Community Philosphy Blog and Library

Ten Meaningful Gifts For The Holidays – The HOMEGROWN Gift Guide

Now more than ever, we are looking for ways to be thoughtful with our gift-giving. Hopefully, the HOMEGROWN Gift Guide can be an inspiration for you to celebrate and share being a producer, rather than just a consumer. Get creative by making your gifts, by sharing something meaningful, and by connecting people to the sources of good food. Here are Ten HOMEGROWN Gift ideas that are sure to be appreciated!

1. The From Scratch Club Holiday e-book

The From Scratch Club is a collective of creative, energetic women who inspire each other (and us!) with recipes and DIY projects. They meet twice a month for a food swap, and maybe a food-related adventure, event or potluck. They also have a blog with stories, recipes, kitchen tips and tricks and food policy musings and  news. We’re thrilled to have their participation on and hope that their work inspires you, too!

2. Build a Cold Frame

This simple how-to comes from Mother Earth News and is designed using just one 4’x8 sheet of plywood, some Plexiglass, wood glue, caulk and screws.


3. Homemade Bacon

Rachel’s recipe is a lovely one using local, sustainably-raised pork that anyone with an oven can make. Make Projects gives us a how-to using a traditional smoker. Either way… Yum!

4. Homemade mustard

HOMEGROWNer Reiny shared some of her recipes, including one for pear mustard! Not only a delicious condiment, but a salute to a wonderful fruit!

Pear mustard

(converted from metric measurements and edited for clarity)

2 lbs pears

1 1/2 cups unsweetened pearjuice

2/3 cup white wine vinegar

2/3 cup sugar

1 1/3 cups yellow mustard powder

Peel the pears and cut them in small pieces. Slowly heat pear juice, vinegar and sugar in a pot, stir until the sugar is melted. Add 1 cup of pear pieces for 2 minutes, then take remove and discard. Now add the rest of the pear and slowly cook at low heat for at least 45 min. Add the mustard powder and the rest of the pear pieces and cook for another 15 minutes stirring constantly, as the consistency of the mustard becomes like jam. Store in clean glass jars, processing in a water bath for 15 minutes for longer-term storage.


5. Kansas City Classic Barbecue Sauce

Not a vinegary North Carolina-type sauce (the debate continues on the best recipe for those). This is THE BEST tangy / sweet / spicy tomato sauce recipe in the world. Your giftees will be forever in your debt, and forever begging for the recipe. From

Yield: 6 cups


2 tablespoons chili powder

1 teaspoon ground black pepper

1 teaspoon table salt

2 cups ketchup

1/2 cup yellow ballpark-style mustard

1/2 cup cider vinegar

1/3 cup Worcestershire sauce

1/4 cup lemon juice

1/4 cup steak sauce

1/4 cup dark molasses

1/4 cup honey

1 teaspoon hot sauce

1 cup dark brown sugar (you can use light brown sugar if that’s all you have)

3 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 medium onion, finely chopped

4 medium cloves of garlic, crushed or minced

Recipe continued here.

6. Make-ahead Meals

photo by HOMEGROWNer Rachel Brownlee

Give the gift of dinner! Type in an ingredient to the search bar, or scroll through the  Member Blogs and Recipe Sharing group for recipes and freeze up a few dinners for those busy, hungry loved ones! Maybe Abby’s Tortilla Casserole, or Marianne’s simple acorn squash, or even Lauren’s Homemade Greek-style Yogurt. Food is love!

7. A CSA Share


As a group gift, pool together funds for the gift of healthy, fresh food from a local family farmer! Find a CSA Farm near you by searching Local Harvest or The Eat Well Guide and connect farmers and eaters. It’s like a bacon-of-the-month club, but with farm fresh produce!

8. Family farmer…firewood!

Firewood image courtesy Kuba Bogaczewicz under Creative Commons license

Many farmers, in the off-season, harvest firewood and Christmas trees for additional income. Ask your farmer what they do in the winter time – they may be growing something you need, or something you’d like to give!

9. Seed Catalog Coasters

A fun and resourceful way of repurposing last year’s seed catalogs! Upcycle old corkboard or ceramic tiles and recycle your seed catalogues to make simple coasters. Customize with pretty photos of your favorite fruits, vegetables or flowers. Adhere to the coaster and spray with a sealant. Viola!

10. Skills, tools and supplies

Finally, empower those around you with KNOWLEDGE; Share what you know. Offer to give a lesson to your friend, or simply send them a link to the HOMEGROWN 101s. Give TOOLS and SUPPLIES: a canning setup, a cheese making kit, a dehydrator, garden implements and other “tools of the trade” can be just the ticket for a newbie who is exploring HOMEGROWN skills.

We’d love to hear from you! What gifts have made an impact on you? What meaningful gifts have you given? Please share!

5 Responses to “Ten Meaningful Gifts For The Holidays – The HOMEGROWN Gift Guide”

  1. Awesome gift guide! I’d be so happy receiving any one of these thoughtful, meaningful, homegrown gifts 🙂

  2. Love it!

  3. Brilliant!!!

  4. Some very interesting stuff, especially the recipes and instructions.

    So I presume that Zibbet is paying for all this astroturfing? Stupid of them. If I’d seen one comment with it I’d likely have checked it out, but three in a row (even with thoughtful comments attached) tells me they’re not someone I want to deal with.

    (sorry. The gift guide is neat, and I may use it – but I wrote my comment because of the astroturfing.)

  5. Great gift ideas! Omg, pear mustard.

    Another easy gift for anyone and everyone is a plant! You can easily propagate your own from plants like aloe or spider plants. I posted some instructions here if you’re interested, although it’s so easy you almost don’t need instruction!:

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