Sunday Marks Your Last Chance for Host, Hostess, and Holiday Gifts at the Market

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Saturday, October 29, 2016, 12:55 am
By: 
Alice Dreger

People tend to think of the East Lansing Farmer’s Market in terms of fruits and vegetables, but at this time of year, I think of our hometown market as a goldmine for host, hostess, and holiday gifts that are unique, delightful, and locally produced. But don’t wait: this Sunday (October 30, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.) is your last chance to stock up on great gifts this season. After this Sunday, the market will be closed until next spring.

What items do I have in mind as gift options?

At the Droscha Sugarbush Syrup booth, Bryan and Apryl Droscha will walk you through a variety of delightful syrup options in various sizes, all the way from stocking-stuffer-sized, leaf-shaped bottles to generous glass jugs. Droscha offers unflavored and flavored maple syrups, a favorite of our household being the bourbon-casked syrup that tastes fantastic when used on grilled or stewed fruit or on roasted pork or salmon. A little ribbon makes their bottles look quite festive.

Being put up overnight by a friend or relative this season, and need to bring something to thank your host or hostess for bed and breakfast? Many vendors sell delicious and beautifully presented jams and jellies. Check out, for instance, those sold by Jennifer Rusnock at Jenny’s Sweets and Treats.

At the Spoonful of Granola stand, vendor Sara Beer provides lots of yummy granola options. These can be topped with honey from Applegarth Honey collected personally by beekeeper Dale Woods.

You can also pick up bags of locally-roasted coffee beans from Rust Belt Roastery and loose currant mist tea from Coon’s Berry Farm. Imagine creating a “breakfast basket” for a host putting you up overnight—coffee, tea, syrup, honey, jam, and granola. (Article continues below.)

At the market you’ll also find a variety of vinegar options, including sweet orange pepper vinegar at the Owosso Organics tent, run by Richard Bowie. Coon’s Berry Farm sells fruit-based vinegars, including currant and red raspberry. And don’t miss the tons of pickle options provided by 45th Parallel Pickle Company and jarred sauerkraut and kimchee options from Trillium Wood Farm. (Article continues below.)

Brenda Ginther’s Wooden Shoe Herb Farm is a veritable goldmine for elegant small gifts. Ginther sells jarred, dried herbs—including a wonderful herbes de Provence mix—as well as handmade scented soaps and oils. She also knits “soap bags” into which you put a bar of soap to use like a washcloth, and potted, living herb plants that can be given to brighten a winter kitchen windowsill. (Article continues below.)

Want to bring some cheeses to a host or hostess? Check out Hickory Knoll Farms Creamery where the farmer-guys sell a wide variety of soft and hard cheeses made from the milk of their 120 goats and two cows. You might want to check out The Cheese People, too.

Finally, if you’re going to be a guest of a cook sooner rather than later, go ahead and think about creating an arrangement of edibles—gourds and squash, heads of garlic, sweet potatoes and celeriac root. What’s at the market now in terms of edible options will often keep for weeks if not months. I can personally recommend the garlic of Phil Throop of Wildflower Eco Farms and celeriac root of Titus Farms.

Feel like you need to dress up your edible arrangement a little? Go for a lavender wand or sage bunch from Wooden Shoe or beeswax candles from Applegarth Honey. And, hey, who wouldn’t like to open a stocking to find a nice head of garlic, a bunch of fresh onions, or a handsome yellow beeswax candle? (Maybe I’m weird that way.)

These are just some of the locally-sourced gift options you’ll find if you wander down to Valley Court this Sunday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

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