A ‘Locavore’s’ holiday gift guide

Posted Nov. 26, 2010, at 5:43 p.m.

A “locavore” is a term coined in the past few years to denote somebody who tries to eat locally. We’d like to expand that term to include anybody who tries to buy locally, period. After all, isn’t it a nice feeling to know that you’re supporting the community and neighbors, especially at this time of giving? And we all know that Maine has a bounty of wonderful gifts, treats and goodies to offer. In 2010, make it a Maine-made holiday. You’ll feel good about what you buy, the local purveyors benefit from it, and your loved ones get a one-of-a-kind gift. Happy holidays, from the great state of Maine!

Lucy’s Granola ($7.50)

People can call you crunchy or granola, but if you’re eating the treats that Blue Hill-based Lucy Benjamin makes, you probably should take it as a compliment. Benjamin, a transplant to Maine from London, makes all-natural blends of whole grains, nuts, fruit and local honey and maple syrup. The three varieties — original, extra-seedy and gluten-free — are perfect fuel for a brisk winter morning. Lucy’s Granola is available online at lucysgranola.com, and at a number of coastal Maine shops and markets.

Maine-roasted coffee ($10-$12)

Instead of hitting up a big national chain for a coffee gift, try buying your beans from a local roaster. Some of our favorites include the rich, smooth Rebel Blend made by Portland-based Coffee By Design; the high-powered Thunderbolt Blend from North Berwick’s Carpe Diem; the bold Lobsterman’s Blend by Veazie’s Shipwreck Coffee; and the bright, easy-to-drink Maine Coastal Blend by Green Tree Coffee of Lincolnville.

Long Winter Farm ($5 and up)

When the names of body care items sound good enough to eat, you know you have a winner. Made in Maine? Even better. Amanda Nolan’s Long Winter Farm, based in the Lincoln County town of Alna, makes personal care items from herbs, olive oil, goat’s milk and other all-natural ingredients. Black current and honey soap. Peppermint hot cocoa lip balm. Iced lemon biscotti perfume oil. Pineapple cilantro skin cream. Your skin is starving for it. Visit longwinterfarm.com to buy, or go to the newly opened Maine Maven at 31 Mill St. in Orono.

Greetings From Area Code 207 and The Amazing Music of Mainers ($15-$20)

These two CD compilations are everything that’s great about Maine music. “Area Code 207” shines the spotlight on contemporary bands from the Pine Tree State, from up-and-coming rapper Spose to the dreamy rock of Marie Stella. “Amazing Music” looks into the past, from Rudy Vallee’s massive 1950s hit “The Maine Stein Song” to David Mallett’s “The Garden Song,” with some Maine humor from Tim Sample and Bert & I sprinkled in. Both albums are available at Bull Moose Music stores and Mr. Paperback stores; “Amazing” can be bought at mainevillepublishing.com, and “207” can be purchased at cornmealrecords.com.

Smith’s Smokehouse Meats ($2.99 and up)

It’s 20 degrees out. You’re in your ice shack on the lake, waiting for the fish to start biting. Oh, what’s that in your pocket? The smoky, meaty deliciousness that is a package of Smith’s Smokehouse jerky, that’s what. Available in honey-cured, blackstrap jerk, cajun, teriyaki, cowboy and Down East flavors, all made by the Monroe-based smokehouse. If that wasn’t enough, you can get bacon, salami, sausage and much more through their website, logsmokehouse.net, or at a variety of stores throughout Maine.

The Home T-shirt ($20-$25)

What better way to show your love for your home state than by proclaiming it to the world with a T-shirt? The Home T-shirt, created by Chas Bruns, one of the founders of the West Market Festival and the KahBang Festival in Bangor, says it all. It’s unisex and for all ages, comes in a variety of colors, and features an outline of our great state with the word “HOME” underneath. To buy, visit thehomeshirt.com.

Funk Stitch Jewelry ($10-$25)

Feather, leather and urban primitive styles are all the rage this year. Forgo mass-produced accessories and seek out the creations of Orono-based designer Emma Thieme and her Funk Stitch line of jewelry. Geometric shapes cut out of dyed leather, bits of odd fabric and metal grommets adorn eye-catching wrist cuffs and earrings. It’s funky and feminine. Buy online at funkstitch.etsy.com, or shop at Studio in Orono, Metropolitan Soul in Bangor or Roots & Tendrils in Belfast.

Cards, stationary and silkscreens by Ferdinand ($13-$40)

The witty, visually striking silkscreened items produced by Portland-based boutique Ferdinand are perfect for the person on your list with both a sense of humor and a sense of fashion. Moms, dads, spouses, children, your BFF. Make them smile with a handmade card, journal, T-shirt or set of items. Visit their retail shop at 243 Congress St. in Portland, or online at ferdinandhomestore.com.

Bouchard Family Farms Gift Packs ($16-$55)

Ployes, the traditional Acadian buckwheat pancake, are as Maine as blueberries and lobster. You can buy single bags of Fort Kent-made ployes at the grocery store, or you can log onto connectmaine.com/ployes and pick out a gift basket. All come with big bags of both regular and whole wheat ployes mixes, and you can pick either wild Maine blueberry syrup or Maine maple syrup. Or go for the whole package and get the big gift pack, with the ployes mixes, syrups, Maine honey and Aroostook roasted coffee.

Rococo Fleurs hair accessories ($6-$20)

For the girly girl in your life, hairpieces by Bangor artist Danielle Demers are a great bet. Inspired by the Rococo art of late 18th century France and fashion icon Marie Antoinette, these pins and barrettes dress up any outfit. Featuring artfully arranged pastel fabrics and bold-colored beads, they are ornate but not gaudy. Visit rococofleurs.etsy.com to buy.

Barkwheats ($10 for 10 oz. box)

Man’s best friend deserves a present, too. Barkwheats is a Bucksport-based dog treat company started by Chris Roberts and Renee Johnson. They make organic, locally sourced puppy yummies, with flavors such as blueberry lavender, ginger parsley, pumpkin sage and sea vegetable chamomile. Buy online at barkwheats.com, or at Pet Quarters or the Natural Living Center in Bangor, John Edwards Market in Ellsworth or the Belfast Co-op.

The Original Maine Shrimp Cookbook ($16.95)

Maine shrimp season is right around the corner, and the succulent, sweet little ocean treat is incredibly versatile — as evidenced by the many recipes featured the “The Original Maine Shrimp Cookbook.” The book, produced by the Midcoast Fishermen’s Cooperative in Port Clyde, the First Universalist Church in Rockland and the Island Institute, offers up dishes such as Maine Shrimp and Lime Tacos, Thai Curried Maine Shrimp Chowder, and many more. Available at Mr. Paperback stores, and online at workingwaterfront.com.

One Woman Studio bags ($15-$32)

Julia Ventresco of Ellsworth embodies the three R’s — reduce, reuse, recycle. Her tote bags are created from reused feed bags and tarps, and turn what someone else might have thrown away into wearable art. Strong, washable and one-of-a-kind. Available at Betsy’s Sunflower in Brooklin, Local Color in Northeast Harbor, Gass Horse Supply in Orono and Archipelago in Rockland, or online at onewomanstudio.etsy.com.

Fiore olive oil and balsamic vinegar (Bottles start at $10)

Take your dinner to the next level with Fiore’s artisanal olive oils and balsamic vinegars. You can get unflavored oils and vinegars, or kick it up a notch with wild flavors such as chipotle, blood orange and roasted garlic oils, or strawberry, dark chocolate or honey ginger vinegars. You’ve never had it like this before. Available online at fioreoliveoils.com, or at Fiore’s retail shops in Bar Harbor and Rockland.

Young Wood Creations ($8.50-$59)

Joey Young actually is pretty young — 25 to be exact — but his wood and tile creations have the mark of a guy well on his way to becoming a master craftsman. The trivets, jewelry boxes, soap dishes, coasters and other things he creates are crafted right in his Bangor studio, inspired by his grandfather, a master woodworker himself. His work is currently available online at youngwoodcreations.etsy.com.

Glass Plate Image Archive prints ($25, $45 and $60)

The prints of the images from the Glass Plate Image Archive, housed at the Penobscot Marine Museum in Searsport, are the perfect gift for anyone with even a passing interest in Maine’s history. Hundreds of images from the now-defunct Eastern Illustrating and Publishing Co. showcase life in small Maine towns between the years 1909 and 1947. Nearly every town in the state is represented. Small, medium and large-sized prints are available at both the Aarhus Gallery in Belfast and at the Penobscot Marine Museum gift shop, or you can e-mail archive curator Kevin Johnson at kjohnson@pmm-maine.org to set up a purchase.

Lob the Lobstah game ($49.95)

Toss the Maine mustard seed-filled beanbag lobsters through a handcrafted eastern white pine lobster pot target, with authentic lobster netting and rugged aluminum hoop. Don’t be surprised when it develops into a familywide lobster lobbing tournament. Made in Searsmont by Maine’s own Robbins Lumber and Toy. Available online at robbinstoy.com, or at the Briar Patch, the Mad Hatter and the Maine Discovery Museum in Bangor, All About Games in Belfast and Four the Fun of It in Ellsworth.

Tickets for Maine concerts and shows (All price ranges)

Support Maine arts and venues by purchasing tickets to any of the multitude of events offered. Penobscot Theatre in Bangor, the Collins Center for the Arts in Orono (collinscenterforthearts.com), the Bangor Symphony Orchestra , The Grand in Ellsworth, the Strand Theatre in Rockland and the State Theatre in Portland are just a few of your options.

Beer, wine and cheesemaking kits at Central Street Farmhouse ($36-$80)

For the DIY person who also happens to be a foodie, try Bangor’s Central Street Farmhouse, where they create kits for making your own beer, wine and cheese. Beer and wine starter kits, which include everything you’ll need plus instructions, retail for $78. Beer-making ingredient sets, which produce 48 12-ounce bottles, retail for around $45, and 6-gallon winemaking sets for both red and white start at $67. Finally, cheesemaking kits start at $36 and go up to $80.

Maine Indian baskets ($20 and up)

Maliseet, Micmac, Passamaquoddy and Penobscot Native Americans have been making baskets out of ash splint and sweet grass for hundreds of generations. At the Annual Maine Indian Basketmakers Sale and Demonstration, set for 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 11 at the Hudson Museum at the University of Maine, you can buy one of these works of art. Workbaskets, such as creels, packs and potato baskets and fancy baskets ranging from strawberry and blueberry shaped-baskets to curly bowls may be found along with quill jewelry, woodcarvings and birch bark work. For information, call 581-1904.

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