How to shop local on a busy holiday
Written by Jacey Hammond
According to ABC, in 2017 total spending for Valentine’s day went up to 18.2 billion dollars – about $140 a person. How much of the billions of chocolates and goodies came from local providers?
It seems easier to pick up a dozen roses or a bag of chocolate than it is to find the perfect locally made gift. But many local businesses thrive at creating quality Valentine’s presents. The Finger Lakes is booming with delectable wines, chocolates and experiences to gift to your honey on this special day. Below are six ideas that will help you put together the ultimate Valentine’s Day package for the one in your life who deserves it the most.
1. Plants: Michaleen’s
Run by Cornell graduate, Michaleen Herzorg, this flower shop has two greenhouses in Ithaca, New York. Instead of flowers, consider getting your loved one a plant. They last much longer than flowers do and are a more sustainable gift. Though this business is well-known for their wedding arrangements and bouquets, their plants are what is locally-grown. Perhaps a hanging terrarium, or set of sweet succulents will be the gift to surprise your garden-loving partner this year. Michaleen’s has been serving the community for over 20 years now and delivers daily to satisfy its customers. Orders can be made at any time online, or you can visit the storefront as well.
2. Honey: Hungry Bear Farms
This farm is located just off of Canandaigua Lake and owned by Ben and Kimberly Carpenter. What started as just a hobby for these two nature-lovers turned into a booming honey business. Ben runs the logistics side of things and Kimberly tends to the bees. Through both this wonderful marriage of people and business they have managed to create a farm that not only cares for bees, but also teaches new beekeepers how to farm through classes. They offer many different varieties of honey including spring blossom, summer wildflowers, blueberry honey, buckwheat honey (suggested to accompany pancakes), and orange blossom. They also sell raw honey, bee pollen and honey straws –– which are great alternatives to paper ones. The best part is, most of their products don’t surpass 15 dollars – budget friendly! Visit hungrybearfarms.com.
3. Chocolate – Rue Claire Lavender Farm and Artisan Chocolate
This lavender farm and artisan chocolate shop is also located right on the Seneca Lake wine trail. Find them between Wagner winery and Dano’s on Seneca with truffles, seasonal molds, hot chocolate bars for special events and chocolate making classes. Classes include wine tastings, champagne pairings and a lesson on how to make your very own exotic chocolate truffle! If getting your hands covered in chocolate is not your thing, then just stick to buying the chocolate. Chocolates can be purchased at the storefront as well as neighboring businesses in the FLX including Lucky Hare Brewing, Finger Lakes Distilling, Downtown Grind, Red Tail Ridge winery and Taste New York Market. Reserve chocolates by phone or email email@example.com, or check out their site at rueclaire.com.
4. Red Wine – Blaufränkisch/Lemberger
As mentioned in our current issue, we love a Blaufränkisch/Lemberger bottle in February. The grape can be produced in many different styles – so whether your loved-one prefers a dark, full-bodied red or a lighter red with less acidity, this wine is perfect to share on V-Day. The wine is a great gift – and you can use our article to make yourself look super knowledgeable about wine, double points! Various vineyards and wine companies in the FLX carry this variety including Atwater Vineyards, Hector Wine Company, Red Tail Ridge Winery and more.
5. Oils & Vinegars – F. Oliver’s
If staying in and cooking something special for your loved one is more your style, F. Oliver’s is the perfect place to get speciality Finger Lakes oils and vinegars. They have locations in Ithaca, Rochester and Canandaigua and offer speciality flavored olive oils, aged balsamic vinegars from Italy and custom spice blends. Some extra virgin olive oil flavors include lemon, garlic, sage with wild-harvest mushroom, smoky chipotle and tuscan garden. For balsamic vinegars the business provides an autumn cinnamon pear, blushing peach and cafe espresso to name just a few varieties. F. Oliver’s has a page dedicated to recipes using their ingredients as well as a cookbook. They have pre-made gourmet gift boxes online or you can customize your own gift in the store to give to the chef in your life.
6. Experience – Wine and Food Pairing at La Tourelle
If it’s an experience you seek, look no further than La Tourelle located in Ithaca. The hotel is offering a special dinner event for V-day. With the help from their friends at Finger Lakes Distilling and Damiani Wine Cellars, the restaurant is providing a five-course meal accompanied by wine tastings on Valentine’s Day. As you and your dinner guest indulge in the professionally-made food you can take in the lovely music played by The Heartstring Quartet. To grab your seats, call their front desk.
Jacey Hammond is a junior journalism major at Ithaca College and this semester’s editorial intern at Edible Finger Lakes. This Jersey girl loves to write, sing, bake, cook and explore the food scene in the FLX.