As the holiday season approaches Maryland’s farms offer a ‘home-grown’ alternative to the malls and stores. As you are busy getting ready, don’t forget to extend the gratitude and the bounty of the holiday season to local farmers. Creative gift giving takes many forms, but choosing items grown and created locally also gives a gift back to the community. Why not shop at a local farm or farm store for gifts, holiday meals, and festive gatherings? Not only will you eat flavorful meals and give unique gifts, but it also regenerates dollars back into our local economy and helps keep Maryland’s farmland scenic and beautiful. And as Greg Bowen has said on this blog before, “many shoppers, despite this modern era of technology and internet sales, are looking for special gifts and family purchases that will promote family ties, honor local culture, and reflect the reason for the season. They can find lots of options in local stores, shops, and farms in the region.”
SMADC’s 2015 Farms for the Holidays Guide is now available. The guide highlights farms and farm stores that offer a surprising array of locally grown products and services this time of year. View and share the online guide, here. And for a list of places you can find hard copies of the guide, click here. Buying local around the state? The Maryland’s Best website has a helpful search feature to help you find local fare, such as the turkey and Christmas tree farms nearest you.
Also, the holidays are a time where we find ourselves gathering around with loved ones to enjoy food. If you will be dining out, consider taking the family to eat at restaurant that source from Maryland farms. SMADC put together a list a list earlier this year, of those were sourcing from Maryland farms. Take a look, here. Gift cards to these places also make great stocking stuffers.
If you are a farm or farm store that is not on the list, and interested in the Farms for the Holidays mini-guide or you regularly supply a restaurant that is not on the Farm-to-Table Listing, contact Susan McQuilkin, SMADC, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Consider taking your own twist to the Buy Local Challenge! Susan put together the “Buy Local for the Holidays” campaign:
- Meats, Seafood and Dairy products
Create a holiday feast the whole family will love with farm fresh eggs, locally caught fish and oysters and flavorful farm raised meats for your festive table. Farm meats are easier to buy than ever before.
- Trees and Trimmings
Deck your halls with the natural beauty and fragrance of locally grown trees and festive greenery. Escape the holiday crowds and take a trip to one of the area’s Christmas tree farms, you’re sure to find the perfect tree and an array of fresh cut trimmings.
- Activities and Events
Many farms host fun family events and workshops, including ‘how to’ classes for wreathes and table-top decorations, winter hayrides, live ‘nativity’ performances, Christmas open houses featuring live music and ‘Visits with Santa’.
If you are cooking over the holidays, consider purchasing you’re meal from one of the local shops listed in the Holiday guide or the Farm-to-Table Listing. I didn’t realize what has become available locally in the fall until recently. This year, we cooked a traditional Thanksgiving meal for 15 people, and found that it has become possible again to source the entire traditional Thanksgiving meal, (not just the turkey and a few root vegetables like we’d been doing) from our wonderful regional farms. Marylanders’ have a bounty of diversified regional farms to be thankful for.
As markets close for the winter, I enjoyed seeing farmers buy from fellow farmers (or trade) for their holiday meals, signifying, we’re all in this together. Happy Thanksgiving!