Visiting the farmer's market

By Ben H

Hello from the Farm & Garden group!

Recently, we started talking about the seasons and the effects they have on what we are able to grow. We felt that we did not really know what can be grown in Buffalo during our brief growing season, from May to September. So, we decided to find some answers by going on a couple field trips to find out what produce is available in Buffalo during the fall.

During the past two months, we went to three farmers markets near our office. We went to the markets to gauge the quantity, quality and variety of the produce available, as well as to meet local farmers to learn about their businesses and what they grow. We found that storage crops made up a large portion of the available fresh produce in the fall. Crops including potatoes, celeriac, and turnips crowded the tables of all the produce vendors. This left very little space for what few tomatoes, grapes, eggplants and other seasonal crops that were left.

Seasonal crops are any crops which can only be grown during a certain time of the year. Crops can be seasonal because they grow the best at certain temperature and moisture levels, or because they may not be able to tolerate heat or cold well.

Storage crops on the other hand, are crops harvested late in the growing season because they can be saved for a very long time. A lot of crops that grow underground like potatoes, carrots, and radishes tend to be classified as storage crops because they are very hardy.

Now that we have an idea of what crops are in season during the fall, we want to know what crops are in season in the spring and early summer. To find out, we are planning more field trips to others farmers markets in the future. Only this time, our trips to the markets will be during the spring when the early harvest crops are being harvested. I think that when we go to the farmers market, we will find things like baby garlic, baby carrots, and small berries. I expect that we will find an abundance of leafy greens like kale and lettuce as well.

Ben is a high school senior involved in urban agriculture projects to improve Buffalo's food system.

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