5 Reasons Farmers’ Markets are Perfect for the Holidays

Everyone loves a holiday list.  So, here is my list of 5 reasons to visit your local farmers’ market drawn from my experience with our local (and most excellent) Cooperstown Farmers’ Market.  Now, many farmers’ markets close in the fall, but there are others across the state that don’t.  These “winter markets” may operate through the bleak midwinter and are hopping during the holidays. Their offerings of meats, cheeses, baked goods, and other local products can be a great way to check many things off your holiday list with one stop.

1. Gifts
Maple syrup is a great gift, especially for friends and family who don’t live in this neck of the woods and are used to seeing real maple syrup sold only in tiny containers for ludicrous prices.  Local wine and honey are other wonderful gifts.  The Cooperstown Farmers’ Market also has a number of non-consumable items, like pottery, glass, ironwork, woolen items, and candles, that are local, handmade, and perfect for one-of-a-kind gifting.

2. Decorations
I also really liked picking up a beautiful wreath for my front door from the market.  Poinsettias, fir boughs and ropes, and other signs of the season are also available.  There is something comforting about the smell of fresh pine and the knowledge that it was grown here.

3. Meat for Your Feast
Locally raised beef, poultry, pork, venison, lamb, and goat are a great opportunity to do something different for your holiday feasts.  I sampled a sun dried tomato lamb meatloaf that is a definite contender for New Year’s Day dinner.  A venison roast would make a roast beast that guests are sure to remember.

4. Appetizers & Desserts
There are so many wonderful cheeses that you are foolish not to plan on a local cheese plate as part of your holiday festivities.  I am particularly excited about an appetizer I am constructing around Painted Goat Farm’s chocolate goat cheese truffles.  The pies, pastries, cookies, and other sweet treats can make filling out your dessert plans simple if you have reached your baking limit at home.  Last visit we came home with some amazing tarts and chocolate brioche.  Needless to say, they didn’t make it to the holidays, but I may be back as they would be a great finisher for our Christmas brunch.

5. Stocking Stuffers
Small, unique, and local treats are one of my favorite stocking stuffers, especially for my family from outside New York.  I am particularly fond of food items because you can give them year after year and be pretty sure that they will not go to waste.  Jams, honey, sauces, maple candy, and, of course, chocolate all come in stocking-sized portions.  I am going to have to sneak over to the market this Saturday to get chocolates for the boys’ stockings.  They usually go with me, so I know what they have had their eyes on but I couldn’t buy it with them in tow.  Handmade peanut butter cups and chocolate covered pretzels will make it into the adults’ stockings as well.

Find your local market and check it out.  If you are coming to Cooperstown, know that Main Street has many great local shops to offer (and they aren’t all about baseball).  After the market, folks shopping for unique local gifts should make sure they get to Savor New York at 171 Main Street to sample even more great state and regional food options.

About the Author
Devin Morgan is Co-founder and Of Counsel to Knull Group (www.eatdrinklaw.com), a firm for food-obsessed business and intellectual property lawyers in Cooperstown, NY.  He is focused on the growth of the craft food and beverage industry in New York State and is the primary author of the Eat. Drink. Law. blog.  Click here to receive a free report from Devin on growing a distinctive food or beverage business.  He is also a big fan of the Cooperstown Farmers’ Market.