Let’s face it. We’re all busy this time of year. Work, family and holiday plans keep us chasing from one thing to the next and holiday shopping can take a back seat. When it comes to creating festive eating and drinking experiences, you want it to be special though, right? Emerging food crafters are on the rise across Oregon, so there are tasty ways to add flair to your holiday meals and entertaining, and support local business at the same time. A few Southern Oregon shopkeepers are devoted to showcasing locally made products so you can support them for special holidays and all year round.  Here’s what we found on our recent Sunday tour in search of what’s readily available for the home cook.

The Culinarium is one hotbed of local and global small batch food products worth the short trip. Co-owned by Chef Constance Jesser, and husband David Jesser, the Mercantile carries a wide selection of local wines, Rogue Creamery cheeses, olive oils, baking products, pastas and hundreds of condimente to jazz up just about any recipe you’re planning for the holidays. Constance handles the bulk of the product selection and always has creative thoughts on ways to use the unique products from Oregon and Italy. A purchase here supports small businesses locally and across the globe.

One Stop Holiday Shopping Southern Oregon

The next stop on our Sunday tour of local food shops was Rogue Creamery in Central Point. The shelves overflowed with products made right in Southern Oregon. Here are just a few of them:

  • Oshala Farm’s organic dried herbs and nutritional teas are produced on a heritage farm in the Applegate Valley. Fresh harvested, put up in their drying barn and packaged for distribution. Herbs from Oshala Farm are the closest to a fresh flavor we have found to date.
  • NutFusions: Blends of peanut butter, healthy seeds and spices. Kicked up nutrition and flavor for new AND experienced palates.
  • Shibumi balsamic vinegar: The finest reduction of imported Modena vinegar you will ever find without the usual sweeteners common in most balsamic vinegar products. This one is perfect when drizzled over fresh sliced pears, cheese, strawberries, and vanilla ice cream.
  • Salinity Salts: Flavor packed finishing salts are what co-owners and longtime friends Laine Alexander and Jody Van Buskirk of Applegate Valley specialize in. From their original Rosemary Garlic to Lemon Ginger to their newest Thai Chili Lemongrass, they’re giving home cooks a few extra “tools” under their cooking belts.

Southern Oregon Harry and David One-stop Shopping

Our visit to Harry and David’s Country Store in Medford wrapped up our discovery day of ogling and tasting. We love the convenience of having this food emporium in the central part of the valley, where we can find local products in one place. The commitment to supporting local food businesses is obvious throughout the store and we loved the mini-market tucked back near the produce department. Shelves and baskets were overflowing with an abundant selection of products from Southern Oregon food artisans, such as chocolate covered rice and quinoa cakes from PopCakes in Talent, Seed Oil Company’s Pumpkin Seed Powder (a super healthy smoothie add-in) and their Pumpkin Seed Oil produced in the Applegate Valley, Ashland’s Village Baker fresh breads, and dozens of ciders and beers from across the region…and too many to mention. They’re all here!

That’s a wrap! Now get out there and give some holiday love to Southern Oregon food artisans. Go to one or stop in all of them. They’re full of local goodness.

Images: Barb Magee