Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Local Presents

I was talking over the summer to a journalist. I asked why he did not have a blog. He said that he did not think he could do the daily chatter, getting regular posts up thing. He said he feared lists making and the such. I was like, blog filler, lists, holiday presents, top tens, bring it on. No one can fill the Internets with filler like me. I live for the bullet point baby. And what "publication" worth its bytes these days has not published a list of holiday gifts. Only a few of these things below, have come via publicist, so if you want inclusion in next year's tally, start schmoozing me now.

Here's several very good gift ideas for the locavore in your family.

  • Nothing says "I'm with you" to a farmer like a little cash up front. Give the gift of fresh fruits and vegetables each week. Here's a good list of CSAs in the Chicago area. As I have written before, the benefits of a CSA exceed the mere delivery of food.

  • I'm not above paying over $20/lb for cheese, and I love feta cheese, but I've not had it in myself to pay the $20/lb for Hidden Springs Creamery feta. I'm a big fan of all of her cheeses, especially the fresh "Driftless" cheese, but I have not yet sprung for the feta. This is the kinda of over-top gesture that makes an ideal holiday present.

  • The chronocles in Kurt Friese's A Cook's Journey: Slow Food in the Heartland makes the best of holiday presents because it will lead to many finds and adventures as he highlights some of the Midwest's best food people and producers. You can read an excerpt here.

  • Some of the artisans featured in Friese's book are the bootleggers gone legit in Templeton, Iowa. Templeton Rye can be found in Chicago at area Binny's. Rye tastes a bit drier than bourbon, and this whiskey has an appealing smoothness.

  • Find more farmers and artisans by taking one of the Learn Great Foods tours.

  • Make your own farm tour, but combine it with a farm dinner at Prairie Fruits Farms.

  • Drive even further from Chicago to the most ideal place around, Washington Island. Stay at the Washington Hotel or at least have dinner there. Maybe you'll be able to do shots of Death's Door vodka with Martha Bayne.

  • Nothing says I love you to an eat local acolyte than the most essential purchase, a freezer.

  • Fill that freezer with a side of meat. Here's a list of farms in Illinois to get you started.

  • Can anyone in sun-drenched Cali call proscuitto local?

  • Be even more decadent with caviar.

  • It's not so much an eat local present, but it's a good food present nonetheless, à la card chicago is a deck of 52 discount cards for Chicago area restaurants. $30 gets you $10 off each of the places in the deck. With choices ranging from Hot Doug's to Mado to Manny's! as Natasha sez, "it almost ridiculous not to own one." Of course in Nasha's e-mail, she does not say how to get the cards. I got mine at the Family Farmed Expo.

  • There's no shortage of good eat local books. Michael's started a collection over at the Beet. I plan on adding to it soon.

May your holidays be a local holiday!

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