Gift giving during the holiday season can be a wonderful thing. It can be even more wonderful when what you give is not only appreciated by the recipient, but also supports a local farm business.
It is a well-established fact that money spent at local farm businesses has a huge multiplier effect. Instead of your money leaving the area to support a large business and employment elsewhere, the local producer you pay, will, in all probability spend the money right here to employ people, buy supplies, make more community investments, and pay local taxes. It is a win win situation for everyone involved.
So, now you may be asking yourself what exactly are your options for locally produced gifts? Many times, an unconventional, “think outside the box” gift can be the best gift, so let’s think outside the box.
Everyone needs to eat and giving someone high quality, tasteful, locally produced meat can be a great gift. Although, this a gift that people don’t generally think of, it is one that many will truly appreciate. In this area, there is a year around abundance of locally produced meat available for purchase including chicken, beef, pork, lamb and turkey.
This may take some planning as well as possibly shopping at more than farm, but mix and match and put together some packages for family members or friends, and for goodness sake, don’t forget the beef sticks and jerky! Other great, locally produced gift ideas include: honey, maple syrup and maple products, cheese, beeswax candles, soap, herb mixes, wine, beer, wool blankets made from local wool (whether it be sheep or alpaca), fruit, eggs, jams and jellies, a share to a CSA, or a gift certificates to a local greenhouse. The list goes on.
In this area we are fortunate to have an abundance of locally produced agricultural goods. Like most other things that are “just always there” it is easy to take this for granted. So, this year, during the holiday season (and throughout the coming new year), support our local farms, and support our local businesses and while you are doing it, bring your children along and make them aware of how important this is.
If you would like to give gifts such as the ones listed and you are having trouble finding a local farmer who has what you are looking for feel free to call or email me at Cornell Cooperative Extension at (518) 483-7403 or [email protected] and I will point you in the right direction.
Photo of Allison Jack, New World Agriculture and Ecology Group at Cornell (provided).