As December edges closer, there are many opportunities to prepare for the upcoming Christmas holiday within the state of Oklahoma. Associate Farm Director, Reagan Calk, caught up with Micaela Halverson and Jenna Brinlee with the Oklahoma Department of Ag, Food, and Forestry and talked about Christmas Tree Farms across the state and some holiday shopping opportunities within the Made in Oklahoma Program.
The Made in Oklahoma Program, Brinlee said, is a membership of over 800 companies within the state of Oklahoma that grow, process, or manufacture a good or product within the state. These goods and products, Brinlee added, range from food and drink to items such as candles, leatherwork, and jewelry.
“One of the best ways you can shop for your family or friends and shop local this holiday season is by going to madeinoklahoma.net,” Brinlee said.
There is an E-commerce page on the site where companies have uploaded their products to be shopped online, Brinlee said, and there is a “Retailers” tab on the site as well that lists stores in Oklahoma that carry Made in Oklahoma items.
“You can see the map on there, find a store closest to you, and go shop those Made in Oklahoma items in-person at a retail store near you,” Brinlee said.
There is also a gift basket guide on the Made in Oklahoma website, Brinlee said, for those who may be looking for a gift set.
For those who may not understand the difference between the Made in Oklahoma Coalition and the Made in Oklahoma Program, Brinlee Offered some clarity on the subject.
The Made in Oklahoma Coalition, Brinlee said, is only for food and beverage companies that produce in Oklahoma. The MIO Coalition, she added, focuses on grocery stores and food service, whereas the Made in Oklahoma Program encompasses all types of products in Oklahoma.
For those with a product or good made in Oklahoma wanting to join the program, Brinlee said there is an application on the website, and it is free to join.
“As long as you are meeting our rules that state you are growing, processing, or manufacturing a product in Oklahoma, you can qualify, and I would love to have that conversation with you about what your membership could look like and the benefits of being included,” Brinlee said.
Brinlee said applications are sent to her to be approved. Those who are approved, she added, will be added to the Made in Oklahoma Program’s email database, allowing members to be part of any marketing initiatives that they do throughout the year or events.
Aside from some great holiday shopping in the Made in Oklahoma Program, Micaela Halverson talked about Christmas tree activities across the state.
“Though our Oklahoma Agritourism Program, we have 19 different you-cut Christmas tree farms across the state,” Halverson said. “You can find them on our website at oklahomaagritourism.com to figure out which Christmas tree farm is near you and what different activities they have going on.”
Most of the Christmas tree farms, Halverson said, will open on Black Friday, November 25. A few of the Christmas tree farms, she added, will be opening the day before or a few days before Black Friday.
“If you have not cut your own real Christmas tree before, I highly recommend it,” Halverson said. “It is a lot of fun. It is a great way to make memories and build traditions with your family.”
Most of the Christmas tree farms are in the central and northeast regions of the state, Halverson said, but there is one in each region of the state.
Aside from offering visitors the chance to cut their own Christmas trees, Halverson said many of the Christmas tree farms have plenty of activities and shopping options for families as well.
“A lot of my Christmas tree producers say that they see the same returning families year after year, and then they watch the kids grow up, and then they are bringing their kids and their family back,” Halverson said. “It is pretty special, and if a Christmas tree farm is not part of your Christmas family traditions, you should seriously look into it.”