As new farmers, Mr. B and I have overwhelmingly long wish lists, mostly spotlighting equipment we need to work our land and survive rural life—generators, mowers, tractors, chainsaws, barns, tractors. These things obviously don’t come cheap. While we can attest that beginning farmers will always be grateful for a practical gift, we also appreciate Santa’s surprises: things that celebrate our newfound lifestyle but we wouldn’t necessarily buy for ourselves. If you have a beginning farmer on your list this year, here are some fun treats.
Hand-Printed Gardening Tees
Who can’t use a good T-shirt? We love the new Ironweed Apparel line from Hobby Farms contributor Jessica Walliser and her husband. The duo worked with a local artist to create designs that have sassy gardening references and are hand-printed using old-school screen-printing techniques—our favorites are the “Sow?” and “Chlorophyll Junkie” designs. Inside scoop: Jessica said new designs are in the works, so stay tuned!
A Craft That Doubles As Art
There’s something about the dark of winter that calls you to really lean into R&R time. If you’re like me and are itching for something to do until the seed catalogs start rolling in, a quick craft that doubles as wall art, like cross stitching, is just what I need to get through the winter lull. Find a modern farm- or food-related design that your farmer will like on a crafting site, like Etsy, and compile a little kit with all the essentials to get the project started. Maybe even throw in a frame so that they can hang it as décor once finished.
I love the idea of gifting my friends and family with eggs from my chickens and ducks—once I get the coop built and the flock started, that is. These sweet egg stamps offer a fun way to add an extra surprise to a homegrown treat.
Farmers Market Crayons
Have you jumped onto the coloring book craze yet? I have, and these oh-so-fun homemade crayons molded into the shapes of my favorite crops would be a fun way to wind down from a stressful day.
This egg-harvesting apron from Fluffy Layers is both practical and adorable. If your farmer isn’t of the egg-gathering breed, though, the shop also has kitchen aprons, as well as farm-inspired oven mitts, tea towels, tote bags and cell-phone cases.
Inspiring Farm Reads
Nothing beats snuggling in front of the woodstove with a good book, especially after a busy harvest season that left little time to read. Give your newbie farmer the extra boost of confidence and motivation they need to get 2017 started on the right foot with Letters To A Young Farmer (2016), a compilation of notes from food and farming greats, including Dan Barber, Wendell Berry, Elliot Coleman, Alice Waters and Temple Grandin.
One of our favorite wedding gifts, which came from my Hobby Farms co-workers, was a customized sign with the name of our farm and the date established, and I think any beginning farmer would love one in their stocking, as well. To find a design that suits your farmer, browse a number of handmade signs on maker sites, like Etsy, or check out your local art and craft fairs.
Many gardeners are extremely organized and diligent about their garden notetaking—I am no such gardener. I treat my garden planting more like an artist’s palette than a scientific system, putting happy little seedlings in the dirt where they will seem the most cozy. I know, this probably isn’t the smartest way to grow food, but that’s how my brain works. I find plant labels extremely helpful in keeping track of my work, especially ones that won’t wither or decay in the elements. Choose markers made from metal or ceramics, and if your gardener can write the plant names on the markers, even better.