The VFN Top 10! Your Guide to Delicious Holiday GivingDecember 14, 2017
A gift of Vermont-grown food is a gift that gives back to our economy and preserves our rural landscape for years to come. So keep it local and delicious this holiday season from tasty treats to memorable experiences for the whole family - we've got you covered.
Here's the 2017 VFN Top 10 list for holiday (or any-day) giving . . .
1 - Gift a meal at your favorite VFN restaurant with a restaurant gift card! Use our online guide to search by location, type of restaurant, or start with our Gold Barn members - our top local food supporters.
2 - The gift of Vermont cheese with accoutrement will make you anyone's favorite giver! Need inspiration?
- Jasper Hill's newest baby, Little Hosmer and Vermont Creamery's Cremont just won big at the World Cheese Awards!
- Alpine-inspired fromage from Karim Farm or Cobb Hill
- Divine blues made by Dawn at Boucher Family Farm
- Classic aged cheddar from Shelburne Farms, Grafton or Cabot will remind the displaced or aspiring Vermonter of the state they love.
- Everyone loves Blythedale Farm's Vermont Brie and Camembert. Everyone. Or try the Grana grating cheese as a gift for the home cook on your list.
3 - For the athlete in your life, plan an adventurous winter outing (with a bit of local après-ski, of course). Visit Strafford Organic Creamery, Blueberry Hill Inn, Craftsbury Outdoor Center, or Trapp Family Lodge for some nordic skiing and snowshoeing. Is alpine more your speed? Send them to an inn or resort with VFN restaurants nearby - try Okemo or Stowe.
4 - Thrill the cider enthusiast, aspiring sommelier, and amateur mixologist on your list with the award-winning Meads, Spirits, Beers, Wines and Ciders of the Green Mountain State. Pick your poison...
You'll find Vermont distilled spirits lining the shelves at your local liquor store, like the producer Vermont Spirits that make award-winning vodka out of Vermont apples, maple and milk - yes, milk! Look for SILO's Cacao (a collaboration with Lake Champlain Chocolates) for double your dose of great Vermont products. Mad River Distillers' newly released Hopscotch is Vermont's FIRST single malt (for your favorite Scotch Drinker). You can't go wrong with Caledonia Spirits' Gin or Tom Cat, but have you tried their Vodka? It's really special and uses raw honey as the spirits' base ingredient. Hooker Mountain Farm requires a little more effort to find but, man, is it worth it. Visit their farm distillery in Cabot for seasonal specialties and check out this story on their all-on-farm approach to spirit making.
Okay..here's some extremely exciting insider info and a perfect gift for yourself or a person you really, truly love. Shelburne Orchard's long-awaited Dead Bird Brandy is finally releasing on the orchard this Saturday (December 16th) at 9 am. Bottles are $100 and there's a limit of two per person. If you don't know, here's why that's really cool.
Bubbly Celestial Louise from Shelburne Vineyard inspires celebration and there's a new line of experimental wines from winemaker Ethan at Shelburne Vineyard - check out Iapetus. Lincoln Peak's selection of Marquette wines are exceptional (and you can pick up a growler for yourself when you gift shop at the New Haven vineyard). A companion set of hard cider and wine from Boyer's Orchard and Vineyard - perfect! Warm up for the season with a bottle of Glogg - mulled spiced wine - from Boyden Valley Winery and Spirits. Take a trip up to the Champlain Islands (or your local market) for a bottle from Snow Farm Vineyard. Everybody loves Rosé.., and it's the perfect wine to open up a holiday meal. Try Fresh Track's Marquette Rosé - it's a crowd pleaser.
Ice Cider - it's the perfect gift, the perfect close to a holiday (or any) meal, and we have the PERFECT serving, pairing and tasting guide featuring VFN ice cider producers from ice cider maven, Eleanor Leger of Eden Specialty Cider.
Visit Citizen Cider's Burlington taproom for a break from holiday shopping and, bonus, their line-up has something for everyone. From Whetstone Ciderworks the name says it all - Orchard King and Orchard Queen showcase the unique qualities of Vermont heirloom apples. Winter Chill from Woodchuck Cider is the taste of the season. Enjoy the Heirloom Blend from Champlain Orchards like you would a fine champagne and cue the party! Good news, everyone - you can now get limited edition Shacksbury Ciders at their new tasting room in Vergennes! Do you know cider lovers out of state? Sign them up for Shacksbury's Cider Club.
You may have to visit the brewery to nab Long Trail's CBD infused brew for the on-trend drinker in your life. Can we recommend a burger while you're there? While you're on a brew tour - head to Stowe and visit the von Trapp Brewery and Bierhall and Idletyme Brewing Company for more Vermont beers. Beer, pint glass and a brewery tee, hoodie or hat? Done.
5 - VFN Food Markets, Co-ops and General Stores are 1-stop shops for a DIY Gift basket! Fill it with all the things on this list (see 1, 2, 4, 7, and 9). Don't forget swag - because how cute is this stuff from MKT: Grafton!?
6 - How stoked would you be to get a winter CSA or meat share? A generous gift that gives and gives and gives!
7 - Tie some ribbon around a pair of tickets to an upcoming dinner or event! Check out DigInVT.com for inspiration.
8 - Treat your loved one to a culinary retreat, class or farm stay! Here are a few excellent options...
Crescent Bay B&B, South Hero - Vineyard Stay
Fat Sheep Farm and Cabins, Hartland
Green Mountain Girls Farm, Northfield - Farm Stays and Classes
Golden Well Farm and Apiaries, New Haven - Farm Stays and Classes
Inn at Weathersfield, Perkinsville - Culinary Retreats and Classes
King Arthur Flour, Norwich - Classes
Kitchen at the Store, Waitsfield - Classes
Liberty Hill Farm, Rochester - Farm Stay
Maple Wind Farm, Huntington - Yurt Rentals
Mary's at the Inn at Baldwin Creek, Bristol - Culinary Retreats and Classes
Shelburne Farms, Shelburne - Classes and Inn
9 - Vermont specialty foods are, of course, great gifts. Try Wood's Cider Mill's Boiled Cider, Nitty Gritty Grain Co. baking mix or gift set, Fat Toad Farm Caramel, Butterfly Bakery hot sauce, Terrafunga dried mushrooms, Lake Champlain Chocolates (esp this collab with Citizen Cider - yum), a specialty loaf or a box of OBread or Red Hen pastries, Vermont Fresh Pasta, honey from a local apiary, and anything maple - straight Vermont maple syrup may be the perfect gift.
10 - Send it! These members offer mailed gift boxes. Easy. Peasy.
Butternut Mountain Farm (maple)
Cabot via Dakin Farms (cheese/mixed)
Craftsbury General Store (mixed)
Jasper Hill Farm (cheese/mixed)
JJ Hapgood General Store (mixed)
King Arthur Flour (Baking)
Lake Champlain Chocolates (chocolate)
MKT: Grafton (mixed)
Shelburne Farms (mixed)
Woodstock Farmers' Market (mixed)