Now that you’re green, American-made gift shopping is almost done, it’s time to get ready for your green holiday party! Even if you are hosting a house full of people, it’s no reason to give up on your sustainable values. Here are a few tips to keep your holiday celebrations environmentally-friendly.
While I’ll admit that paper invitations and Christmas cards look great and are fun to receive, think about all of the money and paper you’ll waste sending them out to your friends and family. Try looking into e-invitations this year. You’ll save time, money and paper. Plus most sites let your guests see who else is going and chat with each other about what everyone is bringing.
Even though it’s the winter-time, there are still plenty of ways to shop local for your green holiday party dinner. Many towns and cities have winter markets you can visit to find fresh produce and specialty items. You can also check in to your local butcher for meats customized for the amount of guests that you have coming. He may even be willing to order specialty meats for your holiday party. Don’t forget about local spirits and craft beers! Local breweries and distilleries usually have special holiday beverages available and your guests will be impressed and excited to try something new on your drink list.
Use your Resources!
Don’t bother heading to a department store for decorations. Try finding local holly or fir boughs to create unique and lovely centerpieces and decorations. If you’re not feeling particularly crafty this year, many people sell wreaths, trees and decorations out of their homes during the holidays. Buy from a neighbor and display their hard work for your friends and family to enjoy at your green holiday party.
Skip the bright overhead lighting this year and turn off your ugly, Christmas Story leg lamp (I hope that’s not just my family!). Try lighting holiday scented candles this year. Cinnamon, pine, pumpkin and vanilla are great aromas for setting the mood and the candle light will be very flattering for your home décor.
Try to avoid using paper plates and cups this year. While they may save you on dish-washing they’re definitely not friends of the environment. If you must go with a paper or plastic option, try looking for green brands that make biodegradable and compostable paper-ware.
As always, don’t forget to recycle! Try to reuse or recycle any discarded gift-wrap, compost your meal leftovers and recycle your plates and cups, if you used them.
By Heather Barrett
full of artists and artisans, and this weekend is a perfect opportunity to discover
their products and visit their studios.
There are two events, one in Manchester,
and the other in Brattleboro, for
you to explore this weekend.
Craftproducers Manchester Fall Art and Craft Festival
September 28-30, 10am-5pm
starting their foliage season with an outdoor event celebrating the local art
community. Over 180 artisans will have their craftwork on display and for
purchase. Art work ranges from photography to paintings to clothing to maple
distilled vodka. In addition to the beautiful array of art on display, the
festival offers food and drink. There will be a food area serving a variety of
localvore items, and a Vermont Beer, Cheese and Sausage tent. Spend the day
meeting artists, purchasing gifts for the upcoming holidays, and eating
delicious food. For more information about this event, visit the
Brattleboro-West Arts' 4th Annual Open Studio Tour
September 29-30, 10am-5pm
The town of Brattleboro
is Vermont Woods Studios' neighbor, located in the southeast corner of Vermont.
Brattleboro is known for it's
thriving arts community, and this weekend you will have the opportunity to meet
some of the artists. Artists are opening up their studios this weekend to the
public. There will be 13 different locations with 16 artists showing off their
crafts. The tour is mapped out on a brochure that you can print from their
website, pick up at any of the studio locations, or get from the Brattleboro
Chamber of Commerce. At the studio locations you will see where artists make
violins, blow glass, paint, and create many more items in different mediums. In
addition, to conclude the first night of the weekend event, the Chelsea Royal
Diner will be hosting a special dinner on Saturday. The dinner will feature a
selection of locally produced foods.
This is another opportunity to meet artists and learn about their crafts.
The Brattleboro-West Open Studio Tour has been recognized by the Boston
Globe. For more information about the
event, please visit the Brattleboro-West Arts website.
Heather Barrett is a Marketing Assistant at Vermont Woods Studios, an online furniture gallery which showcases Vermont's finest wood furniture. Follow our blog to learn about Vermont fine furniture, Vermont happenings, our mission, and our team.
By Dennis Shanoff
You just can’t beat the taste and quality of fresh produce, right? And there is no fresher produce than that just picked! Those fortunate enough to live near farmlands know that the best produce is found at farm stands and farmers' markets.
So with this being the time of year where the widest produce choices are ripe for picking, it makes sense to spotlight our hardworking farmers large and small with a National Farmers' Market Week.
Reports indicate a rapidly growing interest in fresh as can be products so going to the source is as good as it gets. And farmers' markets are playing a key role in bringing the farmer and consumer together.
Even cities have created market space for weekly markets. Farmers are willing to load up their trucks and head to urban areas to bring fresh goods to those outside agricultural areas.
Wondering where your nearest market might be? Well, the USDA has a great web based market locater to help put freshness on your table! We hope there's a bountiful market near you that you get to explore soon. Many of us at Vermont Woods Studios will be heading to our favorites this weekend.
By Dennis Shanoff
So I ran across an interesting Vermont statistic the other day, interesting but not surprising. According to the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture, Vermont has the most “Farmers Markets” per capita. And not only are there dozens of great farmers markets but also hundreds of roadside farm stands as well. With nearly a million and a half acres of Vermont’s land being of agricultural use it’s easy to see why farm fresh products are so accessible. And what’s fresher than a farm truck that just loaded up their goodies that morning and headed straight to their space at the market!
You can make a quick stop at a market to grab some fresh ingredients for that night’s dinner, or make a day out of it by hitting up a few of them. (plus getting in a pleasant country drive in as well) What would you typically find at a Vermont Farmers Market? Well you will certainly find your Vermont staple products such as cheese, breads, pies, maple syrup, fruits, vegetables and wine but you are certain to find the unexpected as well. I think this is the best part of a farmers market, discovering new foods, arts, crafts and other unique products you just don’t run into in a typical market place.
For a complete directory of Vermont farmers markets visit the “Vermont Agency of Agriculture” website. Below is a list of the larger, more popular “Saturday” farmers markets:
Brattleboro Farmers Market: May – October / Saturday 9 am – 2 pm
Burlington Farmers Market: May – October / Saturday 8:30 am – 2 pm
Middlebury Farmers Market: May – October / Saturday 9am – 12:30 pm
Rutland Farmers Market: May – October / Saturday 9 am – 2 pm
Montpelier Farmers Market: May – October / Saturday 9 am – 1 pm
So Vermont’s Farmers Market season is in full swing, so go early, go hungry and go often to get the most out of this summer’s market season!