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Gifts of Local Food

Tasteful gifts that support our local food system.

This holiday season, celebrate local foods in a big way. Shop for food at our local farms (you can find anything from roasts to vegetables to desserts), and get gifts that will make your locavore happy. Here are some suggestions:

Give a CSA “Share”

This gift will be cherished every week! CSA‘s offer all kinds of shares and arrangements suitable for many lifestyles.  Contact local CSA’s such as Cherry grove Organic Farm or Griggstown Farm for more details.

For The Edible Garden:

Gardeners will be thrilled to receive a gift certificate for unique food plants from Pitspone Farm. The Kendall Park farm has been a well-kept secret, known only to local chefs. Now is the time for the rest of the world to hear about it. It  specializes in small fruits and berries and carries a number of hard to find varieties. Many of the plants are also excellent ornamental plants and can therefore be used in an edible landscape. All the plants are established plants that in most cases will fruit the same year they are planted.
The farm offers gift certificates for $18 with a value of $20 – 10 percent discount. They will print a gift certificate upon request.
View Pitspone Farm’s Catalog of plants.

And what’s a garden without a compost bin?
A great , from our friends at the unstoppable East Brunswick Environmental Commission: get your loved ones all they need to compost their kitchen and garden scraps.
If  you need some free advice about composting, you can find it at the Rutgers Extension Master Gardener Center or contact composting expert  Dhara Mehta at dhara.compost@gmail.com. Dhara is a West Windsor Girls Scout working on her gold award project, which is composting.

For the Novice Cook:
Whether your loved ones get that CSA box or vegetables from the garden, they need to know what to do with it. If they need some help in the kitchen, get them the gift of kitchen know-how.

Chef Anne-Renee Rice-Soumeillant received her training in Provence—where perfect veggies take  center stage. She offers all kinds of programs, such as cocktails and chef demos in the client’s home, private cooking classes and chef consultation.
She also offers really cool “kits.”You can buy a  ”theme” basket that contains everything one needs to throw a cooking party: recipes, ingredients, station cards (describing what preparation needs to be done at each station), etc. You can contact Anne-Renee for more details.

Chef Michelle Fuerst was trained at the source – the legendary Chez Panisse, where the Farm to Table movement started. Chef Michelle offers a three hour in-home cooking class for one or two people for $150. Price includes menu consultation and recipes, but not groceries. For more details, please visit her web site.

For those who are interested in the connection between their food and their health, Judith Robinson offers workshops that connect the health of our food with the health of our environment. Judith, who is  the market manager of the Princeton’s Farmers Market, gives workshops teaching new habits of eating and cooking which are simple and enjoyable. Connect with Judith for more information.

For the Conscious Epicure:
Support our local farmers by supporting restaurants that support them. Get a gift certificate for a restaurant that sources  from local farms. Zone 7, which connects farms and restaurants has the list. By the same token, buy gifts from food artisans who support local farms. You can also purchase a gift basket filled with local delicacies from Terra Momo Restaurant Group. And when you’re invited for a dinner party, get one of those fabulous cheese platters from Cherry Grove Farm. 

For the Bookish Locavore:

Farm Markets of Central New Jersey is a great book for anyone intereted in local food. All proceeds from the $10 book are going to Farmers Against Hunger a group that distributes donated produce from New Jersey farmers to hunger relief organizations around the state. If you'd like to purchase the book, please email kimberly Rizk at farmmarketscnj@gmail.com.

Logical Miracles is a collection of  stories by people in  “The Suppers Programs”  who found their personal solution through experimenting with whole foods.  At Suppers, health isn’t gained only by eating  good food, but also by the very act of preparing and sharing it with non-judgmental friends. Dor Mullen, Suppers’ creator, edited this very inspiring book.

West Windsor Community Farmers market inspired not only cooks but also two books.
One is a collective cookbook, edited by Mireille Delman and Theresa Best, What our Friends Like to Eat.
The other,  One True Thing About Farming by Bonnie Blader is an oral history of the farmers who participate in the market. We’d say, get them both.

For Coffee Lovers :
At Small World, Central Jersey’s coolest coffee shop, the coffee is roasted and delivered daily, as a gift. So if your loved ones live in Jersey, they will get it the next day. Not only is it much fresher than store-bought coffee, you will also save the mileage. Those of you who’ve been to the store are familiar with the passionate staff and the super-high standards, and you can rest assure that your coffee beans are sourced in a sustainable and fair way.

For the Spiritual Cook:
If you love Local and INDIAN food, this one is for you. Pure Indian Foods’ Ghee Sampler is made from pastured cows’ milk and has almost a magical power. It upgrades every dish it adorns and will have your guests wondering what’s your  secret ingredient. As a bonus, according to the ancient Indian healing system Ayurveda, it also helps in restoring health…

Gifts that go a long way:
Margaret Mead once said  “Never underestimate the power of a small group of committed people to change the world.  In fact, it is the only thing that ever has.” We’re amazed by the passion and dedication of those individuals who work tirelessly to make our world a better place. We chose some who use food as their lever.

Elijah’s Promise
One of the most amazing organizations in our area, that not only supports community members in need but also local farmers!

The Bread House Network
Is a global network of centers for social entrepreneurship, creativity, and community-building that is centered around the communal making of bread. It is headed by  Nadezhda Savova, a local graduate student. To make a donation, please contact Nadezhda.

The Farm to School Network
It’s not a secret that the food in local schools cafeterias does very little in way of nourishing our children. The Farm to School Network is an organization dedicated to connecting schools with local farms and improving  the food in our schools. To make a donation, you can send a check made out to “NJ Farm to School Network” to:
New Jersey Farm to School Network
425 Greenwood Ave
Trenton, N.J. 08609

Cards that Say More:
And as for cards, If your kids are not holding a card fundraiser this year, you can still use your cards money for a good cause. Purchase your cards from the ArtSpace in Lambertville. The cards were designed by women who have been touched by poverty, homelessness or abuse. The proceeds benefit HomeFront, a non-profit agency that helps local impoverished families get back on their feet. You can see the beautiful designs here  and  to place an order, contact Laura Graziano at LauraG@homefrontnj.org or call her 609-883-7500, ext. 382.

Originally posted at princetoneats.org

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Robin Birkel December 13, 2011 at 07:59 PM
Very nice list Nirit. The funny thing is, I'm writing a post and just discovered Chef Renee a few hours ago. I love this unique compilation of ideas. VERY refreshing!
Nirit Yadin December 13, 2011 at 09:06 PM
Hi Robin, it's a small world... Please say hi to Anne Renee for me. She's a wonderful cook and a great gal....

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