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Oh my goodness, do we love to eat in the South, or what? Family gatherings are planned around what time the food will be ready to eat, and holiday meals are organized into food groups, cook times and platter sizes. Grandma Katy’s cookbook is practically a member of the family around my house (it even has her name embossed on the cover!)
If you have a foodie or five on your holiday gift list, these suggestions might take care of them all. Just provide the pretty gift bag and some tissue paper, and you’ll be good to go.
Raymond Fischer started packaging honey he gleaned from his hives in his kitchen during the 1930s, and Fischer’s Honey is still filling jars and honey bears as the oldest and largest honey processing and packing operation in the state of Arkansas. You can give a sweet gift in the form of a gift box by ordering from them online. They also sell honey in half-gallon and gallon containers for the serious honey-lover.
House of Webster is located in Rogers, and has been producing jams, jellies, syrups, sauces and a wide variety of pickled items for over 80 years. They are well-known for their prepackaged gift baskets, but you can also create your own custom basket by selecting your choice of items from their website. My personal favorites are the all-natural jams and jellies that are sweetened with white grape juice and contain no preservatives or food dyes. They would make great hostess gifts, or just keep some on hand for holiday guests.
Kent Walker Artisan Cheese was born of a love for the production process. Kent left a career in engineering to become a small-batch cheese maker working out of a church kitchen. Four years later, he’s a true manufacturer, sourcing milk from cows, goats and sheep in Central Arkansas and selling the results of his efforts in 23 stores in three states. Check his website for locations, to order online, or to find out when you can check out the operation and taste some cheese on-site.
The booming success of My Brother’s Salsa, based in Rogers, is a testament to the determination and sheer hard work of its founder, Helen Lampkin. The original salsa recipe really did come from her brother, and she really does cook in her own kitchen every day. Her line of salsas offer something for everyone – lovers of bold flavors, chunky textures, sweet, or smooth will all be satisfied. The company has been certified “women-owned” and can be found in grocery stores across the state, but they offer some great gift ideas (and recipes!) on their website.
There are several options around the state for lovers of locally-roasted coffee. Arsaga’s and Onyx Coffee Lab (located in Northwest Arkansas) both offer high-quality merchandise for the coffee-brewing aficionado, and Onyx sells some sweet threads to wear as well. Mama Carmen’s (Fayetteville) and Mountain Bird (Holiday Island) sell specialty blends of teas in addition to their coffee. West Rock has a prepackaged gift pack that includes a couple of mugs, and sells their blends in k-cups for those who are technologically advanced.
Pink House Alchemy is a locally-grown business based in Fayetteville that provides the perfect gifts for anyone who values a well-stocked bar. But even if you’re a teetotaler, a club soda + any flavor of their simple syrups make for a fantastic alternative to popular colas. They also sell shrubs and bitters, and if you aren’t sure what to do with those, follow their Instagram account for some recipes. If you’re in Bentonville next month, look for their new storefront on southwest “A” street. Not surprisingly, it’s in a pink house.
Roll & Tumble Provisions is the newest venture of Christy Turk, an artist living in Fayetteville. She has transitioned from creating delightful prints and tees to dressing up tables and hostess gifts with her block-printed items like coasters, napkins and beverage stirrers. Perhaps a cocktail made with some Pink House Alchemy syrup and accompanied by accessories from Roll & Tumble would make Santa a happy elf this year?
Walker Wood Works lists a wide variety of beautiful things on their website, but right now I’m talking about their cutting boards and wine accessories. They make a beautiful cutting board in the shape of the state of Arkansas, and my guess is they could create a custom one if you know a poor soul living somewhere else. There are also mixed-wood cheese boards, and the wine caddy that holds two glasses and slides over the neck of a bottle is kind of genius. They only use hardwood that is locally harvested or reclaimed, and never add stain or dyes to their products.
War Eagle Mill has been grinding grains in their historic location on War Eagle Creek in Rogers since 1832. Today, they sell a huge selection of baking mixes, jams and jellies, and gift items on their website and at the mill. For a truly unique gift idea, check out the subscription plan that will put a surprise box of goodies in your friend’s mailbox for $29.99 a month. Or maybe you could test it out yourself this year… you know, for quality assurance reasons.
This post is #4 in a series of gift ideas that are made right here in Arkansas. Follow along if you want to knock the socks off your favorite people and show some love to local folks who are renting studio space or making messes in their garages and spare bedrooms so you don’t have to.
Here is a list of more Arkansas food related gift ideas from our friend @TheParkWife at Taste Arkansas.
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