We don’t, as an extended family-and-friends group, give anything but small, consumable holiday presents. We’re all adults, all well-enough off and we all own too much stuff. The money we would have spent goes to a cause of the donor’s choice, and we celebrate with food, wine, winter walks and conversation.
But there is still that small consumable present to buy. In keeping with our belief in shopping locally, I consider my options. There is a lavender farm just north of us that has lots of lovely little products. There is a bee-keeper who makes beautiful candles with the beeswax. There is local maple syrup. Or there is Rose’s, our bakery-preserves shop right here in the village. Rose’s jams and chutneys and pickles and salsa are scrumptious, made mostly from locally-grown produce, providing employment and revenue right in our village. Rose’s wins.
I stop on my way to town: I can walk there, but not with nearly two dozen jars of preserves in my bag. I’ve chosen late morning on a mid-week day, when she isn’t so busy. The shelves are lined with jars, their contents gleaming red and purple and green. I buy blueberry jam and hot salsa, crabapple jelly and cranberry-apple chutney, spicy red pepper jelly and bread-and-butter pickles, while inhaling the scent of bread baking. Probably I buy more than I need, but we’ll eat anything that’s left over.
I could, in theory, preserve my own jams and pickles now; retirement should give me the time. But my days are too full already, and with such a supply just down the road, I’m happy to buy them from Rose. A little bit of our local food will make its way around the province in the next few weeks, our local farm and rural economy will benefit, and my holiday shopping stress is nil. Now I can start the holiday baking!