Despite the cold and gloomy winter months, we are continuously working on extending our growing season so you can extend your eating season.

Posted on 31 January, 2019

Words and photos by Alyssa Mittiga, previously an intern at Farm of Ideas and the Relæ Community communications office.

Each year from September, the short-lived Danish summer days rapidly become even shorter. Blink, and before you know it, the first winter frost has encroached upon our Farm of Ideas, covering the field and sending many crops to sleep for the wintertime. Despite the snow, organic eaters don’t mourn the loss of your fresh local produce just yet. Find solace in the fact that many delicious, nutritious vegetables survive and thrive over the harsh Danish winter, growing in our fields just 60 minutes outside of Copenhagen.

Latitude and Temperature

Generally speaking, the greater your latitude, the cooler it is. Photosynthesis, like most chemical processes, advances faster in warmer temperatures, so plants have to adapt to reduced growth in colder climates.

In Denmark, the ideal growing season ceases in mid-October, not taking off again until mid-February. Unsurprisingly this correlates with decreasing temperatures, as the cold affects the plant’s metabolism by freezing its cells. This causes damage to plants by interrupting the flow of nutrients and water so for most plants, photosynthesis and respiration slow and their growth stops. Yes, this is the case for most; however, there are a number of frost tolerant crops that lay dormant, still alive in the field and want to start growing sooner, ready for us to harvest.

Parsley and other herbs

Grown and harvested in our greenhouse, herbs such as parsley are perfect to add flavour and bring colour, for fresh and warming winter meals.

Leeks

If you have ever escaped the freezing cold by bursting through our doors at Manfreds in late November, then you too would appreciate that there is nothing more satisfying then sitting down to a plate of fresh, warm and buttery leeks with a glass of natural red vino.

Tuscan and Portuguese Kale

Many believe that these kale varieties are at their best and sweetest after the first winter frost. They are perfectly sautéed with olive oil and lavished in grated pecorino.

Broccoli Spigarello

Perfect pan-fried and seasoned with olive oil, garlic and honey, these sweet leaves are full of Vitamin C, helping to keep you and your immune system healthy over winter.

Cabbage

Cabbage is the icon of winter stews, so seek extra comfort in that pot, knowing it thrives locally in our organic fields.

Despite the cold months during the wintertime, we are happy we can extend our growing season at our Farm of Ideas, with these delicious organic vegetables. The winter season for us is also about taking the time to rest and reflect whilst continuing to care of our animals. Now, we must get back to our crop planning for the upcoming season! Dreaming of sweet summer tomatoes already.