Market Now Offering Lasting Gifts for Early Holiday Shoppers

Thursday, October 4, 2018, 5:00 am
By: 
Alice Dreger and Ann Nichols

The East Lansing Farmers Market is now offering many options for shoppers who want to get a jump on holiday gift purchases. An array of nonperishable items – all locally produced – can be purchased now through the end of the month on Sundays in Valley Court Park. Shoppers can enjoy brunch or lunch from a variety of food trucks and enjoy live music as they shop.

The ribbon-wrapped wand of lavender stems, shown above, comes from Wooden Shoe Herb Farm and could be used to dress-up a wrapped gift. Brenda Ginther of Wooden Shoe (below) also offers jars of dried herbs, including an Italian blend and classic herbs de Provence, along with scented oils and soaps perfect for stocking-stuffing. She also makes and sells her own special hand salves, made fragrant from the addition of herb oils.

Sapo de Solis features hand-crafted, all-natural products for humans and their non-human companions, including shampoos and shower poufs for gentle washing, plus candles and soaps. A number of items from this vendor would make appropriate host/hostess gifts, or great additions to a gift package for a favorite teacher or work colleague.

Looking for something tasty that will keep until December and beyond? Stop by the Applegarth Honey booth for free samples of light and dark honey, both usually available in smaller and larger jars. Beekeeper Dale Woods of Applegarth Honey also sells homemade beeswax candles in a variety of shapes, from simple blocks to ones shaped like Winnie the Pooh.

You can also sample the wares at Droscha Sugarbush Syrup – purveyors of local maple syrup and maple syrup products. The choices here are abundant, ranging from tiny bottles of syrup you can carry with you on a plane to quart-size bottles perfect for a large family gathering.

Bryan and Apryl Droscha (above) staff their family business’s booth and are always happy to give samples of their simple and flavored syrups, including the bourbon-casked syrup ELi has previously suggested as a glaze for roasted meats and fruits. The Droschas also offer a mustard-maple glaze that can be used as a marinade or as the basis for a salad dressing, and they have maple candies.

At Owosso Organics, Richard Bowie (above) and Pooh Stevenson sell mostly vegetables and flowers, but they always have a few items that will keep longer – including sometimes homemade greeting cards featuring original photographs of their farms’ bounty. Right now, they also have for sale a spicy orange pepper vinegar and jars of “pepper crumbles,” perfect for anyone who likes chunky pepper bits on pizza or morning eggs.

Got a garlic-lover in your life? Phil Throop of Wildflower Eco Farm may still have some garlic braids this coming weekend, and Dan Kostecke of Guiding Light Garlic Farm (below) has dried garlic chips along with powdered dried garlic, from which it’s easy to make the garlic salt these reporters love on steak, fried vegetables, and popcorn.

Then there are the gifts you can give yourself, to make your home feel a little more festive and make you feel a little warmer as the days get shorter. Consider dropping a couple of dollars on some silly or spectacular squash for a resilient and colorful centerpiece (sample below). Get yourself a pound of locally-roasted coffee, some cheese for snacking, a fancy bath oil for soaking.

And don’t forget: On Sunday, October 14, visitors to the market can enjoy free horse-and-wagon rides, children’s activities, free donuts and cider, and more, as part of the City’s annual Autumn Fest. The market is open every Sunday through the end of October from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in Valley Court Park.