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July 2014

28

Give the gift of local

Trying to add a special touch to your holiday meal?

"Give the gift of local this holiday season," said Greener Oconomowoc Winter Farmers' Market (OWFM) Director Lisa Geason-Bauer.

Sure enough, every year, Geason-Bauer adds a highly-coveted recipe to her Christmas cards. There's a note, too, that says "the majority of ingredients can be sourced from your local winter farmers' market."

It's not that hard, right?

There's still fresh produce at the OWFM from local vendors, too. Geason-Bauer said that more farmers are putting in hoop houses and they are able to extend their growing season. Vendors like Max & Lindy's will sell carrots, cabbage, beets, mushrooms, micro greens and other veggies. Full Harvest Farm from Hartford will be there, too, through the Dec. 9.

A completely local meal isn't impossible, either.

When you live in Wisconsin you have no excuse for getting your meats and cheeses from nonlocals, Geason-Bauer explains. Koepke Farms La Belle has excellent cheeses, which are made in small batches from cows milked right in Oconomowoc. Throw in some Bugling Pines Elk meats and sausages and you'll be ready to pour the wine.

Appetizers don't have to be hard, either. Toothsome Rue makes great mustard and fudge sauce. Thymely Herbals has locally made herb-infused oils, vinegars, butters, salts, sugars, jellies, teas, pesto, herb blends and honey. Steppin' Out Foods LLC carries asparagus spears, belly beans and sweet jams. River Valley Ranch, infamously known as "The Mushroom Man," has four to seven varieties of mushrooms at the market along with sauces, picked mushrooms and shallots.

For the main meal, you can find beef, lamb or goat from BSW Foods or grass-fed beef from Fer-Li Meats & Sausage.

Dessert, of course, is just as easy. Sweet P's Pantry has homemade toffee, treats and nuts. Oly's Oats, Etc. has rolled oats and real granola. Rivermill Foods LLC has some tasty pastries and fun cheesecake flavors like hot cocoa or Bailey's chocolate chip. Apple Holler has pies, pastries, apple cider donuts, breads, rolls, apple butter, applesauce, apple cider and, well, apples. Aleka's Kitchen sells gourmet pastries like baklava (layers of phyllo with walnut, greek clove spices and honey).

In January, the market will add more vendors as soon as they can clear the Christmas trees from the greenhouse. They're aiming for 32 vendors. New vendors include Cloud Nine Soap Company and Wheat Free Treats, LLC.

Embossed Edibles is new, too, and their cookies look too good to eat! The Springerle cookies are a Bavarian and Austrian traditional Christmas cookie. They are white with an anise, lemon or spice flavor and, even though they're pretty, they are completely edible. The cookies are usually square or round and have a picture or design pressed onto the top using specially hand carved molds. It's all hand pressed and hand painted, some using replicated antique molds while others are custom designed. If you can resist eating it, you could also dry it out and use it for decoration.

Just before Christmas, too, the vendors are preparing for a huge day of last minute shoppers with free gift-wrapping and great $10 gift ideas. More than half of the vendors have gift wrapping options, anyways, but procrastinators will especially appreciate it the week before Christmas.

This is the OWFM's third year and they're located at Oconomowoc Landscape Supply & Garden Center, N68 W37850 Highway K, Oconomowoc. The market runs from 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Dec. 9 and Dec. 23, then again in January and February.

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