This Valentine’s Day, you can sweep your Valentines off their feet at the same time you also warm their hearts with a thoughtful gift that supports a good cause: buying locally. The Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS) has a multitude of suggestions for making this special day even more special.
Does your sweetheart go out of his way to purchase from local farmers? Does she buy from local boutiques featuring the work of area artisans? Then Buying Local for Valentine’s Day makes sense on so many levels. Here are some tips from VDACS about Buying Local this February 14:
- Present her with the makings of a complete romantic dinner. Start with soup or appetizers from the Virginia’s Finest line. See www.vafinest.com for suggestions. Choices for the entree run from seafood to prime rib, a fancy chicken dish to a succulent lamb roast. Be sure to serve one or two Virginia wines. You’ll find listings of all of Virginia’s wineries at www.virginiawine.org. End with a fabulous dessert or box of chocolates.
- For the table, a charming flowering plant from a local greenhouse grower might fit the bill.
- Local gift choices include warm wool slippers; a hand-knit sweater; a basket brimming with scented soaps, lotions and candles; or a comfy blanket made from Virginia’s Finest wool or alpaca fiber.
- If cooking or shopping isn’t your strong point, take your Valentine to a restaurant that serves local foods and wines. You may have to do some research, but it will be worth it when you say, “You know, we could have gone to This CafÃ© or That Restaurant. They also prepare local foods. I chose this place, however, because they’re famous for their local food and wine pairings.”
- If he’s really serious about buying local, give the gift that keeps on giving, a subscription to a local CSA (Community Supported Agriculture). He’ll get baskets of fresh fruits and vegetables all growing season long, as well as herbs, eggs, honey and other local products picked at the peak of freshness. You’ll find listings at www.virginiagrown.com.
- Whisk her off to a charming Bed and Breakfast, lodge or cabin on one of Virginia’s farms or plantations. You’ll find listings at http://www.vdacs.virginia.gov/news/c-tourism.shtml. Be sure to book dinner at a local winery. You’ll find those resources on the same site.
- If he’s the outdoorsy type, plan a special event like horse back riding or a tour of one of Virginia’s famous farms. From Mount Vernon to Cyrus McCormick’s farm, you’ll find all sorts of ideas at www.vdacs.virginia.gov/news/c-tourism.shtml.
This Valentine’s Day consumers will find plenty of local choices for glamorous gifts to fit any budget, and they need look no farther than their local grocer, specialty shop or computer to find Virginia-made gifts for the year’s most romantic holiday.