It’s a season for families to come together and celebrate the holiday spirit. And when everyone from the grandparents on down to little grandchildren are together under one roof, that means it’s time for another big feast!
CT Grown products are a great choice for the family gathering. You’ll also need something to wet your whistle, though, and Connecticut’s farmers have you covered there as well! Check out these options, and raise a glass to CT Grown for the holiday season!
Like many traditional holiday dishes or beverages, eggnog was once considered a luxury due to the priciness of many of its ingredients. Families would splurge on the drink — and other delicious items — and hold toasts to wealth and prosperity in the new year.
Although eggnog is no longer considered a luxury, these toasts have remained — along with the seasonal availability of the beverage, which could conceivably be offered year-round. Eggnog is a thick, sweet drink that mixes milk, cream, sugar, egg yolks, and whipped egg whites.
Several Connecticut dairy farms get in on the holiday spirit by producing eggnog at this time of year. You can enjoy it plain, or spike it with alcohol like rum or bourbon.
This is also the only time of year you can test it out in other ways! Try eggnog as a coffee creamer, or use it as a milk substitute in recipes for waffles, pancakes, and cookies.
Spanish for “little coconut,” coquito is also referred to as Puerto Rican Eggnog due to its popularity on the island. As a tropical tradition, many of its ingredients — including coconut milk, coconut cream, and vanilla — aren’t exactly CT Grown.
However, you can still use yolks from locally sourced eggs and mix them with condensed milk (a product invented in Connecticut, incidentally) to make a thick base for this drink. Add in some rum from a Connecticut distillery as well!
Whiskeys and spirits
A growing number of distilleries in Connecticut are giving residents and visitors a local option when it comes to bourbon, gin, rum, vodka, whiskey, and other spirits. These distilleries frequently partner with local farms to infuse their product with flavors like fruit and herbs.
During the holiday season, you can relax with warming drinks like a hot toddy, hot buttered rum (using CT Grown butter, of course), spiked hot chocolate, or a nor’easter — a winter spin on the Moscow Mule that includes maple syrup in the mix.
Some of Connecticut’s 45 farm wineries close their doors for the season when colder temperatures arrive, but many are happy to welcome guests throughout the year. Pull up a seat in the cozy tasting room to enjoy some delicious vintages, and pick up a bottle or two as a gift.
Connecticut farm wines also work well for mulling to create a delicious, warm beverage on a holiday evening. Mulled wine is prepared with ingredients like oranges, honey, and spices for a wonderful evening libation.
Yes, the drink from the Christmas song!
Traditionally held on Twelfth Night, wassailing involves a group of people visiting homes to sing festive tunes and wish the occupants good cheer. The homeowner rewards them with a small gift (a figgy pudding, perhaps) in exchange for the group’s blessings and a drink from the bowl of wassail they carried. In addition to the neighborhood strolls, wassailing ceremonies have also taken place in orchards to bless the trees before the next season.
Although caroling has largely replaced wassailing, the beverage remains a unique holiday offering — and one that can easily use CT Grown ingredients. Wassail is traditionally made with a base of cider, ale, or wine, which is then mulled with spices.
Connecticut’s craft breweries are in operation year-round. But once winter arrives and patrons abandon the beer garden for the toasty taproom, the preferred styles shift to heartier fare.
“Winter warmers” such as porters and stouts typically use darker malts, have a higher alcohol by volume (ABV), and are more filling. In addition, many breweries celebrate the season by creating holiday ales with ingredients like cinnamon, orange peel, and other flavors found in mulled drinks.
You may also find a greater availability of imperial beer options, which have stronger, heartier flavors that may be further enhanced through barrel aging. These beers also have a very high ABV, so be sure to drink responsibly.
This autumn favorite is still available during the holidays, though this is also your last call for the delicious beverage. Apple cider is a dark, sweet beverage produced by compressing apple mash; since it lacks preservatives, it has a shorter shelf life and more seasonal availability compared to apple juice.
Warm up with apple cider on a cold evening by mulling it with honey, maple syrup, or spices. You can also look for some of the hard cider options offered by many orchards, which often have varieties pairing the alcoholic beverage with flavors like honey and ginger.
Milk for Santa
You can’t forget Saint Nick this time of year. Locally produced milk is available from 87 dairy farms in Connecticut, and leaving out a glass of milk for Santa ensures that he’ll get 13 essential nutrients with every serving.
Thanksgiving is a time to get together with your loved ones, count your blessings for the good things in your life, and — of course — eat until you have to loosen your waistband.
The big meal is a centerpiece of Thanksgiving, a chance to pile the dining room table high with delicious food and share in the bounty. And as the benefits of locally sourced food become more well-known, there has been an increasing demand for farm fresh food to bring to the holiday table.
You can put CT Grown on your plate for every course of the Thanksgiving feast, from the main course to that extra slice of pie. Check out these recommendations for how to include CT Grown foods at this year’s get-together.
More than 100 farms in Connecticut raise turkeys. These farms take pre-orders to prepare for the holiday and manage demand, so reserving your bird early is a good strategy.
When preparing a farm fresh turkey, be aware that it tends to be ready sooner than a store-bought turkey. That’s because a farm fresh turkey has a higher moisture content, allowing it to roast faster — and giving an unbeatable, succulent taste!
Roast for about 12 to 15 minutes per pound at 325 degrees. Monitor the turkey carefully, and check regularly about an hour before you expect that it will be finished. The turkey will be done when its internal temperature reaches 165 degrees.
Looking for a turkey alternative this year? Farms raising turkeys often have other poultry as well, such as chickens, geese, and ducks. You could even take home a few different birds to try your hand at a turducken!
There are countless recipes for stuffing, so there’s plenty of room for creativity when it comes to this particular dish. Whether you’re using a cookbook recipe or one passed down through the generations, you can find plenty of the necessary ingredients at CT Grown farms. Some common options include sausage, mushrooms, onions, carrots, garlic, herbs, or apples.
Potatoes are easy to grow and produce a bountiful harvest, so many CT Grown farms dedicate some of their land to this crop. Use some locally grown potatoes for the traditional favorite of mashed potatoes, or try a unique option like scalloped potatoes, potatoes au gratin, or a potato bake mixed with local vegetables.
Potato sides are often prepared with dairy products like milk, butter, or cheese. Choose products from one of Connecticut’s family dairy farms when purchasing these ingredients!
Sweet potatoes are always a hit at Thanksgiving dinner, but don’t overlook the many varieties of winter squash grown in Connecticut. Check out options like acorn, butternut, delicata, and spaghetti squash to try something new.
Plenty of greens are still in season, including green beans and Brussels sprouts. You can also find leafy greens, cucumbers, and tomatoes for a CT Grown side salad.
CT Grown farms can also be a good source of ingredients for dishes like Relleno de pavo, a sweet and savory stuffing made with ground meat, chorizo, bacon, apple, raisins, and more.
Cranberries are a very minor crop in Connecticut. However, there is one commercial-scale cranberry bog operating in Killingworth and selling the resulting products locally.
If you want a local alternative — or supplement — to the traditional cranberry sauce, consider putting together some homemade applesauce. It’s a great way to use up some of the apples you get from an orchard!
Connecticut is home to more than 45 farm wineries, all offering delicious and unique vintages to pair with your Thanksgiving dinner. Have at least three options available for your guests: a white or rosé as a starter, a light- or medium-bodied wine for the main course, and a sweeter option like Riesling or port to go with dessert.
Prepare a few seasonal goodies in advance, and you’ll have some delicious desserts to enjoy once you’ve had a moment to digest. Visit an orchard to choose your own selection of apples to bake into scrumptious apple pie, bars, fritters, and other treats. And, if you are short on time, many offer “grab and go” prepared pies or other baked goods.
Connecticut’s dairy farms are a good source for dessert ingredients as well. Look for locally sourced cheese, ice cream, or whipped cream for a pie topping.
Last but not least, pick CT Grown for the floral arrangements you’ll have at the dinner table. Flowers are a major part of Connecticut agriculture, with the state ranking 9th in the nation in total greenhouse and nursery sales. Locally sourced flowers are easy to find at a Connecticut greenhouse, nursery, or garden center.
Look for flowers in yellow, orange, and red to evoke and celebrate the fall season. Some options include carnations, daisies, mums, roses, and sunflowers.
Getting some CT Grown products into your daily diet is easier than you might think. Here are 10 ways you can include CT Grown on your plate each day.
1. Look local for your morning eggs
If you like to cook up an omelet to get you going in the morning, take a look around your neighborhood to see where you might be able to pick up some fresh eggs. Many farms keep small flocks of chickens, and offer eggs at their farm store. Connecticut also has several large egg producers, selling products under brands like Eggland’s Best, The Farmers Cow, and Hillandale Farms.
2. Sign up for a dairy delivery
Several Connecticut dairy farms are working to bring the milkman back to our neighborhoods. You can find options for delivery services that bring fresh supplies of milk, yogurt, and cheese right to your doorstep. Some farms pair this offering with other CT Grown products, making it even easier to get your groceries and support your local farmers.
3. Pack a CT Grown apple for lunch
More than 2,000 acres in Connecticut are dedicated to growing apples, and bountiful harvests of this fruit are readily available from July to October. Visit an orchard to pick your own apples, then pack an apple with your lunch each day. Since apples store well, you can continue to find fresh apples from orchards throughout the winter and into the early spring.
4. Look for locally sourced items at your favorite restaurant
Several restaurants in Connecticut commit to partnerships with local farms to acquire seasonal items and staples such as dairy, meats, and shellfish. When local food is on the menu, you can enjoy fresh, seasonal items and discover delicious new varieties and cuts.
Be sure to check out CT Farm-to-Chef Week from September 9-16, 2023. This annual occasion showcases venues that use CT Grown food for their dishes and beverages, giving you a chance to discover new eateries with a farm-to-table commitment.
5. Find CT Grown when grocery shopping
Connecticut farms often partner with wholesalers and retailers to make their products available at local grocery stores and food co-ops. Look for the CT Grown logo to find food items that are produced locally. Some stores also feature special displays to showcase value-added products from Connecticut producers, such as honey, sauces, maple syrup, and salsas.
6. Make a local farm your meat market
Connecticut farms raise a wide variety of meats, including beef, pork, chicken, turkey, and even specialty items like bison and emu. A visit to one of these farms not only lets you discover new cuts, but also gives you the option to purchase large shares of meat to freeze for future meals.
7. Stock up on local wines
Connecticut is home to 45 licensed farm wineries featuring scenic vineyards and beautiful tasting rooms. In addition to picking up local options when shopping for wine, you can also sign up for a membership, wine club, or Adopt-A-Vine program that lets you regularly pick up new vintages or enjoy discounts when you visit a winery.
8. Use pick-your-own for your baking needs
Pick-your-own farms give you a chance to get out in the fields and orchards to select fresh seasonal items like apples, berries, peaches, pears, and pumpkins. Farms invite visitors to purchase these products in bulk, and you can put these larger quantities to good use with mouthwatering baking options like pies, breads, and muffins that use locally sourced ingredients.
9. Become a regular at the farmers’ market
By visiting a farmers’ market each week for some of your grocery shopping, you can discover new varieties of produce, custom cuts of meat, homemade sauces and jams, and much more. You can also talk directly with local farmers to get advice on how to best prepare and store your food.
10. Start researching CSAs now
Many farms participate in Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) programs, where you purchase a portion of a farm’s harvest in advance and regularly pick up shares of fresh produce during the growing season; CSAs are also available for products like flowers, meat, and cheese. Farmers begin welcoming sign-ups for CSA programs at the beginning of the year, but you can start looking into options near you to find one that fits your needs.
Connecticut Open House Day will be celebrated on June 10, 2023, and we’re delighted to see so many CT Grown attractions on the list of participants! Check out what’s going on at Connecticut’s farms, farmers’ markets, wineries, breweries, and distilleries during the day. Several museums and historic sites are also showcasing how agriculture has played a vital role in the state’s history.
Farms and producers
Ambler Farm, Wilton — Farmstand and Transplant Sale: Visitors are invited to check out Ambler Farm’s farmstand and transplant sale, which runs every Saturday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. All seeds are grown in the greenhouse using an organic, compost based, biologically active potting soil and then tended to by Ambler Farm’s farmers and dedicated volunteers.
Boho Farm, East Haddam — Open House: Visit the farm animals, walk through the garden, visit the shop, and bring a lunch to enjoy at the picnic tables. Runs from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Bradley Mountain Farm, Southington — Walking Tours: This historic farm will offer walking tours of its trails and pastures at 12:30 p.m. and 2 p.m. After the tours, you can view the babies and goat families playing and relaxing.
Chakana Sky Alpacas, Chester — Visitors Welcome: Say hello to the farm’s 17 alpacas and share some treats with them. Visitors are also invited to stop by the “Pacatique” farm store. Runs from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Creamery Brook Bison, Brooklyn — Festival at the Farm: The Festival at the Farm features wagon rides to visit the farm’s bison, donkey rides, food trucks, craft vendors, and more. Admission is $5 per person. No dogs.
Glendale Farms, Milford — Visitors Welcome: Glendale Farms is a flower and horse farm specializing in flowering annuals and vegetable plants. The farm is open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and welcoming visitors on Connecticut Open House Day.
Hogan’s Cider Mill, Burlington — Free Round of Mini-Golf: PGA golf pro Chet Dunlop and his wife Theresa Clifford Dunlop preserved this historic cider mill when they established the New England School of Golf on the back of the property, and it continues to produce sweet and hard ciders. Hogan’s Cider Mill is offering a free round of miniature golf to all visitors on Connecticut Open House Day.
Husky Meadows Farm, Norfolk — Guided Tours: Farmer Brett Ellis leads behind-the-scenes tours of the farm, including the farm kitchen and guest rooms of their Seed & Spoon Farm Stays.
Lyman Orchards, Middlefield — Free Children’s Program: Oboist Fing-Fei Khan and English hornist Charles Huang play a short concert at 10 a.m., inspired by poems, folk tales, folk songs, myths, and fables from around the world. At 11 a.m., they’ll perform an interactive concert (designed for ages 6 to 13) based on the fable of the Cricket and the Ant, teaching children the fundamental elements of music (tempo, pitch, and dynamics) through active listening, imagination, and interaction with the performers.
Smyth’s Trinity Farm, Enfield — Guided Tours: A walking tour of a fourth-generation farm that cares for a herd of 40 cows and bottles their own milk in glass. The tour visits the barns, pastures, and bottling facility.
Starberry Farm, Washington Depot — Visitors Welcome: Take a walk through this beautiful hilltop orchard and learn more about integrated pest management and tree fruit.
Stone Acres Farm/Yellow Farmhouse Education Center, Stonington — Culinary Demonstration and Tasting: The Stone Acres Farmstead provides a culinary tasting and demonstration between 10 a.m. and 11:30 a.m., then offers a guided tour of the property from 11:30 a.m. to noon.
Strong Family Farm, Vernon — Tours and Tag Sale: From 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., this nonprofit community farm —the last active historic farm in Vernon — will offer tours and have a “Junk in the Trunk” tag sale. Open 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., tours of the property will be held at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. No pets.
White Gate Farm, East Lyme — Visitors Welcome, and Giveaway: Visitors are invited to explore the farm’s growing fields, beehives, trails, and tractors; you can also feed the lambs, hens, and chicks. The first 15 new people spending $25 or more at the farmstand (open 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.) will receive a free bag of White Gate Farm’s washed organic salad greens or a similar item. Please supervise children climbing on tractors.
Litchfield Farmers Market, Litchfield — Saturday Market: The Litchfield Farmers Market will be open on Connecticut Open House Day with more than 15 vendors offering fresh local produce and goods. The market is held year-round, and this event will be the last indoor market of the season at the Litchfield Community Center.
Breweries, distilleries, and wineries
Aquila’s Nest Vineyards, Sandy Hook — Guided Tours: This vineyard and event venue is offering guided tours of the 40-acre grounds with the owner and winemaker. Tours will take place at noon and 6 p.m.
Gouveia Vineyards, Wallingford — Free 4×4 Rides: Groups of up to five can enjoy a free 4×4 vehicle ride to tour the grounds of Gouveia Vineyards.
Sunset Meadow Vineyards, Goshen — Discounts: Sunset Meadow Vineyards is offering a 10 percent discount on the purchase of 12 bottles, and is offering wine slushies for $10.
Two Roads Brewing, Stratford — Guided Tours and Vendors: Free brewery tours and taster glasses are available for visitors ages 21 and older. Two Roads Brewing will also have an outdoor vendor market and an evening concert featuring The C-Sides.
Waypoint Spirits, Bloomfield — Tours and Tastings: This distillery will be offering free tours and tastings of its Connecticut-made spirits.
Westford Hill Distillers, Ashford — Guided Tours and Discounts: Reserve a tour of this 200-acre property, New England’s first craft distillery, and enjoy a 50 percent discount on a tasting. Picnic lunches are welcome, but pets are not allowed.
Paradise Hills Vineyard, Wallingford – Discounts – Paradise Hill Vineyards, in honor of National Rosé Day, is offering a 10 percent discount on the purchase of their of Rosé selection: Washington Trail Rosé and La Bella Rosa.
Museums and historical societies
Atwood Farm Museum at Joshua’s Trust, Mansfield — Demonstrations: Learn more about 19th century farming at this historic farmstead. Demonstrations are ongoing from noon to 4 p.m.
Blue Slope Country Museum, Franklin — Free Admission: Open 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. Free admission. See historical agricultural tools and implements. Learn about the many aspects of farming and rural living from 1600s to 1950s. No dogs.
Brookside Farm Museum, East Lyme — Guided Tours: This museum gives a historical view of agriculture and domestic life between 1845 and 1955. On Connecticut Open House Day, it will be offering guided tours and a chance to meet the new curator.
Cheshire Historical Society, Cheshire — Strawberry Festival and Farming History: This house museum is located on the First Congregational Church Green, which will be hosting a strawberry festival on Connecticut Open House Day. Visitors are invited to see the museum for free and learn more about the town’s farming history.
Deacon John Grave House and Grounds, Madison — Antique Farming Equipment: Guided tours of this 1685 house, its gardens, and its Native Plant Walk will be provided between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. The event will also feature a hearth cooking demonstration and display of Colonial farm tools.
The Dudley Farm Museum, Guilford — Visitors Welcome: This historic homestead maintains a small working farm with chickens, flower and herb gardens, and a community garden. Visitors are invited to tour the property and check out the weekly farmers’ market, running 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
Friends of the Valley Falls, Vernon — Heritage Center Opening: A nonprofit volunteer organization dedicated to improving Valley Falls Park and Valley Falls Park, Friends of the Valley Falls will debut its heritage center on Connecticut Open House Day. Explore the history of the “Gentleman’s Farm” and its historic buildings, including a stable, dairy barn, root cellar, piggery, and more.
Hands-On History & Free Family Fun, Lebanon — Agricultural Activities: Numerous hands-on activities are taking place at the Lebanon Historical Society Museum & Jonathan Trumbull Jr. House from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. These include agricultural activities like grinding corn and churning butter.
Harwinton Historical Society, Harwinton — Antique Farming Equipment: The Harwinton Historical Society will be opening their 1840 one-room schoolhouse and barn to visitors, with antique farming equipment on display at the barn.
Hilltop Farm, Suffield — Open Barn Event: The Friends of Hilltop Farm welcomes visitors to explore this farmstead and its enormous white barn. Activities include a beekeeping demonstration by the Hampden County Beekeepers Association, an agriscience program on caring for chickens from Suffield Chicks, a vintage baseball game, and a scavenger hunt.
Nellie McKnight Museum, Ellington — Barnyard Babies Farm Day: Get an up-close look at baby farm animals. The museum also includes an exhibit on the farming history of Ellington. No dogs.
Shelton Historical Society, Shelton — Plant a Pumpkin Patch: Free admission from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Visitors are invited to be a farmer for a day and help plant the pumpkin patch the old-fashioned way, then take home a seedling to nurture.
Stanley-Whitman House, Farmington — Garden Tours and Cooking Demonstrations: A historical interpreter at this c. 1720 historic house will present different styles of Colonial cooking throughout the day. The Dooryard Garden Society will also be on hand to talk about indigenous and colonial plants and how they were used for medicinal and culinary purposes.
Thankful Arnold House Museum, Haddam — Lavender Activity: Stop by this historic house and herb garden from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and learn how Widow Thankful Arnold used herbs, vegetables, and plants in her cooking, dyeing, fragrance, and medicine. Visitors will also have the opportunity to make a lavender sachet.
Windsor Historical Society, Windsor — Herb Garden Q&A: In addition to free tours, the Windsor Historical Society is presenting an “Herb Garden Q&A” from 10 a.m. to noon. Becky Hendricks, a culinary expert and herb gardener, will discuss commonly used herbs in early Connecticut.
A full list of this year’s participating organizations can be found on CT Visit.
Part of the fun (and frustration) of holiday shopping is finding the right gift for everyone on your list. While checking out your local businesses this season, don’t forget to include Connecticut farmers and producers!
You can find excellent gift options at winter farmers’ markets, and at farm stores and websites. Here are a few ways you can give a CT Grown gift to a loved one this year:
Find their jam
While harvest season is over in Connecticut, there are still plenty of delicious CT Grown items available. Each year, part of the harvest goes toward value-added products like jams, jellies, salsas, pickles, relishes, dips, and sauces. These are often made from family recipes that have been passed down for generations.
Enroll them in a CT Grown class or retreat
Many Connecticut farms and producers are happy to share their knowledge, hosting classes and workshops. These events provide a great way to learn about what crops thrive in Connecticut and how you can support sustainable agriculture at your own home.
Sign up a loved one for:
- Gardening classes that cover topics like seasonal planting, garden care, seed collection, and pest control
- Culinary classes that guide you through how to turn your backyard harvest into a tasty meal, making a charcuterie board, local wine and cheese pairings, and more
- Beekeeping classes to assist you with starting or maintaining a hive
- Daylong or weekend farm retreats where you get a hands-on experience of harvesting and cooking
Don’t leave the little ones off the list, either. Some cooking courses are designed with children in mind, and provide a firsthand education on where their food comes from. You can also register them in a farm camp or one of three weeklong 4-H camps.
Sign them up for a CSA membership
Give the gift of fresh food throughout the coming year. Numerous farms participate in Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) programs, which allow participants to pay for a portion of the next harvest in advance.
Several products are available through CSAs, ranging from cut flowers to meat to fruits and vegetables, and shares are usually available for pickup each week between June and October.
As an added bonus, farms often accompany their CSA shares with useful supplements like a newsletter with recipes for preparing each week’s bounty. A great gift for someone who likes to cook and is always in need of fresh ingredients!
Send some food by mail
More and more CT Grown farms are embracing ecommerce, with some hosting online stores where you can conveniently order food to be delivered or mailed. There are Connecticut shellfish companies that can mail oysters caught the same day, meat producers who will travel locally to drop off a cooler with some chops or steaks, and farms that ship gift boxes of apples, pears, and other items.
You can also find subscription boxes featuring CT Grown goods. These companies often partner with local farms to regularly mail a box bursting with delicious food items, including meats, cheeses, and jams. Some boxes also offer items made from animal products, such as soaps and skin care products (see below).
Toast them with local libations
Pick up a bottle of wine from one of the 45 farm wineries that make up Connecticut Wine Country. Alternatively, you can sign them up for membership in one of the many wine clubs or adopt-a-vine programs offered by these wineries.
Other gift options include a selection of beer from a craft brewery, hard cider from an orchard or craft cidery, spirits from a local distillery, or “honey wine” from one of Connecticut’s growing number of meaderies. Many of these businesses enjoy a close relationship with CT Grown farms, incorporating the flavors of locally produced fruits and herbs into their beverages.
Get them ready for gardening season
Hundreds of Connecticut farms grow flowers and produce potting soil, seeds, compost, and other products that can assist home gardeners. Some farms also offer unique garden products, such as potting plants sustainably made from cow manure or specialized plant varieties.
Browse your local greenhouse or garden center to see what’s available!
Find some wood goods
Connecticut has a small but vibrant woodland economy, and wood products sustainably harvested from the state’s forests can be labeled as CT Grown.
Look for a CT Grown producer of gift items like carved bowls, cutting boards, coasters, or game boards. If you’re looking to spend a bit more, you can also find fine furniture carved by Connecticut artisans using local wood.
Warm them up with fiber products
If you know someone who’s planning to spend the winter under a quilt, visit a local fiber producer to browse their selection of goods. Connecticut farmers collect fiber from sheep, alpaca, and Angora goats; produce yarn from this fiber; and often sell finished products as well.
Popular products include blankets, hats, mittens, scarves, and sweaters. You can also find rugs and knitted craft items, such as stuffed animals and jewelry.
Find CT Grown personal care products
Some CT Grown producers do a brisk trade in personal care products, including lip balms, lotions, deodorants, and chapsticks. Apiaries frequently sell these items alongside their honey, using beeswax to help the skin retain moisture.
Farms producing milk from cows, sheep, or goats sometimes use it to create soap. These soaps are said to be particularly useful for sensitive skin, as they can help moisturize, prevent wrinkles, and keep acne at bay.
Get a box of cigars with Connecticut tobacco
Connecticut has a long history of producing tobacco, and still holds a place of honor among cigar aficionados. A box of cigars wrapped in CT Grown tobacco makes a fine gift for someone who enjoys the occasional smoke.
Two varieties of tobacco are grown in Connecticut, each with their own distinct flavor profile. Shade tobacco has a subtly sweet taste, offering notes like vanilla, cream, and graham cracker. Broadleaf tobacco is darker and bolder, with a flavor described as earthy or similar to dark chocolate.
Finding the perfect Thanksgiving wines
You wouldn’t settle for just one course for your Thanksgiving dinner. So why limit your selection of wines?
Having at least three different options available will let you have the perfect wine for every part of the occasion. The farm wineries and vineyards in Connecticut Wine Country have plenty of options to choose from.
A glass of white wine is an excellent way to greet your guests while meal preparations are underway. For the dinner itself, light- or medium-bodied wines are preferable to full-bodied ones, which can compete with the rich flavors of the dinner. LaCrescent, Cayuga, and Frontenac are all options that work well with your Thanksgiving spread.
When it’s time to bring out dessert, offer a sweeter option. Pop the cork on a bottle of Riesling, ice wine, or port to close out the feast.
Pairing wine with the right gift
A bottle of wine from a Connecticut winery makes an excellent present for the holidays. Consider one of these gifts as well for a perfect pairing.
Does your loved one’s collection of wine glasses need some refreshing? Give them a new set of stemware so they can enjoy their wine in style.
Wine isn’t such a great gift if there isn’t a good way to open it. Throw in a higher quality corkscrew, and you’ll be able to pop the top right away.
Many wineries in Connecticut Wine Country offer shirts, hats, and other apparel at their tasting rooms. If your loved one is a particularly devoted fan of a venue, pick up a piece of clothing when you purchase your wine.
Have that bottle of wine be the start of a closer relationship with a favorite vineyard. Several venues offer wine clubs, where members regularly receive the latest varietals.
Enroll a loved one in an Adopt-A-Vine program, which not only helps support the growth of a farm winery but offers special perks such as a vineyard tour when you come to pick up your bottle of wine.
Invite your loved one to indulge themselves with a bar or two of delicious chocolate. Use dark chocolate if you bought a full-bodied wine or milk chocolate if you made a lighter selection.
Add a gift certificate to encourage a tasting room experience, attendance at a special event at the winery, or to restock their collection at home.
Get on board with charcuterie
Charcuterie is a perfect way to wow a crowd ahead of your Thanksgiving dinner, serve your guests at a Christmas party, or simply enjoy a light snack while sipping on wine.
The typical charcuterie board includes a selection of cured meats and cheeses, but there are endless ways to feature other small bites as well. These might include olives, dried fruits, nuts, crackers, and a selection of dips and spreads.
When pairing charcuterie with wine, it’s best to go for a balanced option that can complement the array of flavors. Chardonnay, Merlot, Frontenac Gris, and Pinot Noir all work well for this purpose.
Your selection can also be influenced by what’s on the board. Spicier options will demand a more full-bodied wine, while lighter fare can be paired with a mild option.
Mull your options
Many of the vineyards on the Connecticut Wine Trail have active orchards that produced a bounty of apples this year, and others partnered with local farms at harvest time. The result is an array of tasty apple wines!
Apple wines pair perfectly with salads with crumbled blue cheese, dessert boards piled with chocolate and salted and roasted nuts, or a steaming crock of chicken and dumplings.
With the colder weather comes mulled wine, prepared warm with spices and ingredients like honey, brandy, and orange. It’s the perfect way to relax and stay toasty at the end of the day.
And while the sun has set on rosé season, you can still pick up a bottle or two of this summer favorite, to tide you over until the long warm days of spring return.
Do we hear wedding bells in the distance? If you became engaged over the holidays, congratulations! Right now you’re probably just starting your to-do list. Wedding planning season ramps up in February so if you’re thinking about venues now, you’re way ahead of the game.
There are so many options to explore, but a farm venue is definitely worth checking out.
Consider these advantages:
- Scenery: Like, incredible scenery. Rolling hills, gardens of flowers, ancient trees, vineyards, ponds and streams, and wide blue skies.
- Space: Space for kids to run around; for the most lavish or most simple ceremonies; for chairs pitched around a bonfire and stories long into the evening. Space for parking, for lawn games, for both the ceremony and reception AND photos you’ll want to keep forever.
- Creativity: With nature as your stunning backdrop, everything else is just a gorgeous detail. Hang long strings of lights from the barn rafters or lanterns from the trees. Set your tables with overflowing flower arrangements or place a simple daisy in a glass near each plate. The magic of a farm setting lends beauty to the simplest or most elaborate decor.
- Privacy: With trees and fields as neighbors, you won’t have to stress about the kids laughing too loudly, or your cousins singing along with the band – off-key.
Get started! If you’re already giving serious thought to your setting – a rustic barn with green fields, a stone patio bordered by wildflower gardens, or a farm winery overlooking the ocean – visit CTGrown.org and search for “events.” And happy planning!
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Enjoy a glass of wine by the fire or send someone special their favorite wine from a Connecticut Farm Winery!
Through the long afternoon light of autumn, or the pink-blue skies of summer; through winter’s white fields or spring’s green and flowering trees, a drive to a Connecticut farm winery is always in season.
Wineries welcome fall and winter visitors with fire blazing in a cozy hearth and tasting rooms warmed by live music and the laughter of friends. Spring and summer invite picnics, festivals, and spectacular sunsets.
No matter where you travel in our beautiful state, there is a winery within an hour. The wines of Connecticut are cultivated in our rich coastal soil – land that has sustained life here for generations. Plan an excursion, and be prepared to be indulged by the caliber of Connecticut wines.
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