As most have experienced, there are always those on your Christmas or holiday shopping list who are difficult to find the right gift for. Grandma Matteson is an example in our family. Grandma (my mother) lives with my wife, son and I in our home in Lorraine. Grandma is very picky about her clothes, doesn’t go away from our house very much and in our small home, there’s not much room for adding decorations or knick-knacks. The question comes every year, what special gift may one purchase for that special person?
In the case of Grandma, she likes to help my wife and me out by making dinner for us frequently as we try to keep up with the schedule of busy lives.
She makes nothing French, Asian, Mexican or anything else with a — can on the end of it. Just good wholesome, hearty meat and potatoes type food that you catch a whiff of as you get out of the car on a cold fall night and delights each breath as you enter and walk through your home, unwinding from work.
So, my thoughts are turning towards a gift for her that is made locally, let her try something a little different.
To decide what exactly to get, I go online to Jefferson County’s agricultural website, http://www.comefarmwithus.com/.
There I find the agricultural products menu in the middle of the home page. The agricultural products menu has a drop down list of food and fiber products grown or manufactured in Jefferson County. I can choose from a variety of items such as beef, dairy, jams and jellies, sauces, pasta, wine, Christmas trees, maple syrup, honey and more. There is clothing made from Alpaca and sheep’s wool, goat’s milk soaps and other nifty little things that are locally made and not just the plain, unimaginative big box store, buy it because the person’s on my list, type items.
So, as I’m scanning the list of products, the ideas start to rumble the moths out of the broom closet.
A gift basket — yes I could go to a number of places like Gold Cup Farms in Clayton, Jefferson Bulk Cheese Store on the way to Sackets Harbor, Morgia’s Pasta or North Country Farms on Route 37. They are among several places that make gift baskets or boxes, some to custom specifications that you can purchase and take home, or have shipped out in the mail.
These are great gifts and I’m sure Grandma Matteson will enjoy most of it. However, Grandma is not a big cheese fan. Yes, I know that sounds like sacrilege in my household. I make up the difference and that would be the problem, I’d eat most of the basket or gift box. What else?
Goat’s milk soap made by Milk Made Farm in Theresa sounds interesting. I can’t eat the soap on her so that is a plus. And, Milk Made has a kiosk in Salmon Run Mall for the season so I can go there to buy it.
I’m also seeing on the website Alpaca clothing from Home Again Farm. Grandma always complains about the cold making her feet ache. I wonder if she’d wear socks made from Alpaca fiber.
Alpaca fiber is soft and warm. And let’s see, maybe I can find a nice handcrafted basket from an Amish Farm, put the goat’s milk soap, the alpaca socks in, let’s try some pasta and pasta sauce varieties from Morgia’s Pasta and Coyote Moon Vineyard, homemade chocolates from Covered in Chocolate, and maple syrup, honey and pancake mix from North Country Farms.
I’ll make her and the rest of the family a nice blueberry and walnut pancake breakfast with maple syrup. And if she’ll let me, dinner will be pasta night. That sounds like a Christmas gift for Grandma she just might enjoy. With the help of our county’s agricultural website, http://www.comefarmwithus.com/, and with a little imagination, we can find gifts for those you can’t buy just anything for.
Jay M. Matteson is agricultural coordinator for the Jefferson County Agricultural Development Corp. He is a lifelong Northern New York resident who lives in Lorraine. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org. His column appears monthly in NNY Business.