Locally Made Gift Items at the Farm Market

Farm Market Report for Dec 8, 2015 Keith Helmuth

Locally Made Gift Items at the Farm Market

Ever since the Woodstock Farm and Craft Market completed its interior renovation, more and more unique products are showing up. New vendors bring in new products and old vendors cook up new products.

The unique character of Farm Market craft products is especially evident this time of year. A local person who had never been in the Market before, recently looked around and exclaimed, “I had no idea the Farm Market had such a great variety of neat things for sale.” Here’s a rundown of some items that will have a special appeal as unique gifts.

Would you believe, the Market has six vendors that make a large variety of enticing soaps? They have different shaped bars in different colours, delicately scented from pure organic materials, or unscented. The newest entry in the field is Doug McFarlane of Lone Pine Farms (Wakefield) with goat milk soap made in a mold that embosses a lively goat on the top of the bar.

Some soap makers also have a variety of body care products – salves, creams, lotions, shea butter, lip balm, and bath salts, all of which make nice small gift items. Some vendors have gift packages ready to go, or you could make up your own.

Hand knit products are a Market staple and this time of year the socks, mittens, hats, and leg warmers, all in many colours and sizes, are hanging from their hooks and topping up the tables. Humble Creations hand sewn items for kitchen, nursery, personal, and household uses are now well stocked. Several vendors have created elaborate holiday wreaths that can be used season after season. Regular fir tip wreaths will be in the Market any day now.

You can tell when a product is a good seller in the Market – the shelf space expands. The sturdy, colourful, knitted, stuffed animals in the Heritage Hands stall have now taken over a whole upright shelf unit. Mixed in with the animals are creatures that look like aliens. My visiting grandson brought home one of their “Minions” last week. At least, I recognized that!

The Market has high quality wooden bowls and ceramic ware, handmade jewellery, woodcraft items, and wonderful hooked rugs of the good old fashion sort that never go out of style. The supply of Briggs and Little yarn has recently been topped up. A bottle Mott’s Landing wine makes a nice gift. One vendor now has comb honey and another has a large variety of essential oils. And, of course, maple syrup is a perennial gift item especially if you are travelling to visit folks who live outside the sugar maple zone. It may seem odd, but I bet there are people who would be delighted to get a package of dulse or a bag of soldier beans for Christmas.

And lastly, although this is not exactly a gift type item, I must note that locally grown sweet potatoes are now in the Market. Sunrise Farms grew some good-sized tubers this past season, and I can report they are as delicious as any sweet potatoes I have ever eaten.

It’s a cardinal rule of economic development that increasing prosperity comes with “import replacement.” This means the more goods a region can supply from its own enterprise the more prosperous it becomes. Up to now, sweet potatoes had to be imported from outside our region. Sunrise Farms has succeeded with “import replacement” on sweet potatoes. Three cheers for Sunrise Farms.