Fogline Farms chutneys and achars: one for you, two for me...
Most people will love and appreciate the unnecessary material good you’ve carefully selected—it’s the thought that counts, anyway, right? But when it comes to the impassioned activist on your list, holiday shopping becomes a little more challenging. For the Occupier in the family, there is only one type of gift that will flatter and please without offending their anti-corporate, nonconsumerist and eco-conscious values: the made-in-Santa Cruz gift. This guide locates some nifty locally made gifts anyone can feel warm and fuzzy about giving or receiving.
The Hoodie Scarf, designed by Amber Young of Ragged Thistle, offers the stylish flair of a scarf while keeping the top of your head warm too. The hoodie scarf is made from reconstructed wool and cashmere sweaters, as are Ragged Thistle’s cloaks, coats, dresses, skirts and childrens’ sweaters. Ragged Thistle sells at the downtown farmers market through December. Prices range from $45–$450.
Confections and Preserves
Fogline Farms preserves are made from locally grown ingredients and include concoctions like a Tomato Ginger Achar (great as a simmer sauce), Pear Chutney (delicious with pork chops), Albion Strawberry Jam (not too sweet) and a firey little hot sauce called “Heat,” at the Santa Cruz Community Farmers Market. (For an added personalized touch, include the October 2011 Issue of Men’s Journal, which features a three-page spread of the three Fogline farmers.) $6–$8.
Dirty Girl Produce is selling delicious preserves made by Happy Girl Kitchen Co. Jars of pickled green beans, a Dry Farmed Early Girl Tomato Reduction and stewed Early Girl Tomatoes make a nice gift for foodies. Pick them up at the Downtown farmers market or online at http://happygirlkitchen.com/store/. $8–$13.
Serendipity Saucy Spreads makes unique jams and jellies like Spiced Carrot, Meyer Lemon & Lavender Marmalade and Pear & Rosemary Conserve. They also have a line of sugar-free preserves sweetened with agave nectar. Available at Sunnyside Produce, 2520 South Main St., Soquel; Stripe; New Leaf everywhere and Whole Foods in Santa Cruz and Capitola. $10-$11.
Solid wood handplanes for bodysurfing help the ocean lover in your life get into waves sooner and have more control going down the line. Solid wood, coated in epoxy and available in various shapes and sizes. Handmade by Ventana Surf Co. and available at Stripe or online at ventanasurfco.com. Starting at $150.
Jewelry and Accessories
Nicole Remidio’s unique Movement Rings are crafted from the inner mechanical guts of old watches. Available at Stripe. $50.
Handcrafted leather cuffs by Nuala and wooden-beaded leather bracelets by Blackbird Design make for durable and long-lasting wrist accessories for the edgy fashionista/o in your life. At Stripe. $16-$20.
The ECO*Flex Heating and Cooling Recovery Pillow is designed by Dohna Lee Dunderdale, owner of the Made in Santa Cruz store on the Wharf. These 14” x 20” pillows are stuffed with California-grown rice and Bonny Doon Farms lavender. Heat them in the microwave and wrap them around your shoulders for an economical way to stay warm or to alleviate headaches or muscle aches (the rice retains a deep heat) or else put them in the freezer for a cooling effect. At Made In Santa Cruz. $29.95.
The Homeless Garden Project’s holiday store is selling intricate and sweet-smelling dried flower wreaths made by trainees from the herbs and flowers grown at the organic farm on the westside. Handmade herb vinegars, hand-dipped beeswax candles, aprons and jewelry are also available. At 110 Cooper Street, Santa Cruz. Prices vary.
Andrew Butler worked for the U.S. Postal Service in Santa Cruz County for 30 years before devoting himself to his art photography. Butler, who says he has “color fever,” still shoots with film. His art prints are colorful compositions of urban textures and people, inspired by his travels through Brazil, Bali, India and Nepal, to name a few places. His latest work is framed with salvaged window frames and is available at Artisan’s Gallery or online at http://andrewbutlerphotography.com/.
Local painter Marie Gabrielle has released a 2012 calendar of her vibrant watercolors of landscapes from around the Monterey Bay, Big Sur and Provence. The calendars are available for $17.99 at the Made in Santa Cruz store on the Municipal Wharf. You can also find Gabrielle’s watercolors at Artisan’s Gallery in downtown Santa Cruz.
Santa Cruz-inspired prints by Stephen Hosmer of Stokes Signs make perfect gifts for anyone who holds Santa Cruz and all of its charms dear. Hosmer has been designing custom signs in town since 1974 and is a master of Reverse Gold Work and neon signs. At Paper Vision.
Holiday Art and Crafts Sales
Bargetto Winery’s 20th annual Art in the Cellar event brings over 20 local photographers, potters, jewelry makers and painters together under one roof for the ultimate made-in-Santa Cruz holiday extravaganza. A perfect opportunity to chat with the artists and check off multiple names from your list, all in one stop. Locally made wine and mead is also a great way to warm the holidays. Saturday, Dec. 3 and Sunday, Dec 4 at 3535 North Main St., Soquel.
The 4th Annual $25 or Less Handmade Gift Sale is a reassuring alternative to falling in love with gifts that are far too expensive to afford. The event is organized by Blue Heron Design Group and will include garden sculptures, aprons and scarves, wallets, soaps, sea glass creations and more. Saturday, Dec. 3 at 1534 Pacific Ave., and Sunday, Dec. 4 at The Art Factory, 9099 Soquel Dr., Aptos.