Editor note. This post is part two in a two-part series about buying local for the holidays. Part I focused on general advice for buying local. This part will focus on local buys specific to the Bay Area.
The Bay Area has a wealth of local businesses and products that are perfect for the holidays. To me, it seems that you have to almost go out of your way here to not buy local. I would like to share with you some of my favorites gifts and local stores. Many of these items will be under the tree for my loved ones, or have been gifts in the past.
Happy Quail Farms Chili Powders. These small vials of chili powder would be perfect for any spice-loving member of your family. We have one that is a deep red smoked type, and this little baby which is quite spicy. You can even buy a nifty wooden holder for them made by the farmer. Happy Quail Farms is an East Palo Alto-based farm and can be found at the Saturday Ferry Plaza Farmer's Market (Front, South end) and at the Sunday Marin Civic Center. ($5-$10)
Hangar One Vodka. The vodkas coming out of this East Bay distillery are fantastic. They are being critically acclaimed, and are a fun gift to give. You can buy Mandarin Blossom, Kaffir Lime, Buddha's Hand, Fraser River Raspberry or their fantastic plain vodka. Among other places, Hangar One is available at the Jug Shop and K & L Wine Merchants. ($30 - $35)
A Blue Bottle Coffee Subscripton. Everyone is probably tired of hearing me talk about Blue Bottle Coffee, but this will be the last time this year, I promise. You can purchase a subscription of Blue Bottle Coffee and have coffee delivered to your family and friends weekly for as long as you choose. You can decide on the blend, or coffee master James Freeman can decide for you. Blue Bottle will even enclose a card explaining who sent the gift. If you want to purchase single pounds or half-pounds for gift baskets, you can find James at the Berkeley Farmer's Market (Tuesday / Saturday) or the Ferry Plaza Farmer's Market (Saturday / Sunday). Pressed for time and can't make it to a Farmer's Market? Buy Blue Bottle Beans at the Frog Hollow stand inside the Ferry Building. (1/2 pound of coffee: $8, 1 pound of coffee: $15)
Eatwell Farms Lavender Products. Buy affordable, organic lavender products as stocking stuffers or small gifts this year. They are always a hit with my friends and family. Eatwell sells a range of products that are worth checking out - lavender salt, body scrub, hydrosol, dried lavender, sachets. You can find Eatwell on Saturdays at the Ferry Plaza Farmer's Market and Sundays at the Marin Civic Center. Pressed for time and can't make it to a Farmer's Market? You can buy Eatwell's lavender salt and rosemary salt inside the Ferry Building at the Potter Family Farms stand. (products start at $5).
Candied Nuts from Cache Creek Farm. For the past couple of years, these have been making it into my mom's stocking because she loves them. They are addictive. They also have fantastic pistachios. You can find Cache Creek Farm at the Saturday Ferry Plaza Farmer's Market - in the back. (pistachios are $6/pound)
Support our local publisher. I am proud that Chronicle Books is part of the Bay Area. This publisher sells well designed books that are great for specific interests. I have purchased many items from their stand at the Metreon. Check out their site to learn more.
Sake from True Sake. While most of True Sake's bottles are not local, by purchasing items here you will be supporting the first dedicated sake store outside of Japan. The proprietor, Beau Timken, is working hard to teach the masses about great sake. His store is enjoyable and very easy to navigate once you get the hang of reading Beau's descriptive tags. True Sake is located at 560 Hayes Street in Hayes Valley. The sakes range in price, but it is easy to walk out with a bottle between $10 and $20.
Support a local artist. There are many artists in the Bay Area that are affordable and approachable. See new art by my favorite, Katie Gilmartin, at City Art this Friday night. 828 Valencia Street, 7pm - 10pm. (art costs range - approximately $150)
Need more ideas? Check out this post by mipmup -- she and I put together a fun gift basket last month. I have so many other ideas. If you have specific questions about items, please feel free to post here and I will help you out.
Photo Credit: Flourdesign with his new macro lens