Gifts: Food Gifts, Local & Far-Flung

‘Tis the season for fabulous food gifts from near & far! Small or large, fresh or preserved, local or luxuriously exotic, these are some of my favorite food items to give and receive. Check ’em out – you may just find the perfect gift for someone on your holiday list.  But act fast – Christmas is a week from Saturday (yikes!). Merry, merry!

  1. Tuthilltown Spirits Local wine is pretty easy to find in New York & Connecticut; local booze? Not so easy. Tuthilltown Spirits distills whiskey, bourbon, rye, rum and vodka, often with locally-sourced grains and ingredients. I’m keen to try the 100% Hudson Valley apple vodka myself.
  2. Hudson Valley Seed Library I love the idea of giving “future food” to an avid gardener or perhaps giving inspiration to a budding green thumb. Hudson Valley Seed Library gathers and curates local seeds from the Hudson Valley, and not only sells gift memberships for the holidays, but these wonderful Art Packs of seeds packed into a clever envelope printed with a local artist’s work. Makes a unique stocking stuffer!
  3. Stonybrook Squash Seed Oil I’ve had the butternut and the roasted pumpkin seed oil; both delicious, with a depth of flavor and color that will surprise you. Nutty & complex, similar to a peanut or sesame oil, but with much more going on. As I said on Twitterif peanut oil is grape juice, butternut oil is cabernet.” As cooking oil goes, these are a bit of a splurge ($12 or $14 for a 6-oz bottle) and as such make a perfect gift for a Northeast locavore or for anyone who enjoys gourmet food.

  4. Little Feet Coffee Single origin coffee imported from Honduras and roasted in California. Not so local you say? Ah, but Little Feet is coffee and then some: not only is the coffee delicious, with a unique flavor you’re unlikely to find elsewhere, but every purchase pays the coffee collective higher than Fair Trade prices, while providing the local childrens’ soccer team with balls & gear, uniforms, even a playing field! I give several bags of this coffee every year as gifts and it always earns rave reviews: Little Feet’s mission to improve the world through soccer is icing on the cake. Support a great cause and drink a great coffee: a true win-win. (Full disclosure: Little Feet was founded, and is run by, friends of mine, and I have and continue to donate time to the cause, both the non-profit Little Feet arm and the for-profit Little Feet Coffee Corp. Thus I can tell you with complete confidence that Little Feet is run by wonderful people, doing wonderful things: making the world a better place, one soccer ball, and one cup of coffee, at a time.)
  5. Local honey, maple syrup, preserves & baked goods. Your farmer’s market is a great place to go for stocking stuffers, last-minute party favors, host gifts. A Northeast locavore depends upon honey & maple syrup for sweetening many recipes, but any cook can appreciate real maple syrup, homemade, small-batch preserves or clover honey. Local winter markets include: Gossett Brother’s Farm Market, Holbrook Farm Market, Community Markets, Westchester County Center Indoor Market.  
  6. Wild Hive Farm Local flours & grains, baked goods made on site, and other locally sourced ingredients, including Cayuga Pure Organics beans.

  7. Flying Pigs Farm A package of sausage may seem a strange holiday gift, but it won’t once you’ve tasted them! Truly the best pork I’ve ever eaten, I’m lucky that Flying Pigs is (reasonably) local to me. Flying Pigs sell their pork at NYC’s Greenmarket and also online; you can get a gift certificate in any denomination for the sausage-lover on your list!
  8. Cayuga Pure Organics One of the few sources for local dried beans in the area, Cayuga has begun growing heirloom varieties that should be available soon. They also offer locally grown grains and have an online store. A wonderful gift for the devoted Northeast locavore.
  9. Clean Ridge Soap Company Clean Ridge Soap Company has its headquarters just down the road from us in Pound Ridge, NY. We use the soap and candles in our home and they are lovely; handmade of the finest ingredients with no artificial anything. The kind of gift you can give to the person who has everything.

  10. Sunchowder’s Empdoria & Confituras Among our own Can Jammers are at least two with their own companies selling handmade, artisinal preserves: Wendy at Sunchowder’s Empdoria in Florida and Steph (Cosmic Cowgirl) at Confituras in Texas. They both make some mouth-watering preserves that would grace any Christmas feast; check ’em out!
  11. Cranberry Hill Farm Fresh, frozen or dried organic Cape Cod cranberries. A seasonal treat in every sense of the word.
  12. Fresh Fruit. Local Harvest has links to farms offering all sorts of exotic wonders, from avocados and jackfruit to pomegranates and persimmons. Have a friend who loves to make jam, preserves, marmalade? Delight them with a box of fresh, exotic fruit; you’ll likely get a fabulous preserve in return!

For even more local gift ideas, check out locavore gift ideas from Alicia, the Natural Princess, on her Connecticut based-blog, Local Food Rocks. What are some of your favorite food gifts? Care to share your secrets? Shout ’em out below!

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4 comments

  1. There’s a great distillery within the blue zone of your map – Harvest Spirits in Valatie on Route 9. (http://www.harvestspirits.com/) They make vodka from apples, applejack and brandy from pears. It’s definitely pricey but I think it’s great that they’re using a fruit that grows in such abundance to make spirits instead of grain.

    Here in Boston I just had to stock up on produce when farmer’s market season was on and make jams and jellies during the summer. I make my own wine and am trying to use more local fruits for that (no grapes yet). We are lucky to have Taza Chocolate as a local company although I know they get their beans from south of the border. (They also do direct trade, so it’s nice to support both a local company and the farmers they source from.)

    • Hi Alyssa,

      Thanks for the info on Harvest Spirits – shall definitely check them out. Funny enough, a friend of mine from Boston tweeted me about Taza Chocolate today, in response to this post. Sounds like they are a great company!

      Thanks for the ideas,
      Kaela

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