Homemade For The Holidays – Introducing Two Special North State Businesses

It’s that crazy time of year when many of us find ourselves rushing from store to store shopping for the “perfect” holiday gift, and yet we just can’t seem to find the right thing. We look for something unique, for something locally produced so we can feel good about keeping our money in our community. In the North State, you might find that special something at two unique businesses: Maisie Jane’s California Sunshine Products in Chico and Dawson Family Wreath Barn in Weed both offer locally-made one-of-a-kind products that may be perfect for friends and family on your gift-giving list.

The Dawson Family Wreath Barn. Photo: Living Shasta Photography http://www.livingshastaphotography.com

The Dawson Family Wreath Barn started primarily as a Christmas wreath business by Patricia Colleen (“Patc”) Dawson. Twenty-six years ago Patc started making wreaths out of her home to sell around town in order to earn Christmas money. Her wreaths are now so popular that this past January she expanded her product line to include wreaths for all seasons, and moved the business to a new location in downtown Weed. One of the fastest-growing features at Dawson’s is the wreath fundraising opportunity offered to non-profit groups, from 4H and middle schools to junior bowlers and cheerleading organizations. The fundraising program is one aspect of her business that Patc really enjoys.

Three generations of Dawsons have been involved in the business. As Patc’s children grew older, they started making wreaths to earn their own Christmas money. Even the youngest Dawson pitches in; Patc’s two-year-old granddaughter likes to help push the broom around the shop!

Dawson Family Wreath Barn has become so successful that Patc is able to hire seasonal employees, making a positive impact on the local economy. “I love that I can offer extra work during the holidays,” she says.

For decorating during the winter holidays, Dawson’s offers three types of wreaths: “Welcome,” “Hannukah” and “Siskiyou.”  Created with Shasta Red Fir and Silver-Tip boughs, standard shipping-size wreaths are 22” and include a choice of bow. There are other sizes available, and new this season, Dawson’s has partnered with Jessica Murr of Pumpkin Goodies to offer a seasonal holiday wreath special that includes a loaf of delicious freshly baked pumpkin bread.

Using fresh, natural and renewable forest products gathered at the peak of the season, Dawson’s offers a “Wreath for the Season” every three months:  “Spring Woodland,” “Summer Woodland,” “Fall Woodland” and “Winter Woodland.” If you have a passion for lavender like I do, Dawson’s offers beautiful lavender wreaths, swags, hat raffias and arches, available in June and July using lavender from Mt. Shasta Lavender Farms. Patc laughs when she recalls how her lavender product sales “went crazy” last summer, and says her fall business was booming too.

Entrepreneurial extraordinaire Maisie Jane offers a variety of local products from family farms. Photo: Pamela Newman.

Another local business, in Chico, has created a unique niche in the local economy: Maisie Jane’s California Sunshine Products. Walking into Maisie Jane’s shop is like going back a century in time to an old-fashioned country store. Located on the southern edge of town on Dayton Road, the quaintly decorated shop is brimming with delicious foods and homespun items, likely offering something for everyone on your holiday gift list! Most of the nuts, salsas, salad dressings and other products are locally produced in Butte or nearby counties.

Owner Massie Jane Hurtado grew up driving a tractor on her family’s farm. “I knew I wanted to stay involved in agriculture in some way, but not necessarily driving tractors!” Massie Jane says. Seventeen years ago she decided to begin a new business venture with her own line of dry-roasted flavored almonds. At the time, she belonged to Future Farmers of America and had come to realize there were not many almond products on the market, so she sold her sheep and bought a ton of almonds to start her business.

Maisie Janes’s family has been cultivating almond trees for four generations. Her father and brother own Bertagna Orchards, farming over 500 acres of almonds using organic farming practices. Her husband farms 80 acres of almonds and manages the almond manufacturing facility; during the dry roasting and processing of the almonds, all natural ingredients are used, with no preservatives, GMOs or any irradiated products. Other family members play a role in the store: Maisie Jane’s mother and aunt are the creative team that designs and decorates the Maisie Jane line of gift baskets, and her mother also helps manage the store. It is truly a family affair!

In addition to almond products, Maisie Jane’s carries a wide variety of other nut-based products, including flavored cashews, pistachios and walnuts. They offer pies (including four varieties of outstanding ice cream pies), chocolate, honey, wines, dried fruit, hand-crafted cutting boards and much more.

You’ll also discover dozens of innovative themed gift-filled baskets, wood trays, crates, bowls and boxes that may contain just the right items for almost anyone on your gift list. These include “Lilia Jane’s Popcorn Party” enamel bowl, “Dad’s Fiz & Food Crate,”  “Breakfast Batter Bowl,” “Natalia Sofia’s Italian Dinner” colander, “Taste of Nor Cal” basket, “What’s New in Chico” shipper box, and many more. There is so much to choose from that Maisie Jane’s makes holiday shopping easy, and they can ship most items for you too.

After shopping at Maisie Jane’s or Dawson Wreaths, you’ll not only feel good about supporting a locally-owned business – you’ll also be rewarded with unique products that can add a special touch to your holiday celebration or gathering. Your friends and family will surely appreciate a special gift “made in Northern California.”

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Dawson Family Wreath Barn
Open Mon-Sun 10am-7pm
134 N. Weed Blvd., Weed, CA
(530) 351-3242

Maisie Jane’s California Sunshine Products
Open Mon-Fri 9am-5:30pm & Sat 10am-4:30pm
1324 Dayton Rd., Chico, CA
(530) 899-7909
http://www.maisiejanes.com [/sws_green_box%5D

Darla Greb Mazariegos
About Darla Mazariegos

Writer Darla Greb Mazariegos is a mother of three and part of the North State Parent staff.

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