You want to support Washington farms and artisans this holiday season; but aside from a trip to the farmers market every now and then, you’re not quite sure how to best connect with local producers.
Enter the Holiday Food and Farm Finder on "Eat Local First," a detailed and comprehensive list of local producers throughout Washington. Use this guide to source ingredients for special holiday meals, unique and thoughtful gifts, and stunning holiday decor, all while supporting small farms and businesses this holiday season.
Why Shop Local?
Director of Outreach for Tilth Alliance Sheryl Wiser says, "You’re more likely to find some unique gift ideas from local growers/producers/makers than you will in a larger retail store."
You may also have the opportunity to meet and connect with the people behind the products.
A vendor in the Eat Local First guide, Aditi Master of Aditi Chai, says: "Our stories and experiences make us who we are today [...] so when you buy these products, you also bring a little bit of [our] stories and culture with you home to share with family and friends."
Shopping locally is not just a way to bring unique products into your holiday celebrations, it directly supports your neighbors. Wiser notes that for small businesses, "End-of-year sales impact the following year and also gives [small farms and businesses] an opportunity to make up for shortfalls/challenges that might have happened throughout the year [...] A strong season will give them a strong start in the new year."
Shopping at local farms and businesses is so much more than buying items - it strengthens your local community.
How Eat Local First Works
With a comprehensive compilation of local producers from around Washington state, Eat Local First aims to make supporting local farms and producers as easy as possible. There is so much to explore on ELF - you can search for Community Supported Agriculture, local farm stands, restaurants, online shops and more.
And the Holiday Food and Farm Finder offers additional resources, such as ideas for meal planning and gift giving, diverse small businesses to support, a list of winter markets and even a holiday giveaway!
Making the most of Eat Local First
With a little planning, your holidays can be filled with locally-sourced products. Jennifer Antos, Executive Director of Seattle Neighborhood Farmers Markets, encourages people to give themselves a bit of time to plan and prepare. Small businesses may take more time to ship you their product, or they may only sell in-person at markets or their own retail space. Consider making lists of meal plans and gift ideas in advance, as well as making a day of visiting farms. With a little planning, holiday shopping can become so much more than running to the mall or grocery store the night before an event.
Also, consider giving perishable items as gifts. Antos notes that, with rising grocery prices, as well as an increased interest in cooking, a basket of groceries could make an excellent gift. You could make it a theme, such as a quiche basket, and include eggs, cheese, and fresh veggies from the market. The Seattle Farmers Market Gift Guide has some other creative ideas for themed gifts.
Check out the abundant flavors and creativity that our beautiful and bountiful region has to offer, and make this holiday season about so much more than mindless consumption. Support your local community this season, and always!