Just over 2 weeks left until Christmas. I’m sure some people are already in full-on panic mode. There’s a lot of stress around the holidays. You have to manage a way to see (or avoid) your entire family and all of your friends. You feel like you must buy gifts for your colleagues, teachers, neighbours, loved ones and for those in need. And then you have to gain 10 pounds from over eating and drinking – the part I enjoy the most.

It’s my hope that you can take it easy on yourselves this holiday season. If you are buying for people, be considerate of where and whom you are buying from. One gift purchased for friends is like a second gift to a local merchant. When we here at Cultivate are considering how and where to buy our gifts, we are always considerate of three things we call the Three Mades. Made By, Made In and Made Of. What’s that all about? Well, we want to have the greatest local economic impact possible.

If it’s made by a local person, that’s a check. If it’s made in a local facility, that’s a check. If it’s made of local ingredients, that’s a check. Now it may be hard to find the triple threat at all times, but it can be done. And one or two checks is certainly better than none. As a good example of a product that is check’s off all three is Maple Syrup. We have a ton of locally owned producers in the area, and their maple is coming from the trees. It’s pretty straight forward. An example of a product that doesn’t check off the boxes would be coffee. It could be roasted by locals, in a facility close by, but the beans themselves still have to travel thousands of miles before they get here. Two out of three ain’t bad. Something like the popular Holiday treat “Toblerone” checks off none.

Buying food made by, in and of has a 3:1 economic impact. Beer and Wine is closer to 11:1. If you are considerate of these little rules, you will have a positive economic impact on your community, making the holidays a win for everyone. Well, we all know it’s not quite that easy, but it’s a good start and certainly good practise.

Here are three ideas to help you make a difference this holiday season.

Suntree’s Ontario Artisanal Hamper

Our Cultivate Holiday Hampers were so successful this year, we sold 200 in 4 days, contributing nearly $15,ooo to local producers. Obviously, we were on to something! When we sold out, I had a nice conversation with Karen Henricks, the owner of Suntree Natural Foods Market Place, about putting together a second option. Cultivate strolled the store and has curated a box of goodies you won’t be able to find anywhere other than Suntree. The Hamper consists of products that will make your life better! Edibles like Ontario Raw Milk Cheese, Saurkraut, Cranberry Chuntney, Maple Syrup and Kale Chips. It also has some amazing wellness pieces like Goat Milk Hand Cream, Soap and a Bee’s Wax Candle! That’s just to name a few. All of this for only $95!

There are only 20 of  these ultra exclusive hampers available! Order online now to be sure you don’t miss out. Once you’ve ordered, pick up will be available at the storefront on Ontario St anytime after December 15th. Suntree will also be donating 10% of online sales to the charity, Local Food For Local Good. Thank you, Suntree!

Drink Beer and Cider!

We are lucky enough to be in a region that has an abundance of fine beers and ciders! Not only are they tasty, but our industry leaders are making strong, informed decisions to ensure our region has a sustainable beer program for years to come. William Street Beer Company in Cobourg has partnered with Valley Hops and made a commitment to using 100% local hops in their beer. Churchkey Brewing Company is using malting partner, Barn Owl Malts, as much as possible and they’ve been including local ingredients like honey and  juniper for well over 10 years. Codrington’s, Empire Cider uses 100% Northumberland Apples in their production. Check out this tiny piece on Farm Brewing here. 

Fill you table with growlers, bombers, tall boys and bottles! Here is where and what your can expect from the great people that bring us local beer and cider.

William St. Beer Company
975 Elgin St. West, Cobourg
11am – 7pm, 7 days a week

Available Now: Red Sky Amber Ale, Cliff Top Pale Ale, Monkey Mountain Export India Porter,
Available Soon: Advent Series:  Bock Von Krampus (December 10th), Gingerbread Saison (December 17th), Vanilla Porter (December 24th)

Churchkey Brewing Co.
1678 County Rd. 38, Campbelford
10am – Dusk, 7 days a week

Available Now: West Coast Pale Ale, Northumberland Ale, Holy Smoke Scotch Ale, Cyser (Honey and Apple, good lord it’s delicious!), Braggot (Honey Beer), Bret You Got It Going On (sour).

Northumberland Hills Brewery
1024 Division St. Cobourg
Wednesday – Saturday 11am – 6pm

Available Now: PS, I Love You Blonde Ale, Mark 10 Brown Ale, Super Continental Pale Ale
Available Soon: Kodiak Lager, Project 22 Dark Lager, Oxy Moron Black Double IPA, Gingerbread Stout

Empire Cider
222 Old Wooler Rd. Codrington
Friday 5-7, Saturday and Sunday 11-5

Presqu’ile Craft Brewery
75 Harbour St. Brighton
12pm – 6pm, 7 days a week

Available Now: Go find out for yourself!

Local Food on the Table. 

It may be December, but that certainly doesn’t mean there isn’t any local food still available! From greens to root veggies, Burnham Family Farm Market has tons of Ontario Produce still available. Need a turkey? Contact Osland Farm Market in Port Hope. Empire cheese (from Campbellford) makes some of Canada’s BEST cheddar and they are available almost everywhere, but the greatest selection comes straight from the factory! Glover’s Farm Market in Warkworth has a tremendous selection of honey and maple products. Moore Orchards between Cobourg and Grafton makes DELIGHTFUL cider. That takes care of the non-alcoholic needs. Douglas Sper of Sper Farm and Foods is offering to cook for you! Simply order and pick up from his restaurant in Warkworth between 10-3 on Christmas Day! He also has fresh turkey and duck available if that tickles your fancy. Bread from Marché 59 is always fresh and delicious. They are even using grain from their own farms! What’s for dessert? Apple Pie from Betty’s Pie’s and Tarts is always a hit. Make sure to buy Sterling butter for baking, and Kawartha Dairy has Ice Cream that is to die for.

Burnham Family Farm Market – 7760 County Rd. 2, Cobourg (produce, baked goods, ice cream, dairy, preserves, etc.)
Osland Farm Market – 5029 County Rd. 2, Port Hope (produce, freezer meat, cheese, baked goods)
Glover’s Farm Market – 14260 County Rd. 29, Percy (produce, ice cream, dairy, preserves, etc.)
Marché 59 – 59 Walton St. Port Hope
Betty’s Pies and Tarts – 7380 County Rd. 2, Cobourg

Now is your time to make a difference! We have the opportunity at every turn, so don’t hesitate and do what you can to support our community and our local economy. Here’s to a healthy and sustainable New Year!