandoah Valley grows fresh strawberries under a high tunnel greenhouse system and has berries available for sale into late October and early November.
There are also more cookbooks and recipes for preparing and cooking with fresh seasonal foods. Simply in Season is one example, but there are many other cookbooks to choose from and add to your bookshelf. Continue to explore local foods and venture to try an occasional rutabaga, ramp or radish in season.