6. Visit Farms and Research Local CSA’s – CSA’s (community share agriculture) offer people the opportunity to take part in a farm’s boom and bust, while limiting the farm’s risk. Good seasons mean you’ll get fresh, organic food for cheaper than the stuff you could buy at a chain grocery store; even bad seasons offer a weekly shipment of good, healthy food. Find local farms that offer CSA’s on Local Harvest then take this opportunity to visit the farm, find out what food it grows, how much it costs and what the delivery options are (weekly, bi-monthly, etc). By spring time, you’ll be flush in farm-fresh food.
7. Preserve your food – Impressed with your Great Aunt’s pickled eggs that are oh-so-good in potato salads? Can’t imagine making your very own batch of pumpkin or apple butter? Canning and preserving isn’t just for August. Eggs can be pickled any time of the year. Squash, apples, pears and cranberries make wonderful preserves. Find books on preserving and pickling or research recipes online, then make it a family event or invite a group of friends over. Add in some rum-spiked eggnog to enjoy during your day-long preserving and you’ve got yourself a PARTAY (and some last minute gifts, besides)!
8. Snow Play! – If you live in the snow, perhaps you already take full advantage, or maybe you’ve come to take it for granted. But playing in the snow offers a full day of fun, for free: make snowmen, snow angels, cross-country ski, and toboggan. For those who don’t live in the snow, there’s still plenty of fun to be had: buy a block of ice, put a towel on the top, find a small hill and go ice cube-tobogganing! Alternately, you can turn a large piece of cardboard into a toboggan and slide down a muddy or wet hill. Be prepared to get dirty! (and be careful)
9. Learn to cook from scratch – How often will you have time to make homemade raviolis or pies? Take up a new hobby that will also provide great food! Raviolis aren’t terribly hard to make…they’re just time consuming. Use in-season ingredients (we recommend butternut squash and sage or pumpkin squash and walnuts). Because it’s time-consuming plan to gather friends/family for the day and make enough to freeze for many months to come. If you can do this three or four times a year, you’ll always have fresh, in-season raviolis and never buy from the store again! Similarly, you can make impressive in-season pies like apple, cranberry and pumpkin.
10. Make beer – If you’re a wine fan, you’ve missed the boat for this year (wine should be started in autumn) but you can certainly do your research and start gathering materials for making a barrel next year. But beer can be made anytime. And wouldn’t it be cool to bust out your homemade brewski when friends come over?