‘Tis the season for festive food, which can mean anything you love. But there’s one factor that reliably adds elegance to soup and sandwiches at lunchtime, or to a seven-course feast: Local sourcing. No matter the dish, sourcing locally brings the flavors that will have everyone sighing with ontentment and the nutritious punch that’ll keep you all healthier and happier all winter long. And when you buy local food, you’re supporting the wonderful people who make the Hudson Valley foodshed a reality. So, dear readers, we challenge you: Make this the year you craft an all-local holiday feast.
CHALLENGE: We’d love to see your results. Tag #visitvortex on Instagram with your local market or local holiday meal image to be entered in a drawing to win a $100 gift certificate to a local market and keep it going.
be a winter locavore with these tips:
- Quite a few farm stands and farmers’ markets stay open into late fall, and indoor winter farmers’ markets have become a thing.
- Pasture-raised meat and poultry are available year-round. If you’re planning your party for a milestone holiday, it’s a good idea to order in advance.
- Local bakeries will be cooking up mind-blowingly wondrous confections. Here again, ordering in advance is recommended.
- Local independent markets are great sources for locally grown products and locally made jams, jellies, cheeses, and salsas. Supporting these good folks keeps your money flowing locally, even if you’re buying exotic imported items from them.
- Local beverages, of course, are as available (and delicious) at this time of year as at any other. Your local wine merchant will have plenty of suggestions about which bottle pairs best with the food you plan to serve. Craft beer and hard cider are crowd pleasers.
- Love to cook, but find the idea of making a big feast a bit daunting? Why not have a pre-party party? Invite a like-minded (or at least cooperative!) handful of friends to come over the day before or morning-of and whip stuff up together or to show up a couple of hours early, like the grandmas and aunties of days of yore. (Grandpas and uncles very much included in the present-day pre-party, of course.)
- A locavore potluck feast is another wonderful way to lighten the load. Share the Challenge and include a few sourcing suggestions on the invitation.
- Hudson Valley caterers can provide you with a made-to-order spread with a focus on local goodness—and (of course) they’re our neighbors, too. Check the websites of favorite local restaurants or ones that sound intriguing; many offer catering these days. Options vary: You can pick up the food yourself or have it delivered, served, and cleaned up; you can order from a full-service caterer or from someone who’ll just handle drinks and desserts; or you can use a caterer to focus on mouth-watering appetizers and entrée, and leave the trimmings to you.
- Here too, especially for a larger party, advance planning is key—especially during peak holiday season. Ask about tasting sessions, the extent of services provided, and what tableware is included to avoid last-minute surprises. When do they need a firm headcount? How early will they arrive? In catering, as in most everything in life, clear communication equals satisfaction.
- Local crafters, florists, and holiday bazaars offer a wealth of decor ideas and supplies.