By Samantha
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I can’t tell you the last time I stepped foot in a mall. I’m sure many shoppers could say the same thing thanks to Amazon and online shopping, but that’s just a small part of it for me. I would much rather shop for gifts from local makers and craftspeople, gifts that have character. Meeting the person who made or grew something is such an awesome experience, don’t you think? And we are so lucky to have little towns like Princeton, Lambertville, New Hope, Doylestown, Somerville, Summit, etc. just a short drive away. Towns that bring the local artisans and artists to us, where we can ask questions and learn from them.

So if you need a gift for your holiday host, or a stocking stuffer for the foodie in your life, here are some of my favorite things that I’d gift in an instant!

KITCHEN ESSENTIALS & DECOR

PARK Woodshop Spoons & Edgewood Made Cutting Boards: I have had an obsession with wooden spoons ever since I started cooking. There’s something very comforting about cooking and tasting with them – maybe it’s the old-fashion nostalgia that I feel. So when I saw these cute little handcrafted wooden spoons at Preservation Fine Goods (Lambertville, NJ), I scooped a few up. And I love how they can hang on hooks in your kitchen, doubling as rustic décor. To go with them, I also picked up a beautifully crafted cutting board made in Philadelphia, PA – a perfect way to present cheese and appies this holiday season.

Metal Farm Animals: One of the most wonderful things about living in this area is all of the sprawling farms and the animals on them. I’ve always dreamed of living on a farm with goats, pigs and sheep… but then I also realize it’s a lot of work! So for those who love animals, this is a fun way to bring a little farm living into the home. These Metal art animals are made from recycled metal containers, and available at the People’s Store (Lambertville, NJ) and Stone House Antiques Center (Mechanicsville, PA). Each one has its own character, no two alike and are available in a variety of sizes.

Goose Creek Pottery: You work hard to cook a beautiful meal, and it deserves to be served on beautiful handcrafted platter. The first time I visited Goose Creek Pottery in Lambertville, I must have circled the gallery 20 times before deciding on a piece. I’m indecisive, no doubt about it, but this was worse than usual. I wanted to take every piece home with me! Goose Creek sculpts serving bowls, platters, pitchers, mugs, plates, vases… all in a variety of different colors and patterns. And each one is microwave and dishwasher safe.

EDIBLE GIFTS

Big Picture Farm Caramels: Ever since I tried these caramels that I picked up from Wyebrook Farm’s market, I can’t imagine life without them. The “secret ingredient” is fresh, creamy, delicious milk from a herd of happy and healthy, free-browsing goats. It’s my favorite way to satisfy my sweet tooth at the end of the night, and they make a great stocking stuffer. Try the chai flavor (my favorite). I ordered the variety pack online, but I believe you can also find them at Cherry Grove Cheese Farm‘s market.

Blue Moon Rice: Blue Moon rice has come up a few times on The Grazette, and that’s because I am such a big fan of this organic, New Jersey grown rice. I bring it to my family and friends when I am traveling and need to bring something to our host! For the farm-to-table foodie, throw a bow on a bag and get gifting – it never disappoints.

Zach & Zoe Honey: Every time I see a new maker of honey, I always pick up a bottle because honey never goes bad! So I may have a few jars in my cabinets, but this one takes the cake. I recently tried it at the Stockton Market and the flavor blew me away. I sampled it at the market with some bread and now I actually eat whole grain toast with honey for breakfast! I have a feeling I’ll be going through this jar faster than the rest.

Sciascia Confections: A few years back one of my clients gave me a box of Sciascia macarons for Christmas and now I treat myself to them every now and then. They come beautifully wrapped and in a variety of colors and flavors… each one brings me a bite closer to Paris. Their chocolate truffles and hot chocolate packs would also make a wonderful gift.

FAVORITE SHOPS CARRYING UNIQUE GOODS

If you’re looking to shop local and support more artisans, not just around the holidays but year round, these are some of my favorite places to go! When you shop at these places you’re not just supporting a local business owner, you’re supporting the people behind the products they carry. Spend some time walking around any of these little towns and I’m sure you’ll find some favorites of your own.

About the Author

Grazin' in New Jersey since 1988

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