Does the idea of holiday shopping at a big-box store send you into a claustrophobic panic? Tired of giving “stuff” that will just get broken or re-gifted? Look no further than your local food producers for gifts that are healthy for the recipient, the environment and the local economy.
Food is an excellent holiday present, whether as host/hostess gifts, or mailing to Aunt Sally in Nebraska. I’m not talking fruitcake here: I’m talking delicious, artisanal specialty products that make us proud to be from the North State.
Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. is notorious for tasty beer, great employee benefits and excellent environmental practices, but they also make great mustard offered in three flavors! Choose from Pale Ale & Honey Spice, Stout & Stoneground, or Porter & Spicy Brown – at only $3.50 each, these are a great buy. They also offer Beer Brittle, and BBQ sauce. Visit the Sierra Nevada Store at 1075 E. 20th St. in Chico or order online at http://www.sierranevadagiftshop.com. Phone: (530) 896-2198.
How about a holiday combo pack of olive oil from Lodestar Farms in Oroville? This two-bottle gift pack (375 ml. each) includes both the Late Harvest Mission Extra Virgin Olive Oil and a special Holiday Harvest for $42.95. The Holiday Harvest comes in a commemorative etched bottle that is signed and numbered by the farmer. Visit the Lodestar Farms tasting room on Fridays from 12-5 p.m. or Saturdays by appointment, at 3719 Foothill Blvd. in Oroville or order online at http://www.lodestarfarms.com. Phone: (530) 534-6548.
From the “steep side” of Mount Shasta, Sereni-Tea offers around 170 varieties of tea. Their popular Lemurian Lavender house blend is offered in three varieties featuring locally grown lavender: Chinese green tea, Ceylon black tea and South African Rooibos. Sereni-Tea offers tea-related gifts, including brew bags, infusers, presses and mugs. They also offer daily tea tastings; bring a friend and relax in their cozy “tea corner” area. Order online http://www.sereni-tea.net or visit the shop at 319 North Mt. Shasta Blvd. Phone: (530) 926-1688.
For the cheese lover, you can’t go wrong with single-source handcrafted farmstead goat cheese from North Valley Farms Chévre in Cottonwood. Their goats enjoy free-range pasture grazing and a GMO-free diet, producing high-quality cheeses you can feel good about eating. Purchase cheeses individually at Chico and Redding Certified Farmers Markets, Chico Natural Foods, and Redding’s Orchard Nutrition Center. The North Valley Farms Chévre Farmstead Collection is featured at their online cheese shop at http://www.northvalleyfarms.com, and includes one 8-ounce jar of marinated Feta, four 2.3-ounce Chévres of your flavor choices, and either two 5-ounce quarter-rounds of aged Feta or one 8-ounce wedge of Raw Milk Aged Cottonwood Creek Tomme. Cost is $65 & includes shipping to CA, OR, UT, AZ & NV (call about other states). Phone: (530) 347-7151.
Queen of the Valley Almonds is locally famous for both their almonds and honey. Their almonds come in 23 flavors, from savory (BBQ, Cheese Jalapeno) to sweet (Cappuccino, Butter Toffee) … my family’s favorites are the Lemon Honey almonds, which somehow taste like a healthy version of Fruity Pebbles. Also featured: almond brittle, flavored honey sticks, and honey in “bears” and jars. Just $5 will get you an 8-ounce bag of flavored almonds, a 1-pound bag of honey sticks, or a 1-pound jar of honey. For $15, you can get a “Ma, Pa & Baby Bear” combo (4 pounds of honey). Find Queen of the Valley at the Chico Saturday Farmers Market on Wall Street from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. or online at http://www.queenofthevalleyalmonds.com. Phone: (530) 343-0017.
Love to hike? Love chocolate? Love both? The Mt. Shasta Chocolate Bar is unique and delicious, featuring an image of Mt. Shasta on the wrapper and embossed on the bar itself. The bars come in milk or dark chocolate and are available at a variety of local retail stores (Mt. Shasta Market, Berryvale Grocery, McCloud Market & more) and online at the Sereni-Tea website (www.sereni-tea.net), typically for $3.50 each. All profits from sales are donated to organizations that support Northern California hiking trails, including the Mt. Shasta Trail Association & the Pacific Crest Trail Association. Phone: (530) 926-2858.
Each of these items is great to have on hand during this season of festive eating. While you are shopping for gifts, go ahead and pick up extras for yourself. Happy Holidays!