by Kae Lani Palmisano for USA TODAY 10Best

How to support your local food scene this holiday season

As you plan the menu for your holiday meal, or prepare food gifts for family and friends, here are a few meaningful ways to spend your money and support your local food supply chain.

1. Bake with locally sourced grains

Purchasing locally sourced grains is an excellent way to support local farmers and your local mill. Plus, grains not destined for commercial flour companies tend to be heritage grains which can be more nutritious.

2. Get your holiday meats from a local butcher

Your local butcher will provide you with premium cuts of meat, give you tips on how to prepare those meats, and they may even give recommendations on what sides or drinks to pair with your meal.

3. Buy pies from your local farm stand

Stands are using farm fresh ingredients grown locally and baked by people who have expert knowledge in the ingredients they’re using. It’s a homemade taste without being homemade by you.

4. Make cocktails with local spirits

Local distillers often source ingredients from nearby farmers. So, you’re not just getting a high-quality spirit, you’re getting a real taste of the local terroir.

5. Gift your friends a six pack of a local beer

Local beer is an expression of the community. The names of certain beers may include local references, or special limited batch releases might be brewed to commemorate a special local event.

6. Mull wine from a local vineyard

Support either your local wine region or a wine region that you enjoy visiting by using their vintages for your mulled wine this season.

7. Make a cheese plate with local cheese

Build your own cheese plate with cheese produced either by local dairy farms or nearby cheesemakers. Not only are you supporting local farmers and cheese artisans, you’ll have access to creative, freshly made cheeses.

8. Order a holiday meal from a local restaurant

The holidays are a time to relax and enjoy yourself, so if you need a break from the kitchen, order out from a local restaurant. Many are offering take-home meals/kits for the holidays.

9. Buy from a local bakery

From bread for your holiday brunch to cakes and cookies for dessert, local bakeries are a great place to stock up on your holiday carbs and sweets.

10. Buy gift cards

Gift cards are the perfect gift for that loved one who is tricky to shop for. Whether it’s for a boutique grocery store or a local restaurant, gift cards are a way of saying "your next meal is on me."

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