Send a big box made in N.C.

North Carolina has so many good local food companies that it’s silly to order holiday gift boxes from California or some such place. I like to give both ex-pats and never-lived-heres a taste of my beloved state.

I used to have to pack my own boxes of local items. And that’s still a good option if I want to collect jams, jellies, candies and honey from a farmers market and add some of my homemade bourbon balls and rosemary pecans.

But there are others who can do the work for me (well, except for the bourbon balls and pecans).

A Southern Season in Chapel Hill, N.C. has long offered a variety of North Carolina-themed food gift collections including items from sweets to country ham. Look at the store’s offerings here.

You can also send your friends Bone-Suckin’ everything – barbecue sauce, mustard, rubs, teriyaki – from Raleigh’s Ford’s Gourmet Foods. The company’s sauces have been collecting accolades for 20 years. Find out more here.

Now, the state’s first food business incubator offers collections of items made by the artisan food producers who work with it. Blue Ridge Food Ventures near Asheville, N.C. is offering four options for boxes that contain six to eight local products: Hot Box, Not Hot Box, Sweet ‘n’ Spicy Box and Fine Flavors Box.  Items in the boxes are made by small companies that work at the incubator or who got started there. Find out more and order here.