Champaign, Ill. (WCIA)

The Land Connection envisions community-based food systems in which every farmer has the opportunity to protect our environment by growing food in a sustainable manner and every person has access to local, nutritious foods. Today Kelly Lay joins us to showcase an easy and entertaining win using local specialties – a local themed “grazing board”!

Here in Central Illinois, we have some of the best local food out there! Let that amazing quality carry the workload with some easy entertaining ideas from your local food friends at The Land Connection.

  1. A few key substitutions can have big impacts – buying local this Thanksgiving can be as simple as swapping dry big store offerings for fresh products from local farmers. We love freshly dug sweet potatoes, crisp local lettuce or creamy local milk for big flavor hits without a big cost. If you see ultra rare local celery … we think that might be the best of all!
  2. Grazing boards are a great way to showcase the diversity of offerings available locally to fit your budget and entertaining needs. We especially love bringing a beautiful local grazing board as a host / hostess gift! Award winning local Prairie Fruits Farm and Creamery cheese always makes our boards (try “Little Bloom on the Prairie”!) and we’ll be sure to snag some bakery goodies from amazing area bakers like Martinelli’s or vegan bakery Feel Good Flour. There is a BIG world of options packed into our little local area!
  3. And don’t forget a great local cocktail! TLC staff are all regulars at our beloved local kombucha bar Cloud Mountain Kombucha. Start there for an amazing mocktail and you won’t be disappointed. Attendees to The Land Connection’s Organic Grain Conference will recognize the growers, brewers, and all around amazing team behind Down East Vodka – the Glazik Brother’s farm just north of Champaign produces the grain for their amazing locally distilled product.

The best part? Shopping for local can be just as much fun as enjoying it! You’ll catch TLC staff out and about all holiday season visiting one stop farm stands like Prairie Fruits Farm and Creamery (who doesn’t love saying hi to the goats!), strolling through bustling holiday Winter Farmers Markets, or saying hi to our friends at Common Ground Cooperative Grocery store. We look forward to seeing you out there!

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