Arts and Entertainment

Eat like a 'localvore' for the holidays

The relationship between the holidays and food and drink goes back as far as anyone can imagine. Most people can’t remember what gifts they received as children, but we almost always remember what Mom or Grandma served us at the dinner table.

With the current economy fresh on the minds of most Americans, this holiday season will be one to really think about the meaning of the season. We have always put a sense of community and supporting our local neighbors ahead of any other ideal and this year those ideals will really be put to the test. Rather than tell you what we think you should eat and drink, we would rather share our suggestions for a few local gems that can easily grace your holiday tables. For every item you purchase from a local business, you will feed your friends and family and our local economy.

Start by really looking at the products you buy at the store or better yet, ask a department manager what items may be obtained from a local source. Even though it is winter, many items such as braising greens, root vegetables and even squash can come from local area farms. Think about buying a turkey or ham from a Washington producer or ask your favorite restaurant what holiday meal items they may offer as retail. At the very least you could try to find some great local accompaniments for your feast. Many local farmers markets will host holiday events that sell great artisan products. Imagine glazing a spiral ham with honey from bees raised in Poulsbo or how about a cranberry and orange relish for your turkey made by local folks at a holiday bazaar.

Visit the Web sites of your local farmers market for dates and events that you can attend. Be creative this year and find a way to introduce something local into your holiday feast. Two of our favorite local artisans are Crimson Cove and CB’s Nuts. Crimson Cove (in Poulsbo) offers a wonderful variety of smoked salmon and smoked cheeses that are great for holiday appetizers or gifts. CB’s Nuts (in Kingston) offers a selection of roasted nuts such as in-shell peanuts and delicious pistachios that can be used alone as a snack or included in holiday recipes. Both have Web sites that have detailed information. When using these local gems, you’ll likely be amazed by the quality and you’ll be giving back to your community at a time where everyone needs the support of their neighbors.

When thinking about holiday beverages that play into the “localvore” concept, the possibilities are endless. We are fortunate to have some great Pacific Northwest distilleries that make wonderful spirits such as Crater Lake Vodka (Bend Ore., $25), Cascade Mountain Gin (Bend Ore., $25) and Dry Fly Vodka (Spokane, Wash., $20ish). They are available at our local liquor stores. The always popular “Cosmo” martini can take a local spin by adding Clear Creek Oregon Cranberry Liqueur (Portland Ore., $29) in with the vodka, cranberry juice and lime. It will add a richness your guests are sure to notice.

If wine and beer are more your speed, locally produced varieties are in abundance. Local wine makers such as Eleven Wines and Rolling Bay on Bainbridge Island both offer red and white wines that would be wonderful choices for any holiday gathering. Another favorite is Whidbey Island Winery, which produces Island White ($17 retail) and a lovely Dolcetto ($26 retail). Breweries such as Hood Canal Brewery, Port Townsend Brewery and Iron Horse Brewing are our top picks for great local beers that can easily be paired with holiday foods. Without any extra work, you can easily work these local and budget-friendly beverages into your holiday drinks all while helping to support local merchants.

As we always like to say, the most important part of the holiday season isn’t what you eat or drink but who you eat and drink with. Family and friends are what this season is about. Enjoy the holidays with those you love and whenever you can, help those around you do the same. Happy holidays from our family to yours.

John Nesby is the owner of MorMor Bistro & Bar in Poulsbo.

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