Are you stressed about holiday shopping? No worries!
If you’re searching for a few last-minute gift ideas, then consider some of these wonderful, farm “grown” artisan products. Available in a range of price points to suit every budget, you’re sure to make a great impression with a hand-crafted gift from one of these fine purveyors. They’re perfect for family, friends, teachers, neighbors, hostess gifts, and clients.
Many of these vendors have booths at the year-round Marin Civic Center Farmers’ Market in San Rafael (every Sunday 8:30am-1:00pm), or you can visit their websites to place an order that ships directly to your recipient.
So without further adieu, here’s my Farminista’s Top Gift Picks for the 2013 holidays:
Spice up your holidays with a set of freshly milled spice blends and rubs from the Local Spicery (www.freshlocalspices.com) in Novato. Choose one of their popular themed gift packs like “Grill Master” or “Chicken & Fish” that come with four sampler jars of their versatile seasonings, herbs, salts, and rubs (from $18-$30) or customize your own pack for just $20. You can also grab a few of their unique individual spices like Stinson Steak Rub or Black Truffle Sea Salt to delight the cooks on your list ($5-$8 each).
For the chocoholic, try these handcrafted raw cacao superfood bars from Coracao Confections (www.coracaoconfections.com). These decadent chocolates are packed with nutritious antioxidants, minerals, and vitamins for the ultimate indulgence. They’re also dairy and gluten-free with a low glycemic index for a sinfully satisfying treat that’s good for you too!
From Sylverleaf Olive Oil (www.sylverleaf.com) comes this handy gift bag with a convenient purse size roll-on of pure “olive juice” moisturizer and a handmade Castile soap. Made using a 400-year-old recipe, Sylverleaf’s all-natural moisturizing soaps blend olive and coconut oil for a creamy lather that’s good for all skin types. They’re available in Almond, Coconut, Frankincense & Myrrh, Lavender, Lemon Verbena, Peppermint, Sandalwood, Vanilla, and Unscented. At $10, this set is a great stocking stuffer!
Are you nuts about someone on your list? Treat them to a tasting sampler of transitional-organic Chandler walnuts from Old Dog Ranch (www.olddogranch.com). Available in five natural flavors–Whiskey-Spiced, Rosemary-Sea Salt, Mexican Spiced Hot Chocolate, Candied, and Plain Toasted–these delicious nuts are the perfect natural snack, salad/dessert topper, or garnish to fresh goat cheese and jam. From $3.50 for a 50 gram “snack pack”; $11 half-pound bag; $20 one-pound bag. *Available at the Saturday Marin Country Mart in Larkspur Landing Plaza from 9:00am-2:00pm.
Carnivores rejoice! You’ll score big points with the meat-lovers in your life when you gift a Stemple Creek Ranch Grass-Fed Goodness Box (www.stemplecreek.com). Convenience meets choice with this customizable box you fill with selected cuts of their grass-fed and finished beef and/or lamb. Tailored to your budget and delivered to your recipient’s doorstep, it’s ideal for grill-masters, paleo devotees, and anyone who appreciates superior quality, sustainably raised meat. Not sure what they like? Gift certificates available!
Looking for a distinctive gift that showcases the best of the San Francisco artisan food scene? Entrepreneur Gypsey Achong has done all the leg work so you don’t have to! Her Gift a Feast (www.giftafeast.com) collections feature the finest hand-crafted sweets and savory treats gathered from Bay Area producers, and beautifully wrapped in eco-friendly packaging. Complete with a hand written message to your recipient, these delectable gift boxes can be shipped nationwide. Visit the website to order or call 800-453-6768.
For a different spin on the classic “food-of-the-month” club, surprise your favorite foodie with a subscription to the Heirloom Bean-A-Month Club ($120/yr) from Sonoma county’s Canvas Ranch (www.canvasranch.com). Each month your recipient will receive a one pound package of heirloom beans, along with a history of the varietal, cooking instructions, and recipe ideas. You can also gift sustainable warmth this holiday with Canvas Ranch Babydoll wool-filled pillows ($95 standard size) or handmade lap comforters (36″ x 54″ for $165) covered in soft organic cotton. Stuffed with wool sheered from their flock of Babydoll Southdown sheep, these bedding items are naturally hypoallergenic and dust mite free. Plus they’re made to last for generations (custom sizes available).
Do you prefer experiences to traditional gifts? For the person on your list (or you!) with an adventurous spirit and a love for food, gift a day with West Marin Food & Farm Tours (www.foodandfarmtours.com). Chef/Owner Elizabeth Hill has several themed experiences that are sure to appeal to a broad range of tastes. It’s the perfect way to spend a day enjoying the best that West Marin food artisans have to offer! Gift certificates available.
For those who love to cook, how about a gift certificate for a themed culinary class at Cooking By The Bay (www.cookingbythebay.com). San Rafael based holistic chef Suzanne Griffin will inspire you with her focus on fresh, local, seasonal ingredients and health-conscious recipes designed to give you confidence in the kitchen. Classes are limited to 8 people, and take place in her spacious, comfortable kitchen in Marinwood. Each class is $50 and includes all ingredients, a packet of recipes, and a full meal at the end of class.
Hope these unique gift ideas have given you some “food for thought”. Happy holidays!