Buy Local for the Holidays!

As you eat, drink, and celebrate your way through the winter holidays, we encourage you to think local for your gifts, holiday decorations, and feasts. Local farmers and artisans are producing all sorts of tantalizing, delicious, cozy, and beautiful items for your loved ones and for your own table. CISA has looked to our 438 Local Hero farms, food producers, retailers, and other members for inspiration.

Give Food!

Prepared foods: Share the season’s harvest through the winter by gifting savory and sweet preserves, dips, mustards, pesto, salad dressing, salsa, relish, sauces, apple butter, honey, maple products, pickles, smoked meats and more. Many farmers and specialty producers make prepared foods that use local ingredients. You can also find local baked goods, or dry goods like local popcorn. Old Friends Farm makes and sells a plethora of specialty products such as ginger syrup, turmeric honey, spice blends, and teas. Full Moon Ghee and Sweet Birch Herbals are offering holiday gift boxes for sale either online or at the Winter Market in Northampton.

Cheese: Yes, cheese gets its own category! We’ve got local farms creating beautiful, delicious cheeses that make great gifts, especially with a loaf of local bread or a bottle of local spirits.

Farm Shares and Gift Cards:

Several farms sell gift certificates good for purchases at farmstands or farmers’ markets, including Atlas Farm, Old Friends Farm, The Kitchen Garden, Blossoming Acres, Diemand Farm, Outlook Farm, North Hadley Sugar Shack, Red Fire Farm, Enterprise Farm, Upinngil Farm and more. Farmers’ market tokens and market merchandise like shopping bags are a great way to offer your giftee the opportunity to purchase from farms they like and choose items they want most.

You can also give a farm share from a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) farm, which provides your giftee with a weekly share of produce, eggs, flowers, meat, or other farm products during the growing season.

Crafts and Body Products

Fiber: Local fiber farmers offer scarves, hats, mittens and other cozy gifts made from local fiber, and beautiful yarn and fleece for the knitters and crafters in your life. Little Brook Farm in Sunderland sells lap blankets of many colors made from the wool of their sheep.  They also sell wool and yarn, along with meats such as pork, lamb chicken and turkey, or gift certificates if you can’t decide.

Crafts and Candles: Candles made from local beeswax, and fun, decorative crafts like gourd birdhouses to light up your loved ones’ homes.

Body products: Look for local health and beauty items, such as lip balms made with local beeswax, handmade soap, and lotions, for all-natural body care.

Wood products: Consider wooden bowls, cutting boards, and other wood products made from local wood.

Entertaining and Host Gifts

Local drinks: This one is a no-brainer. Show up with a bottle of local mead, wine, or hard cider!

Sweets: Look for local chocolates for an easy and welcome host gift.

Potluck offerings: Get a lovely piece of gourmet cheese and a loaf of local artisan bread, or bring an assortment of fresh apples and pears for a beautiful winter fruit bowl.

For your own table: Don’t forget to set your own holiday table with food from the local farm. Valley farmers offer great selections of sustainably raised meats and poultry, salad and braising greens, all kinds of root vegetables (including potatoes, carrots, parsnips, turnips, celeriac, onions and more), winter squash, eggs and dairy, apples, pears, and other seasonal products all winter long. Our online guide can help you find food all year round.

Non-Tangible Gifts

Non-tangible gifts from local farms are a great idea. Summertime farm tours and petting zoos, and cross-country skiing in the winter offer opportunities to explore local farms firsthand. Give the gift of discovery and time together and invite your friends and family to explore with you!

Donating to a good cause is a thoughtful gift for anyone who supports local farms, but doesn’t want more “stuff.” Donating to CISA is one great option (or, we offer a “stuff” option too: CISA t-shirts, baby onesies, and more).

Holiday Decorations

This time of year, many people are decorating their homes with wreaths, swag, and Christmas trees. Evergreens from local farms are as fresh as they can be, and they were grown by people who are stewarding land in our region.

CISA’s tips for finding local

Research: Our online guide offers a wealth of information about hundreds of Local Hero businesses throughout our region.

Read labels: Look for the Local Hero logo when making your local food and farm product purchases.

Stay committed: Sometimes you have to dig a bit to find them, but many of the local foods we eat can be found locally. Just ask your grocery store produce manager where the local products are, and let them know you want them as an option.

Spread the wealth: Try serving locally sourced, in-season foodstuffs at your office party, or ordering menu items with farm-fresh ingredients at restaurants.