Some of the fresh local produce in Philly Foodworks' winter subscription boxes

Note: This article is a paid placement and does not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of Billy Penn at WHYY.

When you think about eating local, you might imagine a farmer’s market table overflowing with sun-warmed tomatoes and piled high with pyramids of leafy kale and chard. But summer and fall aren’t the only times you can (and should!) seek out locally grown fruits and vegetables.

Philly Foodworks has made it a mission to keep farmers in the region harvesting all year long — a win-win for producers and customers alike.

Why buy local produce in winter?

Nourish your body

As soon as fresh fruits and vegetables are harvested, their nutritional content begins to degrade. In other words, the longer a vegetable or piece of fruit travels from the field to your kitchen, the fewer nutrients it will contain.

So, especially in the colder months when flu season is upon us, eating locally grown produce ensures your body gets the most immune system support. (Perhaps it’s not an accident that beets and sweet potatoes contain high levels of antioxidants, vitamins, and other good stuff that can help fight off cold-weather illnesses.)

Try new things

Sweet potatoes with creamy white and dark grape-colored flesh. Vivid golden-orange “Badger Flame” beets. Winter squashes like koginut and tetsukabuto, which can be used for both baking and savory recipes. Mushrooms of all shapes and sizes, from fluffy lion’s mane to coral-like maitake and clustered gray, gold, and blue oyster. Twenty-one different types of microgreens, ranging from sweet pea to spicy wasabi mustard.

These are just some of the wild produce items you can find when you shop local through Philly Foodworks this winter.

Sign up for a regular PFW produce subscription, and each box that arrives will challenge your cooking know-how with unique fruits and veggies, show you what’s in season in our region, and help you and your family experience a whole new world of fresh ingredients.

Credit: Courtesy Philly Foodworks

Support farmers when they need it most

You don’t become a farmer to get rich. Typically, small farms think of themselves as seasonal businesses. They rely on income from summer and fall harvests to sustain them for the year, and many farmers are forced to take on other work during the cold “off-season” months to keep their businesses (and finances) afloat.

To combat this issue, Philly Foodworks has helped finance heated greenhouses for family-owned farms in the network, which extends their growing season through the winter. The company also guarantees purchases of specific crops well in advance, so farmers can project their earnings and plan accordingly.

Want to learn more about Philly Foodworks? Check out the background story and mission, and browse the online market here.

Oh, and if you sign up before the end of March and your first produce subscription is FREE!* To make that happen, when signing up add any of the produce subscriptions and apply coupon code BILLYPENN22 — that’s it!

*Offer is for new customers only. Up to $50 savings and free home delivery. Offer expires 3/31/22.