These are just a couple of ideas I found while walking through my Farmers’ Market today. Many markets have hand crafted items and some even feature live and fresh cut Christmas Trees during December.
I headed out early Saturday morning, across the causeway through the cold tule fog, to the Davis Farmers’ Market. It certainly was dreary out but, I was feeling great and in a holiday shopping mood. The market was already a buzz with lots of shoppers when I arrived. I chose Davis because I can’t think of another market in my area that has the variety they have; great fruit and produce, fresh seafood and meats, baked items, dried fruits, honey, herbs, plants and flowers, just to name a few. Then, there are the crafts. Everything from ceramics, clothing, dolls, fabric arts, jewelry and metal works to woodwork and candles. And, finally there are the Socio-Political Community Groups. Don’t be put off by this title. There are some wonderful groups representing some very worthy and important causes. Grant High School’s Eat From The Garden Salsa was one of these groups. I’ll tell you about them a little later. If all of that isn’t enough to peak your interest here’s something that might. They have a service, at the market, they call “Gift Basket Central”. This great idea lets you shop the market for the items you want, then you take them to the Gift Basket Central tent, located in the middle of the market by the deck under the big Oak tree, where they wrap them for free. Now that’s service.I’ll have to admit there is another reason I chose Davis. I lived in Davis for many years and during that time I shopped the Davis Farmers’ Market every Saturday morning. It’s also a place where I have always done part of my holiday shopping. So, this year was no different. Here is just a sampling of some of the places I shopped. For obvious reasons I can’t tell you everything but here’s some tips I can share.
English Hills Soap Company Oh, what beautiful products they have. They are all hand crafted and natural as can be. The soaps and skin care products are all made from goat milk and are available in various fragrances, including my favorite Plumeria. They also have fragrance-free. They’re gift baskets are really nice.
Fiddyment Farms Wow, where to start, these guys have the greatest gourmet pistachios. They come in savory and sweet flavors as well as lightly salted and salt free. They also have pistachio butter and my favorite the Butter Toffee Kernels. If they don’t have what you’re looking for at the market, you can order from their website.
Good Humus I have been shopping for holiday gifts from Good Humus for as long as I can remember. I love their beautiful handmade wreaths and the lavender wands. They also make some of the best homemade jams, jellies and syrups. Try the Nectarine Ginger Jam. It’s great brushed on grilled chicken or spooned onto hot buttery biscuits. They also have some very nice herbal teas as well as a variety of dried fruits and herbs.
Towani Organic Farms Check out the unique herbal wreaths here. I know that this picture doesn’t do justice to their products but it gives you a visual of what to look for. Through my years of shopping at this market Towani Organic Farm is one of the farmers I have always frequented. Their quality is outstanding and their wreaths are beautiful and last for a very long time.
BJ & Leslie Nursery Another of my favorite stops. They have the best deals on plants. Right now, the cyclamen and the azaleas are really great, and the Christmas cactus is worth a look too.
Yolo Bulb Farm This is where I get my quince fix. Last year I bought a jar of quince conserve to try and I loved it. So ,I was hopeful that they would have some again this year. Guess what. They did. They also had quince jelly as well as other varieties of jams and jellies. They are also have a new label and name, D Madison & Daughters. Very nice. Check out their fabric arts too. They’re beautifully crafted.
A couple more stops I want to mention because they not only offered nice products but the money went for a good cause. They are part of the Socio-Political Community Groups I mentioned before.
The first one is Grant High School\’s Eat From The Garden project. This is a terrific program that is teaching students how to create healthy, sustainable communities. The salsa themed baskets come three sizes and range in price from $18 to $32. They also sell individual jars of salsa in Traditional and Spicy Peach flavors. I bought the Traditional Salsa. Had some on Sunday and it’s yummy. Down the way a bit was another nice product being offered for a worthy cause. The children from Pioneer Elementary School in Davis made some delightful rosemary wreaths and are selling them for $5.
The Davis Farmers’ Market is open Saturday’s from 8 AM till 1 PM. I love to go early. Sometimes I order some breakfast or I buy a special coffee and pastry then, I take a few minutes to sit and listen to some of the musical entertainment and people watch before I head out to shop. If you’re a late riser, you’ll probably want to arrive later and shop the market first. Then, maybe have some lunch before you head home. There are lots of choices for breakfast, lunch or just a snack so explore your options.
If you don’t have anything planned for Saturday, why not drive over to Davis and explore their Farmers’ Market. I just might see you there.
When I travel to stay with relatives or friends I like to bring along a little “hostess” gift. Sometimes I bring them something I have made, like jam or some almond brittle. But sometimes, I like to purchase a little something from a local producer or artisan at my local Farmers Market. With that in mind, I did a little research, at my local Farmers’ Market ( listed as Sacramento Central here), last Sunday to see what was available. Quite a bit, actually. Here are a few of the items I saw that caught my eye.
One of my favorite booths, to check out, is Woodsong Herbs. I love plants and can spend hours just looking around a nursery, so this little booth really draws me in. The plants are beautiful and there is always have something creative and unique, like their beautiful herbal wreaths. What a unique gift that would make. I also really loved the colorful little herb baskets, a nice little selection of herbs planted in a colorful, reusable, basket. Who wouldn’t love one of these. Woodsong Herbs is located inGarden Valley, El Dorado County. They are at the Sunrise Mall market on Saturday and the Sacramento market on Sunday.
A couple of booths down from Woodsong Herbs was ‘R’ Farm & Nursery. This is the producer who had the beautiful seasonal wreaths that I talked about in my Nov 8 post. This time I had my camera so now you’ll know what I was going on and on about. Now, if I could just figure out a way to let you smell how fresh and aromatic they are. The wreath in the picture consists of a base of Fir, Cedar, Juniper and Manzanita that is decorated with pine cones, red berries, red chili peppers, rose hips, pomegranates, and Eucalyptus leaves. It’s one of the larger ones, 26″ – 28″. There are three sizes offered. They will also do custom orders. An incredible gift for yourself or someone special.
Next stop was Glashoff Farms. This family has been farming in the Suisun Valley for more than 100 years. They offer a variety of jams, jellies, marmalades and syrups, all made on the farm. They come in individual jars or you can buy a nicely packaged selection of three delicious homemade, low sugar, preserves and marmalades. Be sure to taste test. It’s all delicious and would be a welcome gift for just about anyone.
Next door to Glashoff Farms was Pedrozo Diary & Cheese Company from Orland. This family-owned dairy produces high-quality, great-tasting cheese. Their “semi-firm” cheeses are made from raw milk from grass-fed cows. Each of their cheeses originated from an Old World-style recipe that started with their Northern Gold, a golden, buttery, nutty cheese perfect for snacking or cooking. Other varieties are; Blondie’s Best, Bubbly Cow, Stout Cow, Tipsy Cow and Black Butte Reserve, which won a gold medal for aged hard cheeses at the 2007 California State Fair. You’ll want to taste them all before you have them pack up your favorites in a nice little gift box. A wonderful gift to give during the holidays.
Another interesting booth was The Lavender Farm In Lincoln California. I talked to Jerre, who with his wife Lesa, raises over 100 different types of lavender at their farm in Lincoln. They have a wide variety of beautiful products to choose from. Lavender spray and essential oil, lavender dryer bags and sachets, potpourri, infused salt and sugar, Herbes de Provence and even some luscious lavender honey. As you can see they are packaged beautifully. Anyone of these would make a wonderful “hostess” gift and most were small enough to easily tuck into a suitcase.
As I mentioned before, these are just a few of the choices I found at my local Farmers’ Market (listed as Sacramento Central on this link) this past weekend. Get creative with your holiday shopping. Think local. Think Farmers’ Market. It’s really a great place to shop. There’s a list of links to markets in the Sacramento and surrounding regions under Blogroll on this page.
Tomorrow I’ll be posting some more winter squash recipes. Hope you’ll join me again, then.