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.
Aged hard cheese ship well to friends and family members who are far away while softer cheeses make great hostess gifts.
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?
Related: Yummy Presents: 40 Homemade Gifts from The Kitchn
(Image: Flickr members See-Ming Lee, North Charleston, Jeff Kubina, and Lee-Anne Inglis licensed under Creative Commons)