Look no further than Michigan food for those last-minute gifts

Many opportunities exist for giving special gifts from Michigan purchases on-line and in local stores.

It is not too late to find some special local items for the gift giving season. We all have that hard-to-buy-for uncle or parent that keeps us scratching our heads. Even though some of the mail order catalog and on-line sites may not be able to ship out an order in time for the holidays, take an extra trip to one of the many specialty markets, like Holiday Market, Plum Market, Nino Salvagios, Whole Foods Market, Hillers Market, including Meijer and Kroger stores along with many more gourmet and small boutique markets that are around your region of Michigan. These stores are finding and stocking many Michigan food products on their store shelves.

Food gifts can be appreciated by all. There are several new businesses that are specializing in gluten free and sugar free products now as well. Small companies are putting out specialty popcorn, caramels, chocolates, meats, honey, maple syrup, cheeses and salsas. Michigan wines are available in many local supermarket and specialty markets. This could be an opportunity to tailor your shopping to the specific likes of your friends and family. Or this could be an opportunity to offer them food gifts in exotic and new flavors.

But don’t overlook the local restaurants in your area or up to an hour away that may provide a great experience for friends and family. Purchase local gift cards to restaurants that serve local fare and give as gifts. Find a local family ethnic restaurant where you can send your family for a new cultural experience.

And for those who may be celebrating holidays later or have more time to shop, check out Made In Michigan and Buy Michigan Now – sites that specialize in advertising Michigan companies and businesses making local products. Another compilation of local gifts for the holidays is by the Detroit Free Press: Michigan Mail-Order Gift Guide.

Purchasing local all year round benefits our local economy and families in Michigan. Numerous studies indicate and demonstrate that “buy-local” efforts have the potential for energizing and helping to focus local development efforts. Holiday gift giving is one more opportunity to support small local businesses.

Michigan State University Extension has educators who provide Community Food Systems educational programming and assistance. For more information, you can contact Kathe Hale directly at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

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