Stumped for last-minute holidays gifts? Not ready to cave into convenience store knick-knacks? Looking for a touch of local pride wrapped beneath the holiday tree? Lucky for you, Massachusetts agriculture has several options for those looking to delight friends, family and coworkers. We’re encouraging everyone to give locally produced gifts from farms across the Commonwealth this holiday season. A wide variety of products are offered by Massachusetts farmers, craftsmen and artisans.
Buying local all season long connects families to the Commonwealth’s diverse growers and food producers. Using DAR’s MassGrown comprehensive map, shoppers can find Massachusetts farms offering farm-raised turkeys and seasonal treats, wineries with wide selections, and nurseries with wreaths, poinsettias and holly for seasonal decor. DAR’s Local Holiday Food Buying Guide offers other holiday food and gift ideas. Check out the Massachusetts Specialty Foods Association site for unique products available this season.
You should also consider the 2014 Massachusetts Agriculture Calendar, featuring photos illustrating Bay State farming. All photos were taken by amateur photographers who won the annual Massachusetts Agriculture Calendar Photo Contest. Proceeds from the $10 calendars benefit Massachusetts Agriculture in the Classroom, a non-profit organization that works with teachers to develop classroom materials. The calendar features a winning photograph each month, as well as interesting facts about local agriculture.
Many communities organize holiday farmers’ markets that offer a variety of locally grown, produced and prepared food from farmers and food producers. These markets not only offer fresh fruits and vegetables, wine, cheese, meat, poultry, baked goods and preserves; you can also find handcrafted gifts and holiday decorations made by local artisans.
There are nearly 40 winter markets operating across Massachusetts this season. Farmstead cheese, fish, honey, maple products, apple cider, and a wide array of locally made specialty foods such as baked goods, jams and sauces are available at the markets, as well as fresh produce. Many winter farmers’ markets are located indoors for the comfort of both shoppers and vendors and can be found at DAR’s MassGrown website. Some are running weekly, while others are open bi-weekly or monthly, and most run through early spring.
No matter what holidays you celebrate or how many decorations you deck the house with, you can always find that perfect seasonal gift at a farm, farmers’ market, greenhouse, winery, or any other purveyor of locally grown and produced goods.
Tags: #buylocal, agriculture, buy local, cheese, DAR, DAR MassGrown, Department of Agricultural Resources, education, farmers, farmers markets, fruit, gifts, greenhouse, holiday, holiday season, holidays, MassGrown, MDAR, presents, support local agriculture, sustainability, vegetables, wine, winery, winter markets
2015 DAR Agricultural Calendar: March posted on Apr 23
Girard’s Sugarhouse in Simsbury, CT. The sugarhouse was built in 1887 and produces around 250-300 gallons of syrup annually. Photo by Michael Girard March’s contest winner was Michael Girard who photographed his family’s sugarhouse in Health. Michael Girard has been a sugarmaker since 1961 when he …Continue Reading 2015 DAR Agricultural Calendar: March
2015 DAR Agricultural Calendar: February posted on Feb 25
February’s contest winner was Amanda Bettle, who photographed sheep at The Natural Resources Trust of Easton. This photo features Dog, a former 4-H show animal and sole male sheep among the nine ewes in the Natural Resources Trust of Easton (NRT) flock. It is the mission …Continue Reading 2015 DAR Agricultural Calendar: February
2015 DAR Agricultural Calendar: January posted on Jan 26
January’s contest winner was Renee Finnegan, who photographed a pensive Highland cow at Oak Meadows Farm & Garden in Rutland. Glenn and Mary Kauppila have been farming 100 acres of land in Rutland for approximately 15 years. With the help of their three adult children, they …Continue Reading 2015 DAR Agricultural Calendar: January