By Julia Howard
The holiday season evokes traditions that create lasting memories while reinforcing our values and identity. This week, we look to our local farmers and producers as they share some of their favorite memories of their holiday traditions on the farm.
“When we were kids, Christmas Eve was always when we had our big dinner and presents,” shares Laurie Kokinda of Kokinda Farm and Laurie’s Jams and Jellies. “Christmas morning, we always saddled horses and went for a trail ride through Luther Forest. Back then, it was a single dirt road and especially beautiful if we got fresh snow.”
Christophe Robert of Longlesson Farm takes a traditional New Year’s Day family hike on their farm. “After a big New Year’s Eve celebration full of food and drinks, we hike to cure the hangover,” says Robert. They also bring their goats along as, according to Robert, “they hike better than the dogs.”
At Slate Valley Farms, Gina Imbimbo happily anticipates the farm’s New Year’s tradition of making natural dyes from their farm-grown Christmas trees. The dye is a red-brown hue used to color yarn, socks, and linens. Their family also prepares for the maple season by tapping maple trees on the first full moon in January, the wolf moon, per Native American traditions.
Matthew Leon of Lovin’ Mama Farm describes their family traditions as “land-centric.” “Normally, around Thanksgiving, we do cider pressing, and in the New Year, we help with processing maple syrup,” says Leon. Processing maple syrup is just for their use, and Leon explains their rustic tradition of carrying buckets of sap to be boiled.
Nettle Meadow Farm and the Kemp Animal Sanctuary celebrates Christmas with a big holiday bash hosted by the farm owners for the employees. The farm’s annual party includes a feast, a secret Santa gift swap, games, and good conversation. Farmworker Sean Dean jokes that the farm’s senior rescue turkey has the safest home.
This holiday season, we encourage you to build traditions of your own. Perhaps by sharing a favorite recipe, shopping for your holiday feast at the farmers’ market, or simply spending time with loved ones — which is where the true spirit of the season lays. The farmers’ market will be closed on Christmas Day and reopen on January 1, 2022.
This week’s recipe: Buttery Breakfast Casserole