It’s official: Shopping local is a trend this holiday season, as confirmed by a number of nationwide news sources.
By “local,” of course, we mean items that were made locally or at least purchased from a locally owned business. A Sunday story earlier this month explained the rationale and provided a list of gift ideas.
It’s clearly a buying pattern that matters, as I was solicited by a spokesman for a Northwest coffee company to include it in “local” gifts coverage. His reasoning is a latte made in Medford — regardless of the source for the beans — is local. Sorry, I had to say, we can do better than that.
Case Coffee Roasters of Ashland, featured in this week’s A la Carte, is a prime example, one of 10 locally produced, edible gifts we suggested. We could have included many more, but for lack of newsprint (and time), kept the list to 10 items that are either new and had not yet enjoyed any newspaper coverage, earned some larger distinction outside the Rogue Valley, were topics of A la Carte stories over the past year or remain in a class by themselves.
But here are a few others that also deserve consideration as stocking stuffers or gift-basket fodder.
Years before Pete’s Gourmet Confections created Stout Beer Bites, the Central Point company had white and dark chocolate-covered, peppermint-flavored, star-shaped marshmallows. Finished off with a bit of crushed peppermint candy, these divine, little treats epitomize seasonal flavors, in my opinion.
Seed Oil Co. is offering some very unique products that go beyond mere novelty to kitchen staple. Pumpkin-seed butter is its newest item, but I would love a gift of grapeseed oil, which I routinely use in cooking, from locally grown cabernet sauvignon grapes. The seeds hail from Cliff Creek Cellars, not far from my neck of the woods in Sams Valley.
Rock Field Farms’ produce pack is so ingenious, along with its unusual aquaponic farming methods, that it deserved a May feature story in A la Carte. Now Kreg and Angela Boudro are cultivating a Josephine County orchard that produces both Fuju and Hachiya persimmons, available through Rogue Valley Local Foods. Possibly the last fresh, local fruit, the persimmons will be available through Christmas, says Kreg Boudro. Or purchase their sliced, dehydrated ones online.
Downtown Market Co. in Medford is a great source for gourmet goodies, including plenty of local ones, like Salinity salt blends. But owner Nora LaBrocca also is baking up some bone-shaped dog treats that are tested and approved by her pooch. Drop into the East Main Street store to buy a bag for your beloved canine or the pet-lover on your list.
The cost of locally produced gifts, in most cases, reflects small-batch or by-hand production. If you’re looking for last-minute artisan-food deals, a recent story from McClatchy News Service suggests Big Lots. I’ve also heard plenty of kudos for Medford’s Grocery Outlet.