December 21, 2011 in Food

Go local for last-minute gifts

Food lovers will dig homegrown flavors
By The Spokesman-Review
 
Christopher Anderson photoBuy this photo

As the holidays approach, there’s no reason to give up the search for local gifts such as Chase Honey, found at Spokane Public Market.
(Full-size photo)

It’s the last minute, but that doesn’t mean you can’t cross a food lover off your list and still get them a local gift.

We’ve rounded up a handful of gift ideas that will show off the flavors of Spokane and may inspire you to grab something for your holiday table, too.

If you’re serious about finding something local, consider stopping at the Spokane Public Market, 24 W. Second Ave.

The market is open Thursday and Friday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Many vendors say they’ll also be there on Saturday at 10 a.m. until about 2 or 3 p.m.

The charming gift bags of Chase Honey caught my eye at The Fruit Girl’s stand. Jen McClelland sells fruit, vegetables and fresh herbs at the market. The bags include a 16-ounce plastic jar of local honey, 16-ounces of honey pureed with huckleberries and a beautiful beeswax candle. They are $19.99.

Rhonda and Harold Chase also sell the gift bags at their home and honey farm in Otis Orchards for $18. Call ahead to (509) 927-8627.

Market vendors, who say they have been struggling to draw customers this winter, have an array of other gift ideas: Aaron Mann, who goes by Mac “The Knife” Mann, sharpens and refurbishes knives at the market. He also makes ulu knives and cutting boards from walnut and maple wood. The ulu knives are inspired by a traditional design used by Eskimos. They are $55.

For the holiday table, vendors are selling seafood shipped from the coast, local beef and hams, along with locally grown dried cherries and squash. Pleasant Prairie Farms vendor Lauri Williams bakes breads and rolls that would make a nice addition to a Christmas feast. Her jalapeño bread has some heat, but a favorite is the wild rice and onion bread or rolls.

“It makes a screaming grilled cheese sandwich, too,” Williams says.

Nearby, Thom’s Coffee will keep you fueled with a hand-brewed cup of Anvil Coffee, which is roasted at The Shop on the South Hill. Kay Jay’s sells toffees, soft peanut brittle and candy, if making your own just wasn’t in the plan this season.

(I would go on about the scarves I saw as I was leaving the place, but this is a food story.)

Before leaving the market, stop in to the Marketplace Wine Bar for local wines made by Emvy or Bridge Press Cellars. Or, if there is someone on your list who would rather make their own libations, swing in to Sun People Dry Goods Co. for a brewing kit from Brooklyn Brew Shop for $42.99. Then, you can partake of any successful brewing efforts from the Everyday IPA or Bourbon Dubbel kits.

It’s not exactly local, but I still love the vintage Victory Garden posters there, if there’s a gardener or canner on your list. Sun People, 32 W. Second Ave., is open 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. today through Friday and Christmas Eve 10 a.m. until 2 p.m.

I scooped up a couple of other local gifts at Huckleberry’s Natural Market, 926 S. Monroe St.

Local company Wrapsacks is known for fabric gift wrap alternatives, but I liked the reusable lunch sacks to use in lieu of plastic baggies. I scooped up two sandwich-size bags for $8.99 each. There were also smaller snack-size bags in stock.

The fabric bags are lined with polyester that can be wiped clean and the bags open up along Velcro closures to become a placemat if needed. They are also sold on the Wrapsacks website, wrapsacks.com, along with lunch bags, totes and wine bottle gift bags.

Most of the Green Bluff growers are closed for the season, but fruit from the Bluff still makes a great holiday gift. I found small jars of apple butter, raspberry jam and huckleberry jelly from Walters’ Fruit Ranch on the shelves at Huckleberry’s. They are $3.69 to $5.99, a perfect stocking stuffer or hostess gift.

The pies from Walters’ are in the freezer section and range from apple and peach pies for $12.99 to huckleberry pies for $21.99.

For those who want to go to the Green Bluff farms, visit www.greenbluffgrowers.com for information about farms and call ahead to an individual farm to be sure they’ll be open.

For local cookbook lovers, Inland Imaging has released its “Every Woman Can Get Cook’n” cookbook. The little flip book can stand up on a collapsible base and includes recipes that comforted women and their families through breast cancer treatment and recovery. Books are $10 and can be purchased at The Kitchen Engine, 621 W. Mallon Ave. in the Flour Mill, or at the front desk at any of the eight Inland Imaging locations.

Proceeds from the book will be donated to the Every Woman Can Foundation, which provides money for mammograms for women who are uninsured or underinsured.

Another cookbook featuring local restaurants is now on shelves around town (if you’re fast). The Signature Tastes of Spokane” cookbook ($22) is flying out the door at stores and restaurants. They are at: Auntie’s Bookstore, 402 W. Main Ave., The Kitchen Engine, Tinman Gallery and bookstore, 811 W. Garland Ave., and Hurd Mercantile and Co. in Rockford.

Restaurants featured in the book, which are also selling it, include Mizuna, 214 N. Howard St.; Maple Street Bistro, 5520 N. Maple St.; Alpine Bistro and Bakery, 810 N. Monroe St.; The Flying Pig, 1822 E. Sprague Ave.; J-Walk Bakery and Bistro, 917 W. Broadway Ave.; and Waffles Plus, 2625 N. Monroe St.

For those who stop in to the Kitchen Engine local gift ideas abound.

Look for Catherine Herron’s offerings from Angelina Olive Oil. Herron once worked for the Coeur d’Alene Olive Oil Co., but started a business of her own two years ago. She brings oils pressed in California olive groves – 750 miles from Spokane – to sell in the Inland Northwest.

The oils are sold in 250 milliliter bottles for $14.99. Some are infused with rosemary, mandarin orange, rosemary, chili, roasted garlic, Meyer lemon, Persian lime or basil. Right now, she’s offering a first pressing of the olives, or olio nuovo, for $18.99, which comes with a little sample bottle of imported balsamic vinegar.

The oils are also sold at Huckleberry’s Natural Markets; Pilgrim’s Market, 1316 N. Fourth St., Coeur d’Alene; Latah Creek Winery and Gift Shop, 13030 E. Indiana Ave.; and Williams Seafood Market and Wines, 2118 N. Ruby St.

The Kitchen Engine has a buffet of other items from local companies: Zak Designs has the sweetest little colander bowls for fruit or batter bowls with lids. Or, ask about Fat Daddios pans. The company is headquartered in Spokane, although pans are manufactured overseas. I was eyeballing the connected mini loaf pans and jellyroll pans with lids while I shopped.

If you’re still in the market for a major purchase, Lloyd Industries founder John Crow will be at The Kitchen Engine 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. today to demonstrate the ManPans line. The pans are sold individually or in sets of seven or 10.

The Kitchen Engine will be closed Christmas Eve.

Local wines always make nice gifts. Check in with your favorite winery to see what kind of special offering they have this season. There’s a list and links to the websites at www.spokanewineries.net.

Knipprath Cellars makes two popular ports, one infused with chocolate and another with vanilla, but they have two new items that caught my eye. First is the Oloroso sherry, $14.99 for a half bottle, which has a nice walnut flavor. For those who like flavor infusions, consider the Spanish Nudge, which includes the warming notes of cinnamon and coffee.

Stop by the tasting room to sample before you buy at 5634 E. Commerce Ave. It is open noon to 5 p.m. Wednesday through Friday this week.


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