There’s so much more to farmers markets in Louisiana than proteins and produce.

There are all sorts of local mom-and-pop shops to help you with extra ingredients, appetizers and even gifts that come straight from local dairies, bakeries, farms and fields, beehives and more. You can add these to your own menus or wrap them up and take them as hostess gifts while partying about town during holidays.

I’m really gravitating toward giving people food and drink, delectables they can enjoy with friends, not something they have to dust .

Locally made cheeses, dips, a nice big jar of honey or a dessert wine make for excellent gifts, especially when paired with some nice crackers or bread.

You can gather gifts like these while you’re doing your regular shopping.

For today’s recipes, I used a fruit- and nut-blended cream cheese I picked up at the farmers market to stuff some locally baked French bread — what a great treat for Sunday brunch or Christmas morning.

I’ve also used some creamy goat cheese to make a sweet-and-savory onion tart that can be served anytime. Both of these are very versatile and will work with whatever is available to you.

So, instead of buying those on your list another bauble for the bookshelf or a tie they’ll never wear, take advantage of all the convenient and freshly made gifts and ingredients you can find right in your hometown.