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Minnesota farmers continue selling produce in the winter

ROCHESTER — Some farmers in Minnesota are using a combination of greenhouses and storage of late-season vegetables to continue the usual summer and fall farmers markets through the winter months.

Farmers are supplying root vegetables, fresh tomatoes and a range of leafy greens to markets in Rochester, Winona and Minneapolis, the Post Bulletin reported.

Laurie and Mark Timm own Fairview Farm, a vegetable farm about 8 miles east of Plainview. The Timms currently aren’t growing anything, but they still have a variety of fresh vegetables to sell.

“We have carrots, onions, parsnips, beets, squash,” Laurie Timm said, listing off items that were harvested in late November and early December. “We have 25 varieties of potatoes.”

The couple plans to begin planting in their greenhouses early next year.

“We go less than two months without anything growing,” Laurie Timm said. “We just need a break.”

The Timms sell most of their crops during the winter to farmers markets, restaurants and schools, Laurie Timm said. Keeping fresh produce in stock is helpful during what’s typically the slow season for most farmers, she said.

“The bills don’t stop just because it’s winter,” she said.

Greenhouses can stay warm in the winter as long as there’s sun because snow works as an insulator, according to Pam Benike, who owns Prairie Hollow Farms.

“The more snow, the better,” Benike said. “The snow piles around the sides of the greenhouse, and that keeps it warm in here.”

Benike said community-supported agriculture members get first pick of her winter produce. She then takes most of her crops to farmers markets. Anything that’s leftover is taken to restaurants and schools, she said.