Celebrating winter vegetables and developing Oregon’s Winter Vegetable Market

Plant breeders and chefs collaborated in creating tasting dishes for the Variety Showcase in February in Portland. Photo by Shawn Linehan

NWREC hosted over 90 participants for the winter vegetable field day in February, bringing together farmers, breeders, seed company reps, researchers, wholesale distributors, and market managers.

Oregon’s mild winter climate is well suited to storage crops and over-wintered field vegetables for local and regional markets. However, there are currently few locally – grown winter vegetables in produce markets from January through April. Many European and Asian countries with similar climates have more robust local and regional winter produce markets that demonstrate the potential to increase this market in Oregon.

Growers, chefs, wholesale buyers, seed suppliers, and consumers are interested in developing robust winter vegetable production and marketing systems in Oregon and the Pacific Northwest. The Developing Oregon’s Winter Vegetable Market project aims to address this need.

OSU Extension Small Farms Program grew seven crops and 52 varieties for the winter vegetable project at the North Willamette Research and Extension Center (NWREC) in Aurora. Varieties were selected that have been shown to be high performing in yield, quality, winter hardiness, and storability, and have good market potential in past vegetable variety trial research projects.

The overarching goal of this project is to increase the production and consumption of locally-grown winter vegetables in Oregon, including eight crops: winter squash, celeriac, garlic, Brussels sprout, cabbage, cauliflower, purple sprouting broccoli and radicchio. Vegetables grown at the NWREC trials were used at three outreach events to connect farmers, seed growers, chefs, produce buyers and consumers in a fun and educational way.

Winter vegetable recipes, cooking, nutritional information, and more videos about the project can be found on the website.

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