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Give the Gift of Food 

Create a bountiful basket full of local food items

From hot sauce to gourmet chocolates, Central Oregon has an abundance of food artisans and makers. Gift the foodie on your list with a lovely assortment of locally handcrafted food and drink in a gift basket, or give a single luxury food item, such as a box of buttery toffee from Holm Made Toffee Co., or a delightful bottle of one of the handcrafted Meadowland simple syrups, with beautifully illustrated labels by artist Katie Daisy.

With local breweries numbering nearly three dozen these days, suffice it to say you could put together a full basket of brews for the beer lover on your list featuring a variety of local beer. Get a list of Central Oregon microbreweries online at northwestmicrobreweries.com. Boneyard Beer even brews up what they call a wellness beverage which is sparkling water with CBD.

A basket overflowing with local food and drink items. - PHOTO SUBMITTED
  • Photo Submitted
  • A basket overflowing with local food and drink items.

Beer isn't the only beverage brewing in Central Oregon these days, and any coffee aficionado would most likely enjoy a bag of beans from a local roaster or even a sampler of beans from several. Strictly Organic is known for its certified organic and fair trade coffees and Sisters Coffee Co. is featuring a Central Oregon Makers Holiday gift box with their Holiday Cheer Blend, Metolius Artisan Tea and Seahorse Chocolate.

Other beverage makers to note are Riff, with their plant-powered energy drink made from cascara and their cold brewed coffees as well as The Ale Apothecary with their gorgeous bottles of barrel-aged beers made with wild airborne yeasts. Humm Kombucha has come a long way since its humble beginnings in 2008 delivering its glass jars of kombucha door-to-door. Today Humm's original probiotic kombuchas come in many flavors and there are even zero sugar and Whole30 approved versions.

Beyond the bevy of beverage makers in the area are the many makers of foods. Broadus Bees not only educates the public about the role bees play in producing the food we eat; they also provide mentoring and maintenance for local beekeepers and make several varieties of honey. Justy Haney's jellies are handmade in small batches and have been around since 1996 when she launched Justy's Jelly in Redmond. Her famous Pineapple Jalapeno jelly is just one of a dozen or so flavors available. And what could go better with jelly and honey than a delicious, decadent nut butter from Jem Organics! Jem's sprouted, stone-ground butters are USDA certified organic, paleo, vegan, and dairy free. Flavors include Cashew Cardamon Almond Butter, Cinnamon Maca Almond Butter, and Chocolate Hazelnut Butter, among others.

A basket of local food items makes a great gift. - PHOTO SUBMITTED
  • Photo Submitted
  • A basket of local food items makes a great gift.

If you have a hot sauce lover in your circle, locally made fRED Sauce is 100% organic and comes in red and green. The Dry Canyon Salt Company in Redmond creates small-batch, handcrafted, gourmet wine salts in three flavors – Red, White and Rosé. Wine salt is simply salt infused with wine; it's used for seasoning, as a dry rub on meats and fish, as a finishing salt, and on pastas and salads. Another excellent local source for salts, spices and other seasonings, extracts and sauces is Savory Spice Shop in the Old Mill District. Their spices are ground fresh in small, weekly batches and they offer more than 140 original recipe seasonings. Celia's Gourmet Foods in Sisters features grandmother "Mama Celia's" original centuries old recipes for gourmet balsamic vinegars and olive oil products.

For that active on-the-go person in your life, Izzy's Amazing Granola could be a perfect stocking stuffer. Busy Izzy Foods is based in Prineville and their flagship nutritionally dense Amazing granola with organic oats, pecans and pumpkin seeds will last up to six months in their resealable bags. They also offer a keto-friendly/lectin-free granola with pecans and hemp.

Healthy nuts and nut blends are another great gift or stocking idea. Gather Nuts soaks each batch of their nuts before slow roasting them at a low temperature. Options include roasted cashews, almonds, and Brazil nuts in a variety of flavors including Turmeric Curry Cashews and Maple Cardamom Almonds, and there are also sampler and boxes perfect for gift giving. If hazelnuts are your jam, then try "Mom's Nuts!" featuring organic roasted hazelnuts and hazelnut butter.

For the meat lover on your list, how about a package of beef pepperoni sticks, jerky or pork strips from Pioneer Ranch in Tumalo. And finally, how about a little something sweet. We mentioned Seahorse Chocolate already, but they're worth mentioning again in further detail as a single-origin chocolate roastery in Bend. They say their secret is drum roasting small batches of cocoa beans to bring out each varietal's unique flavor. If truffles are what you have in mind, Lidia's Chocolates are produced from the finest cacao grown in remote areas of Venezuela and handmade locally by Lidia Vazquez.

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