The Modern Farmer Gift Guide - Modern Farmer

The Modern Farmer Gift Guide

Our pros share their favorite cast-iron skillets, cookbooks, wellies, pruners, and more - ensuring that everyone on your list receives the field-tested best.


“I use my Leatherman Wave every single day, though I jokingly call it a Leatherwoman. This one supremely awesome gadget functions as 17 different tools, including a knife, pliers, and flat- and Phillips-head screwdrivers.” (Wave multi-tool,$91; Susan Paykin, Common Ground Farm; Beacon, NY



“Contrary to popular belief, ranchers don’t always wear Stetsons. During Montana’s cold winters, many cowboys prefer the warmth of a Stormy Kromer wool cap with a pull-down earband.” (Original cap,$45; Todd Klassy, Photographer; Havre, MT

“I can’t do my job in anything but a work shirt from Duluth Trading Company; the female farmers I photograph feel the same way. Along with a gape-proof button placket and underarm gussets, this moisture-wicking flannel shirt hides a microfiber shammy, for wiping lenses and phone screens, inside the front hem.” (Women’s cross-cut wicking flannel shirt, $55; Audra Mulkern, Photographer and Founder, The Female Farmer Project; Seattle

“Carhartt’s moderately priced double-front dungarees are a farm girl’s dream – a slim-fit cut, fabric that gives, a reasonably high waist. Hallelujah!” (Series 1889 slim double-front dungaree, $55; Caitlin Bergman, Copia Farm; Johnstown, OH

“I’m often tending crops in muddy fields or chasing my ducks home through a stream, so I ask a lot of rubber wellies. These, from Joules, keep the water out via adjustable side clasps that ensure a tight fit up top, plus they have sturdy soles constructed like tire treads.” (Women’s field rain boots, $75; Angela Ferraro-Fanning, Axe and Root Homestead; Whitehouse Station, NJ

“Everlane’s classic twill weekend bag has just the right amount of room for a few days’ essentials, and I love the company’s mission of ‘radical transparency’ in terms of pricing and sourcing.” (Women’s twill weekender, $98; Nicole Bernard Dawes, Founder and CEO, Late July Snacks; Boston



“To keep records and jot down random ideas, I stash pocket-size Field Notes journals in my car, in my backpack, and at my winery. Luckily, they come in sets of three.” (31/2″ x 51/2″ruled memo books, 3 for $10; Kenny Likitprakong, Founder, The Hobo Wine Company; Santa Rosa, CA



“What farmer doesn’t like pie?! This handmade pie basket has a removable raised tray that lets you tote two desserts at a time.” (Pie basket, $70; Tallahassee May, Turnbull Creek Farm; Bon Aqua, TN


“If you’re shopping for someone picky, consider a gift certificate from SHED, the food and farming mecca in Healdsburg, California.” ( Naomi Starkman, Editor-in-Chief, Civil Eats; Petaluma, CA




“Indulge a vegetable-lover with the Chiba peel slicer. It turns beets, carrots, potatoes, and other hard veggies into thin sheets, ideal for pickling or boiling as ‘noodles.’” (Chiba Peel S Turning Slicer, $265; Jamie Simpson, Executive Chef, The Chef’s Garden and the Culinary Vegetable Institute; Huron, OH



“Just a dab of Farmacy’s hard-core salve heals dry, cracked skin. And the honey scent is super subtle. Plus, for every tube sold, the company donates a dollar to bee-related causes.” (Honey Savior all-in-one skin repair salve, 1.6 ounces, $34; Sara Morrow, Deputy Editor, Modern Farmer



“Grown in California from heirloom Italian seed, Rancho Gordo’s Marcella beans – named for the late Italian cookbook author Marcella Hazan – are the most delicious white beans on the market.” (1-pound bag, $7; Dorothy Kalins, Former Editor-in-Chief, Saveur and Garden Design; New York City



“Give the gift of good fat! For real! After cooking our grass-fed steaks in a cast-iron skillet, I finish them with a bit of this organic chicken fat.” (8-ounce jar, $13; Meagan Burns, Rancho Santo Niño; Dolores Hidalgo, Guanajuato, Mexico



“You can taste the nuances of each ingredient Noble uses to enhance its maple syrup. My favorite? The company’s Tahitian Vanilla Bean & Egyptian Chamomile Blossom.” (450-milliliter bottle, $28; Steven Greene, Executive Chef, The Umstead Hotel and Spa; Cary, NC



“Full Sun’s cold-press process yields sunflower oil that retains the flavor of just-harvested seeds. Less expected, and expensive, than EVOO, it lends a smooth, nutty note to salad dressings, aioli, and pesto.” (16.9-ounce bottle, $8; Donna Williams, Founder and President, Field Goods; Athens, NY



“I’m addicted to Doux South Drunken Tomatoes, pickled in a brine of red wine, basil, and garlic. They’re amazing on salads or pizza, over grilled fish or chicken, and puréed in tomato soup.” (16-ounce jar, 3 for $35; Gena Knox, Founder, Fire & Flavor; Athens, GA


“Think outside the wrapped box, and get someone an experience instead of an object. For my neighbors in mid-coast Maine, I’ll give cooking classes at Salt Water Farm in Lincolnville. If you don’t have a local cooking school, buy a gift certificate for dinner at a restaurant or even a CSA share.” (Class gift certificates from $150; Alissa Hessler, Founder, Urban Exodus; Camden, ME



“My Felco #8 pruners still execute clean cuts, through thick branches and delicate flower stems, after a decade of rough use. They fit my hand like a pair of well-worn gloves, and the red handles mean the tools never get lost.” (#8 pruners, $58; Naomi Starkman, Editor-in-Chief, Civil Eats; Petaluma, CA



“My go-to stocking stuffer, this tiny, portable tin of Maldon sea salt always elicits an outsize reaction. Never have I seen people so stoked to receive a $4 gift.” (0.35-ounce tin, 5 for $20; Natalie Warady, Contributing Editor, Modern Farmer; Boulder, CO


“Unlike most salt cellars, which extend an open invite to splatters, Beehouse’s elegant ceramic containers – available in 10 colors – protect their contents with hinged wooden lids.” (6″ x 31/2″x 31/2″salt boxes,$23 each; Bryant Terry, Chef, Author, and Activist; San Francisco


“For a very special someone, splurge on a Middleton Made professional-grade knife, forged by craftsman Quintin Middleton in his St. Stephen, South Carolina, studio. Hands down, the best-performing, and best-looking, cutlery I’ve encountered.” (10″ slicer, $280; Matt Lee, Co-Author, The Lee Bros. Charleston Kitchen; Charleston, SC


“The 1981 homesteader’s bible Reader’s Digest Back to Basics details how to raise a barn, skin a rabbit, and weave a rug. Be forewarned: Bestow friends with this vintage book, and they may go off the grid.” ( Aliza Eliazarov, Photographer and Contributing Editor, Modern Farmer; Brooklyn



“My wife and I are lemon-juice freaks. We put it in everything: cocktails, vinaigrettes, and a ginger lemonade we whip up by the gallon. This old-school, manual fruit juicer makes all that squeezing a breeze and looks downright sculptural when left out on the counter.” (Fruit Juicer Pro, $50; Ted Lee, Co-Author, The Lee Bros. Charleston Kitchen; Brooklyn



“Hand-turned from solid blocks of maple, cherry, and walnut, Vermont rolling pins are almost too gorgeous to use. Almost. Bonus: You can choose from multiple shapes and sizes and even have them engraved.” (Rolling pins, from $45 each; Jo Ann Liguori, Managing Editor, Modern Farmer



“How much do I adore Pendleton’s Glacier National Park stripe? Well, I’ve already purchased a blanket, log carrier, tote, and suitcase in the pattern. So the moment I learned that the heritage brand had splashed Glacier across a dog coat, too, I knew just what Mr. Chips would find beneath the tree he’ll mark come December.” (Dog coat, from $59; Sarah Gray Miller, Editor-in-Chief, Modern Farmer



“Thanks to an inch-high rim, this incredibly affordable bun pan can do the work of a cookie sheet, a casserole dish, and a roasting pan. I have a bunch that I use for vegetables, pulled pork, brownies . . . the list goes on and on.” (6″ x 10″aluminum bun pan, $3; Peter Severino, Owner, Severino Pasta Company; Westmont, NJ


“Eliot Coleman’s The New Organic Grower, first published in 1989, remains the authority on chemical-free horticulture. The book’s take on succession planting transformed the way we manage our crop plan.” ( Maya Velasco, Culinary Gardener, Greyfield Inn; Cumberland Island, GA



“This cute Garden-in-a-Can kit keeps me in homegrown cilantro, basil, sage, and dill all winter. Package it with Prepara’s Herb Savor – a small storage container that triples the life of fresh cuttings – to deliver long-lasting season’s greetings.” (Garden-in-a-Can herb set, $24; Herb Savor, $30; Nicole Bernard Dawes, Founder and CEO, Late July Snacks; Boston



“Tops on my wish list: a Smithey cast-iron skillet, the ultimate, artisanal lust object for a gal who sears her own grass-fed beef.” (10″-diameter cast-iron skillet, $160; Anya Fernald, CEO, Belcampo; Oakland



“I rely on my KoMo grain mill to grind wheat berries into flour, but it can also process dried beans and non-oily seeds. A major investment, to be sure, this machine will likely outlive me.” (Beechwood KoMo classic grain mill, $499; Kurt Timmermeister, Kurtwood Farms; Vashon Island, WA


“Not many people know that Steven Satterfield, executive chef at Atlanta’s Miller Union, used to front the alt-rock group Silver Lakes. The band’s The Great Pretenders album serves as a stellar soundtrack when I’m cooking with my sons.” ($10; download at Matt Lee, Co-Author, The Lee Bros. Charleston Kitchen; Charleston, SC



“Lemongrass and orange peel imbue Jack Rudy’s tonic water with a refreshing hint of citrus. And the bottle’s pretty enough to live out on the bar.” (17-ounce bottle, $16; Bryant Terry, Chef, Activist, and Author; San Francisco



“This chicken roaster offers a more sophisticated approach to beer-can chicken. Just pour some brew into the central tube, set a chicken on top, pop the pan into the oven, and guzzle the rest of the can.” (Convertible chicken roaster, $30; Dean Carlson, Wyebrook Farm, and Author of Field & Feast; Honey Brooke, PA



“Each Del Maguey Single Village mezcal conveys the character and terroir of the Oaxacan town in which it’s produced. This one, called Vida, comes from San Luis Del Rio. When I take a sip, I recall the faces of the folks who hand-harvest and double-distill the locally grown agave.” (Vida mezcal, 750-milliliter bottle, $35; Michel Nischan, Chef and Founder and CEO, Wholesome Wave; Bridgeport, CT



“Floret Farm stocks unique cut-flower seeds that the big companies don’t. A few easy-to-grow suggestions for newbies: ‘Nimbus’ sweet peas from New Zealand, globe amaranth, and ‘Earl Grey’ larkspur.” (Seed packet, from $4; Hannah Keen, 26th Street Farm; Hastings, NE


“I have a huge heart for the farmers behind Hudson Valley Seed Library. Ken Greene and Doug Muller specialize in open-pollinated vegetable seeds and commission original works of art for each packet.” (Seed packet, $4; Naomi Starkman, Editor-in-Chief, Civil Eats; Petaluma, CA



“My brothers and I bring our 20-quart Grizzly cooler everywhere, whether we’re carrying drinks on the farm or visiting chefs with beef and poultry samples. This made-in-the-USA product keeps ice frozen for up to four days and comes with a lifetime warranty.” (20-quart cooler, $240; Stuart Joyce, VP of Operations, Joyce Farms; Winston-Salem, NC



“Developed by legendary organic farmer Eliot Coleman, this hand tiller is perfect for preparing beds and pulling up weeds by the root.” (Hand tiller, $76; Ryan Graycheck, Culinary Gardener, Greyfield Inn; Cumberland Island, GA



“My husband, Matthew, and I don’t live on our farmland, so we have to pack and bring everything we might need for the day. This insulated water bottle allows me to make iced tea in the morning and drink iced – not lukewarm – tea in the afternoon.” (17-ounce teakwood bottle, $35; Helena Sylvester, Happy Acre Farm; Sunol, CA


“Edna Lewis is my hero. I give her 1976 book, The Taste of Country Cooking, to chef-worshippers because Ms. Lewis is the absolute opposite: Her recipes tell the story of seasonal, resourceful cooking at a time when the whole family played a role in bringing food to the table.” ( Vivian Howard, Chef/Owner, Chef & The Farmer, and Author, Deep Run Roots; Kinston, NC




“Little Seed, a sustainable family farm in Tennessee, crafts 20 different kinds of goat-milk soap. My preferred bar relies on activated charcoal, not chemicals, to deliver a deep clean that’s gentle enough for dry, sensitive skin.” (4 .7-ounce bar, $7; Alissa Hessler, Founder, Urban Exodus; Camden, ME



“Encourage a love of honeybees with this starter hive. Its two handy viewing windows let beginners check on the pollinators’ progress without disturbing the colony.” (Sugar-pine two-deep box starter hive, $229; Lee Jones, Farmer, The Chef’s Garden; Huron, OH



“Christopher Tracy, a chef-turned-winemaker in Bridgehampton, New York, makes VerVino vermouth by fortifying wine with brandy, local honey, and some 40 different botanicals. I serve it as an aperitif, over a single cube of ice.” (750-milliliter bottle, $28; Dorothy Kalins, Former Editor-in-Chief, Saveur and Garden Design; New York City



“Tamara White doesn’t just hand-sew and -tie each duvet she sells; the Vermont farmer also raises and shears the Shetland, Cormo, Merino, Cotswold, and Wensleydale sheep whose wool fills her cotton-covered comforters. I know what you’re thinking, down devotees, but trust me: The moisture-wicking fiber is as comfy come spring as it is cozy in colder months.” (Queen-size wool-filled duvet, $225; Monica Michael Willis, Editor-at-Large, Modern Farmer



“When I was a boy, my grandmother always delegated apple-peeling to me. As an adult, I went in search of an apple peeler like Grandma’s and found this new cast-iron gizmo. It does the job just like I remember.” (Cast-iron apple peeler, $25; Todd Klassy, Photographer; Havre, MT



“I was an early adopter of the chef’s aprons manufactured by Tilit NYC, which launched in 2012. I already owned more than a dozen when the company asked me to collaborate on this design in late 2015. I went with durable duck canvas, milled in Georgia, inset pockets, and an adjustable neckstrap, held in place by a handcrafted leather fastener.” (Satterfield apron, $80; Steven Satterfield, Executive Chef/Co-Owner, Miller Union; Atlanta


Additional reporting by Abigail Baxter and Marisa Tesoro

Share your favorite presents, to give and get, with us on Twitter (@modfarm) and use the hashtag #farmerfave. We just might include your suggestions in next year’s gift guide!

Notify of

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments