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.
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