For much of the year, I have to limit my special purchases at the farmers' market to a jar of honey here and a bag of local nuts there. But this time of year, I go wild. I love giving locally-made foods to friends and family for the holidays. Not only does it support my favorite farmers and artisan producers, but I get to share a little piece of my corner of the globe with people who live far away.
• Cheese: Aged hard cheese ship well to friends and family members who are far away while softer cheeses make great hostess gifts.
• Honey: Look for rare and unexpected kinds of honey, like wild sage honey, lavender honey, and raspberry honey. Honey sticks also make fun stocking stuffers!
• Specialty Nuts: I've seen everything from applewood smoked almonds to vanilla-bourbon walnuts at my local market — a real treat for nut-loving foodies.
• Jams and Chutneys: Look for jams and chutneys made with fruits you can only find locally (like olallieberries or quince) for a doubly-local gift.
• Olive Oils and Vinegars: I love giving bottles of fresh olive oil and tart vinegar as gifts because it feels so unexpected. These aren't cheap, but that's part of what makes them a special treat.
Even if your farmers' markets have already closed down for the season, look for these kinds of locally-made gifts at natural food markets, co-ops, and winter markets.
What other gifts do you find at the farmers market?