Holiday '09: Sleep in on Black Friday - buy local
Holiday goodies from Maite Zubia of Maitelates. Photo by David Haines
What I don't plan to do is be up at a ridiculous hour to participate in the madness that is Black Friday.
While there are some children and others on my list for whom I'll bend and get the latest whatever that's within my budget, most of my holiday shopping this year will be via the talented food artisans in this area.
Michigan was praised by the recently-departed Gourmet magazine as having the second greatest variety of produce after California and a wonderful "fresh market" industry. This is fine praise, indeed, as California is widely seen as the trendsetter of the U.S. food artisan market. Our climate, rich soil, and the initiative of small food business owners and local farmers may be something that helps to pull us from the economic quagmire that we've been experiencing for the last several years.
Kern Road Farm chutneys and jams. Photo by Jennifer Haines
During my walk through the Farmers Market on Saturday, the items below caught my eye, but there are also wonderful options that include handmade jewelry, pottery, Christmas ornaments, tea towels, exotic jams, hot and pasta sauces and wreaths and centerpieces of all types and sizes.
Biscotti Factory Christmas cookie platter. Photo by Jennifer Haines
The Oliverio sisters of Pasta e Pasta are selling their wonderful pastas in beautifully wrapped gift baskets for holiday shopping.
Cecilia's Pastries Rustic Apple Tart. Photo by Jennifer Haines
Maite Zubia of Maitelates, has order forms for her over-the-top alfajores - the Chilean cookies that are decadent, delicate cookies, spread with dulce de leche and other purees (including Michigan cherry and quince) and covered in a rich dark chocolate. You can also buy jars of Maite's fabulous dulce de leche. Each cookie is wrapped individually with beautiful labels, and the gift packages are either bags tied with rustic twine or elegant gift boxes.
Tasty Bakery's gluten-free baked goods. Photo by David Haines
This is just a small sampling of the many options that are available in our area. The foods in this post were found at the Ann Arbor Farmers Market this past Saturday; other wonderful options abound from Sweet Gem Confections, holiday torrones and pan fortes at Morgan and York, various holiday treats (including their wonderful jams) from The Produce Station, fresh baked Polish pastries or fresh pierogies from Copernicus, gift baskets or Avalon bakery Stollen from The People's Food Co-op, and undoubtedly similar options from Arbor Farms. I'm Jennifer Shikes Haines, and my blog is a2eatwrite.