Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Great Gifting: Give the Gift of Local

I always seem to draw a blank this time of year. It happens I'm running out of time to ship a package off to the East Coast or find a little something to take as a gift to the host of a gathering. Plus there's my "no tchotchkes, gewgaws or bibelots" rule, i.e. never giving anything that needs to be dusted. (Books—and I mean those physical object with the paper pages—don't come under that rubric.) So I decided to make a list of ideas for my own reference, and I welcome you to borrow any that fit your needs. (Or even add your own in the comments at the end of the post!)

The Store at Cooking Up a Story. My friends Rebecca and Fred Gerendasy have produced videos for many years about local food producers, farmers and the people who make Oregon's agricultural scene so vibrant, and they've just opened a store featuring some of the handmade products they've come across. Check out Nancy Arcement's fabric goats (top photo), perfect for cuddling, Debbie Dean's fanciful country ceramics or the best plum preserves you'll ever have in your life from Anthony and Carol Boutard at Ayers Creek Farm (left).

The Meat Box at Old Salt Marketplace. Ben Meyer buys his grass-fed beef, pork and poultry from small family ranches and farms and is making some of the most delicious housemade charcuterie in town. The meat lover in your life—or the host of the holiday potluck you've been invited to—will be thrilled with either the Salami Pack, a grab bag of sausages, thuringer and braunschweiger with mustard, pickles and cheese, or the Snack Pack, a muncher's dream of Slim Jims, landjaegers, knoblauchwurst, pickles and two kinds of cheddar cheese. Yum!

Seasonal Recipe Collection from Cook With What You Have. Do you have someone on your list who's wanting to start cooking meals that are healthier and more seasonal but doesn't have a clue what to do with a turnip or how to cook meltingly tender beans? A year's subscription to Katherine 's easy-to-make, easy-to-shop-for recipes will guide cooks on a budget through how to make the most of what's in season using pantry staples to eat deliciously.

Olive oil, salt, spices and other goodness from Real Good Food. Jim Dixon is expanding his offerings of the small-batch, artisanal olive oils that he imports directly from small producers in Europe, and his pop-up "warehouse" will be open frequently in the days leading up to Christmas. Think of a gift box of olive oil, sea salt and a couple of packages of fennel pollen and oregano from a tiny island in Italy, or mix and match from his other amazing products.

Gift Certificates from Portland's Culinary Workshop. Give the gift of knowledge to the person on your list who's wanting to expand their culinary horizons. Even newbies can benefit from learning how to hold a knife without slicing off digits, and who wouldn't love to crack the mysteries of pho, Chinese dumplings, the perfect artisan loaf or learn about cuts of meat by watching a master butcher work through a carcass? From personal experience I can tell you that giving this gift will return nothing but raves…and maybe even an invitation to dinner to demonstrate the skills they've learned!


Farmer Jo said...

Could I add a gift certificate for a cooking class at Turnip the Heat Cooking? Great for kids or adults. :)

Kathleen Bauer said...

I plan on doing a post in the next couple of days about gift certificates for cooking classes and was planning on including yours, Joanna. Thanks for the reminder!

Farmer Jo said...

Thank you Kathleen! :)