Last-minute gift shopping? Have a farmer on your list? Check out these ideas for inspiration.
Who doesn't need tools? A multitool like a Leatherman® tool is always useful to carry. If your favorite farmer already has one, you can't go wrong with a headlamp for the dark winter days. If you don't know what the farmer in your life needs, consider a gift card to somewhere that carries farm supplies or tools. But really - a hammer, a wire tool for fencing, a sledgehammer, or a gift certificate to a tractor dealer - you can't miss with tools or equipment.
That harvest of delicious apples, this year's deer, or the abundance of heirloom tomatoes - a food dehydrator makes short work of all of it, preserving it through the winter. If not a dehydrator, a pressure canner, water bath canner, glass canning jars, or vacuum sealer might be welcome additions to your farmer's collection of kitchen tools.
It's cold outside for most of us, and a warm flannel shirt, insulated work coveralls, wool socks, hats, mittens and gloves are always appreciated by those who work outside a lot of the day. Carhartt Arctic insulated coveralls are super sweet for northern farmers who brave subzero temps and blisteringly cold wind chills much of the winter months.
Chore boots or work boots are always coming apart at the sole, delaminating, or just plain getting old. A new pair of good boots can put a smile on a farmer's face. I particularly like Muck boots or Bogs for tromping around in the pastures, stables, and barn. Pair with knee-high thick wool socks and feet are comfy even in the coldest weather.
Yes, it goes without saying that you have to know a farmer well before giving him a Katahdin sheep, a Highland cow, or even a few geese. But if you do, and you know the farmer wants this particular animal or animals, what a terrific gift! Nothing says "I love you" like a freshened dairy cow.
Farming books abound - pick the species the farmer is focusing on right now, and buy a "how to raise" book on it, or look at a book that focuses on the business side of farming if your farmer already knows how to raise animals. There are also a plethora of farming memoirs, which can make for inspiring reading during the long winter months. Don't forget plain old novels or other nonfiction books - we farmers like to get our minds off of farming once in a while.
There is always more to learn, and for the beginning farmer, the information gleaned from classes, workshops or conferences can be invaluable - even save him years of trial and error learning. Or how about membership to an organization like Slow Food USA?