Monday, December 6, 2010

For the Hostess, From the Market

Holiday gifts, anyone?
When I was a child, we 5 children had Christmas stockings. I remember going to school and everyone comparing notes; "what did you get in your stocking??" Me: Nuts and Citrus. Hmmm. btw my friend above offers wonderful balsamic vinegars at our Saturday market.
For my parents, coming from Cincinnati and Calgary, nuts were expensive and citrus was exotic. It's ironic that while I hated them then, now I often gift them for informal Christmas or hostess gifts. What do you gift when something simple is ideal? I don't know if it's just our family, but the bowls of nuts and clementines are always popular and always emptied~

My Mom eats Clementines all season, especially when I bring them to her organic from the market, fresh picked with green leaves~
This weekend at my Saturday (Corona del Mar) and Sunday (Rancho Santa Fe), I toured the market to assemble some inexpensive hostess or other gifts. These could also be teacher gifts etc.
If you take even humble citrus and honey and package it in a basket, box top or any other container, add a bow and greens, you have a genuine and useful gift.

Many of my friends love the pesto from our Saturday market, here with Meyers lemons~
We have a grower that comes from Stockton, they have the BEST nuts; they want to see their pic on a blog so here they are!
Can you taste the difference between fresh pecans and the grocery store version? I assure you you, yes; you will~
and the store they are usually salted and roasted, but at the markets here they are roasted and unsalted, which will be fresh and ideal for my Christmas biscotti....
and salted almonds....
Bag any of these up, even in tiny quantities, layer them, and add a ribbon. Guaranteed to be loved, eaten or baked~
I paired the nuts with sweet Meyers Lemons and a Metis toile~this is much more personal than a bottle of wine though of course it takes a little more planning, but that's the idea, isn't it??

Jim from Clean Living sells handmade soaps and salt scrubs at the market, they are the best and featured prominently in our baskets last year~
Jim can do a finished trio like this, so pretty~
Most markets have herbs for sale, for $1. What to do with them??
Try a trio of them in a container, here a lion's head $7 pot from the hardware store. Tie the ribbon around the back side low like this~
Won't your hostess adore this for the winter? It will cost you about $10 + ribbon and moss....
Add in a few pine cones and no one will be confused, this is Christmas! There are $1 white pots too, whatever container you can find...stuff with moss and you have a pretty gift~

Cindy at our Saturday market has all kinds of exotic fruits; she gave me a selection, guavas, two kinds of persimmons, a pomegranate and something I can't remember the name...but I will buy it again this weekend and it's an exotic pear-taste. These in our $3 net bag; I gave this to Lorie and Larry yesterday and it was well-received....

And then there is Don~ he sells 300 dozen organic eggs each week, from his farm and his hundreds of chickens in Wildomar~
He has a line up of honey, berries, jams and preserves, home made, plus squash +++; the honey sticks would be fun tucked into a basket~
I added his honey jar in with the clementines, sprinkle a few chestnuts for seasonal cheer~
If you want to enhance a $20 farmers market gift, add in a Metis linen~
tucked in to a vintage French egg basket...
both egg baskets sold today, with Don's eggs in them.
tomorrow I will show you Sunday's market; very different yet perfect....


  1. You have a wonderful Farmer's Market there! Ours is quite diverse, too, even with artisan bread bakers. But the honey and tangerines and French soaps are perfect fillers for your totes. Can't wait to see the Sunday version.

  2. Wow, I bet you get invited back to just about everywhere you go, best hostess gifts ever. Especially for me because I don't really drink so the wine gets opened and passed around. I wouldn't pass these gifts around, I'd save them for myself. I just tasted a persimmon for the first time at Thanksgiving, it was in a salad and I loved it!

  3. I wish I lived close to you so I could go to that lovely Farmer's Market!!! You are one lucky woman living close to the Market!! I love your post!

  4. I think this would be a perfect teacher's gift ~ wink,wink. You always do such a nice job of packaging. Who wouldn't be thrilled to receive such a thoughtful {and yummy} gift?!


  5. The markets there always sound so wonderful. I know what you mean about the oranges and nuts. I always got them in my stocking, too, and thought of it as just "filler". But now I crave citrus in the winter. I'd rather get a box of oranges or grapefruit (or better yet, a BASKET!) than a box of chocolates. Yes, I'm probably weird.
    (Love the potted herbs and bagged fruit, too).

  6. Just beautiful! I was excited to learn that the Litchfield market has now begun again as it is right in my own backyard. Will go on Sunday to check it out and talk to the director.
    I have been thinking of you and hoped you enjoyed your special day.
    Birthday dinner tonight for hubby.
    Two final projects due tomorrow.