Local Holiday Gift Guide 2013

If you’re the last-minute type, don’t fret. This year, we’ve got you covered with nine local gifts ideas for the food enthusiast in your life.

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Facebook / Murray’s Cheese

At December’s halfway point, you may find yourself thinking, “How the hell am I going to round up 20 gifts in the few precious lunch breaks I have left?” If you’re the last-minute type, don’t fret, because this year, we’ve got you covered.

Below, find nine local gift ideas for the food enthusiast in your life (if you’re the food enthusiast in your life, forwarding this list to loved ones is always a viable option…). We’ve categorized them by “food” “fun” and “for the person who has everything,” so you can peruse accordingly. Here’s to a holiday season filled with sugar, spice, and – of course – bacon.
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Food

Murray’s Cheese of the Month Club
Murray’s has so many choices! For your goat-devoted friend, you can build your own gift basket. For a co-worker’s secret Santa, this “for a Gouda time, call…” shirt will do the trick. But our number one pick this year is the fromage that keeps on giving – a cheese of the month club, in 4, 6 or 12-month increments. Read our profile of Manhattan’s mecca of cheese here.

Koppers’ Christmas Chocolates
Nothing screams holidays like sugarcoated sweets. This time of year, Koppers covers everything from marshmallows to lentils in bright-green and red coatings. If you’re looking for something of a subtler shade, their dark-chocolate-covered eggnog cordials are ridiculous. Koppers only sells wholesale, but you can find their goodies at Economy Candy, one of the happiest places on Earth. Read our profile of the third-generation chocolatiers here.

Roni-Sue’s “Pig Out Package”
The perfect accompaniment to Christmas ham is Christmas bacon. For dessert. Rhonda Kave, the mastermind behind Roni-Sue’s Chocolates, debuted her chocolate-covered fried bacon creations in 2008. Her Pig Out package, which combines all four of her bacon-centric treats, is the perfect gift for your favorite pork lover. Read our story about Roni-Sue’s here.

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Fun

Cheesemaking Class at Valley Shepherd Creamery
Valley Shepherd Creamery, located in Hunterdon County, New Jersey, offers the coolest cheesemaking class around. The class includes a private tour of the creamery, a tasting of their sheep and cow’s milk cheeses, a luncheon, and your very own handmade cheese wheel that will age for 90 days in their cave. Purchase a class and peruse their tasty offerings here.

Cooking Class at Haven’s Kitchen
Whether you’re shopping for a French gourmand, an aspiring mixologist, or a Southern belle, Haven’s Kitchen has a class for you. Watch a video about Haven’s Kitchen’s sustainable approach and read more about their classes here.

A Katz’s Goodie Bag
When done right, a book can be a meaningful, timeless gift. Katz’s brand new memoir cum photo essay Katz: Autobiography of a Delicatessen tells the story of the 125-year-old New York icon. The book alone makes a great gift, but if you really want to see your Katz’s lover k’vel, pair the book with some salami or pastrami. Check out some photos from the book here.

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For the person who has everything

Strawberry Plants for Edible Schoolyard’s Rooftop Garden
We’ve been longtime supporters of Edible Schoolyard NYC, and their newest location at P.S. 7 in Harlem is a great addition to their effort. But ESY Harlem needs all the help they can get to continue growing their kitchen and garden. In the season of giving, a donation makes the perfect holiday gift. A $100 donation will allow ESY to purchase 75 strawberry plants for their rooftop garden. If you’ve ever seen a kid bite into his first real strawberry, you know how important this is.

Sponsor a Farm Animal at Farm Sanctuary
Farm Sanctuary rescues and cares for injured factory-farmed animals. They have two sanctuaries in California, but their Finger Lakes location is the largest, with over 500 rescued animals. Though the animals are in safe hands, they need continual care, and your sponsorship can help provide that. Give a sponsorship as a gift this year and help Ari the cow live a more comfortable life.

Membership to Just Food
Just Food membership has lots of perks. Members get discounts on all Just Food events, offers from local businesses and 10 percent off the Just Food marketplace. And your donation is put to good use by connecting communities and local farms with the support they need to make fresh, locally grown food accessible to all. Be sure to share your gift via Just Food’s clever Holiday Cards with notes like, “a holiday chard for you,” and “lettuce snow, lettuce snow, lettuce snow.”

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When Marissa was a little girl, she threw her bottle and pacifier down the stairs and begged for "real food." More than two decades later, her passion for real food has grown into a part of her everyday life. Marissa graduated in May 2014 with a Masters in Food Studies from NYU, where she focused her research on food politics and food culture. She has taught children’s nutrition, gardening and cooking classes for the past four years, and she will spend the next academic year as a FoodCorps service member in Guilford County, North Carolina.