Valentine's Day

I think that Valentine's Day is the best. I love love, and having a time to celebrate it with your sweetheart or friends or family or co-workers is truly special. Now, I get that it's not for everyone. And I'm not going to attempt to change your mind if you hate this day, but my hope is that if you choose to celebrate, you consider supporting local. Buy the flowers from Whole Foods Market that are sourced from local growers, or from Local Color Flowers who only works with growers within 99 miles of Baltimore. Head to the Farmers' Market to support farmers in your community and make a special meal at home. Place an order for locally made caramels or toffee instead of a standard box of chocolates. I challenge you to shake things up this year. 

Why am I so jazzed up about supporting local? For me, the best part of working in food isn’t actually about the food (shocking). What I love the most is the people-- I’m so lucky to surround myself with hardworking, passionate creatives who love what they do and have fun doing it! That’s why I’m so excited to share my latest collaboration: a locally-sourced #VdayGiveaway. I've brought together Baltimore-based brands for a special Valentine’s Day giveaway over Instagram. One of my favorite markets, Rooster & Hen recently launched Lucky Pantry, a locally sourced meal kit delivery service. I knew this would be a great vehicle to expose people to an easier way to support local, so we reached out to Chef Kevin Brothers to curate a simple yet sumptuous menu for two. 

We've brought together Gunpowder Bison, Max's Degrees, B'More Saucy, Le MONADE, Gundalow Juice, True Chesapeake Oyster and Taste This Cake for this mouthwatering meal, complete with mixers for a cocktail, hors d'oeuvres, a main course and chocolate cake, naturally. The winner will be picked randomly, and your odds can be increased by entering as many times as you'd like. How to enter:

1. Like the post shared by any of the participating brands. (Here's a link to one!)

2. Follow each of these accounts on Instagram: @luckypantry, @roosterandhenstore, @gunpowderbison, @maxsdegrees, @chef_kevin_brothers, @tastethiscake, @bmoresaucy, @le_monade_, @gundalowjuice & @truechesapeake  

3. Mention (tag) someone special in the comments!

*This giveaway is valid for Baltimore area residents only and will run through Sunday, February 4. This contest is in no way associated or administered by Instagram. Winner will be selected randomly on Sunday, February 4 at noon. Winner will receive items from giveaway on Monday, February 12 -- just in time for Valentine’s Day. Items will be delivered to any winner within a 10 mile radius of Rooster + Hen Store in Catonsville. If winner is outside the 10 mile radius, they must pick up their prize during store hours between Monday, February 12 and Wednesday, February 14. There is no limit to the number of times you can enter!*

If you don't win, consider buying the ingredients yourself through each business, or see what else they have to offer. For example, Gunpowder Bison has a great Steak and Cake package complete with Bison Filet and a Crab Cake from Casa Mia's. Also, Gundalow Juice is offering a Valentine's Day Bouquet of juices so you can celebrate self-love.  Feel free to comment below with your take on Valentine's Day or ways you like to support local. Finally, follow me on instagram to stay updated about more giveaways this month, in Baltimore and beyond!