For many of us, the season of gift-giving is in full swing. From office parties, to December birthdays, to the bow on top that we call Christmas, there are plenty of reasons to be in the mood to GIVE.
As tempting as it can be to hit up a big box store and fill the cart with brightly colored plastic stuff, it’s so important this time of year to buy from local producers – food, presents, embellishments – so much quality merchandise can be found with a little looking and a little planning.
Introducing the GrowRVA Market Shopping Guide, a by-no-means-comprehensive list of vendors, ideas, and personality types to help make the next month of commerce easier and more meaningful:
The Manly Dad
You’ve never seen your Dad cry. He’s a real tough guy. Bring a tear to his eye with The Village Garden’s spicy seasoning blends. Let David and Barbara help you pick the right mix just for your ol’ man.
How about a mustard made with local beer? Simply Savory has just the thing to guild Dad’s bratwurst.
Or is Dad Tabasco only? That’s fine, how about a gnarly walking stick or driftwood table for that man cave? See Sticcellar Carving Company for amazing versions of those things and other total Dude-ables.
The Phil Dunphy
He’s a dad too, but this one’s sensitive.
One of SOTJ’s newest vendors, Earthworks Enterprises, makes these awesome things they call “Tanglewood Orbs,” basically it’s a fascinating combination of grapevine and light that will look stunning in your Dad’s office.
And for your sensitive uncle, check out Terrariums by Rich. Amazing little natural scenes, wanderers encased in glass orbs, the thinkin’ man’s succulent.
She’s the one woman you know who actually MAKES the stuff she pins on Pinterest. Crystal’s Treasure Chest has charming aprons just for her. She’ll totally appreciate the handmade touches and cute prints.
I also have it on good authority that The Nester would love a ceramic citrus juicer from Jane Hendley. Trust me. I am sure of it.
Or a holiday wreath! One she doesn’t have to make herself! Nothing welcomes visitors to her pumpkin-spiced hearth quite like a wreath. See Mustard Seed Farm and Natural Designs for some of SOTJ most breathtaking options.
Or fill up her guest bathroom Aromatherapy-style. This is just the occasion for decorative soap. Seriously, if not now, when? Amelia Soap and Herb Company, Patticakes Goatmilk Soap, and Wildly American Soap Company have beautiful variations on the theme.
The Maggie Simpson
Everyone knows the most precious things for baby are those made by hand. That’s why something from a big box store just won’t do for baby’s first Christmas (or 2nd or 3rd for that matter…) Market fixture 2 Dye 4 has great onesies, hats, and bibs for baby. The best part is, tie dye patterns are great for hiding drool stains! Double score.
The Hippest Girl You Know
It might be your Roller Derby Wife; it might be your 13-year-old niece; it might be your mom. If your girl’s too cool for school, some department store bobble isn’t going to cut it. You need to be thinking one-of-a-kind.
Half Past Noon has great accessories for just such a girl. Didi Chisolm handcrafts each piece according to her own current yet unique designs. Gypsy Eye and One Rare Lily also have exceptional selections.
Or there’s Upcycle Designs with awesome Ipad/Nook/Kindle covers that you absolutely can’t find anywhere that rhymes with “Farget.”
Man’s Best Friend
This is also a perfect gift for your Friends Who Have Everything…including a dog. Provide a lovingly made, all-natural treat for their baby, and your invites to holiday parties will keep coming year after year.
And speaking of the friends who have everything, I’m going to let you in on something huge: A gift certificate is a perfectly acceptable, thoughtful gift when it comes from a market vendor. It’s basically a conversation in an envelope. It’s a gift with a great community impact – it tickles your localvore friends and contributes to the livelihood of someone right here in our own neighborhoods. I can tell you that, as someone who spends more per week on food than anything else, a gift certificate from my favorite farm or a CSA membership would be met with squeals and, in some cases, hugs.
Not convinced? Fine, get them something to eat. Everyone eats sweets even if they say they don’t. I suggest preorders with Hispania Bakery. Guava Cheesecakes are a winner no matter who you ask.
Did I forget one? What are your favorite market gifts?
(See the full list of vendors here, and check with individual vendors for market participation.)