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  • Randy Garcia Hernandez

Shopping During Winter

During winter, we can find ourselves staying inside more and eating more filling and warm foods like pasta, soup, and rice. While our farmer's markets take a break, it can be difficult to find fresh produce during this time of year, but even in the cold, vegetables are grown in Union County of all different sorts. Different seasons call for differing foods. In this blog, I will be informing you about which foods will be readily available to you this season because winter is coming.

Winter Crops

As stated before, winter can be a troublesome time for those of us here in Union County. However, this does not mean that delicious foods are impossible to make or find. There are many combinations of foods which can include soups and salads using the following crops: apples, beets, bok choy, cabbage, carrots, collards, kale, peanuts, pecans, spinach, sweet potatoes, and turnips. You might also find winter squash varieties that can can be kept for a long time under the right conditions. If you're a budding or advance home gardener, consider learning about the hardening process for storing winter squash.

A few meals that can come from these foods include cabbage roll casserole, rosemary sweet potato fries, beets apple salad, and sweet potato pancakes. You can see NC State's resource for winter crops here. If you're near a year-round farmer's market, you might be able to find these crops there. If not, you might have to visit your grocery store to find these.

What is Food Insecurity?

To understand the concept of food insecurity is, it is necessary to know what food security is. Food security is essentially a measure of how much food is available to an individual and how accessible it is. In other words, if people have access to healthy and affordable food daily, they could be considered food secure. On the other hand, however, someone who is food insecure does not have these luxuries.

Is Food Insecurity a Problem?

Food insecurity and hunger are significant problems in the United States. Millions of Americans are experiencing some level of food insecurity and cannot receive access to the necessary programs that could otherwise assist with their specific needs. Around the United States, millions of people work full-time jobs for the entire year and still find themselves struggling to come up with the necessary funds for everyday necessities. This struggle would cause low-income citizens to experience hardships. It would also affect their loved ones: children, spouse, siblings, or anyone living within their household.

The statements above also hold for those who live in Union County. 11% of the population in Union County is food insecure, meaning that over 26,000 in Union County do not have reliable access to sufficient amounts of nutritious and affordable food.



Listed below are a couple of organizations that are willing to help with the food insecurity within Union County.

"Open Arms" - Open Arms community outreach is a harvest and feeding America agency in Union County, North Carolina. It is located at 4603 Lancaster Hwy in Monroe, NC, 28112 and is open on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays from 10:00 am - 12:00 pm.

“Loaves and Fishes of Union County, Inc” - Loaves and fishes if Union County is a non-profit, volunteer-based community food pantry program that exists to support local families in crisis. It is located at 16 S Church St. in Monroe, NC, 28112 and is open on Wednesdays and Saturdays from 10:00 am - 12:00 pm.


Health Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this writing are those of the individual author and do not necessarily reflect the views or positions of the Food Council of Union County. We are grateful for these articles and research done by the Wingate University GPS 220 students. Although these students researched their topics, they are not medical providers. Any health information presented is for educational purposes only and does not substitute professional health or medical advice.

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