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Tuesday, December 6th, 2016
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A View From The Woods

By Loni Kemp

Fri, Nov 9th, 2012
Posted in All Health & Wellness

Holiday Shopping to Vote for Community

You’re going to shop for presents, so why not support our local economy and buy locally? We’ve all just been through a rigorous election where carrying out our personal civic opportunity to vote makes us feel like we had our say in our nation’s future. Think about how your holiday shopping can provide an opportunity to vote for the vitality of your community.

I’m usually the type of person who enjoys each holiday in full before moving on to the next. I don’t even think about Christmas shopping until after Thanksgiving. Yet I know I am in the minority on this, especially among women. While it may be too late for some overachievers who already have their 2012 gifts wrapped and tagged and hidden in a secret closet, I am addressing this column to those who are waiting for the proper time, after Thanksgiving, to start identifying the perfect, affordable gift for each person on your list.

This year, I suggest you try to find something wonderful, appropriate and locally produced or sold for at least some of those on your gift list. Buying local can be more pleasant with no long drives to crowded malls, and more fun as you run into neighbors and friends as you shop.

Even more important and rewarding is that you will play a role in shaping the vitality and economic health of your region. Think about where we spend our money. Dollars spent locally put a small profit in the pocket of the local producer and retailer. Those neighbors then support their families and spend some of their dollars locally. That recirculates the economic benefits, which eventually come around to all of us living in a place where farms, businesses, schools and towns are thriving. When we spend money at big box stores, the money flows out to the corporation, and most products are imported at the lowest price with starvation wages for those workers. Better to keep some of our money recirculating around town. One study in Maine found, “Every $100 spent at locally owned businesses contributes an additional $58 to the local economy. By comparison, $100 spent at a representative national chain store yields just $33 in local economic impact.”

The Lanesboro Local Marketplace, for example, let’s you choose from a whole store of locally made gifts from Fillmore and Houston Counties and neighboring areas. Located across the street from the theaters on main street, the Marketplace is open every Thursday, Friday and Saturday from 10-5 PM through the winter.

The staff is happy to help put together a gift basket or box of related treats. Many of us of a certain age no longer want more “stuff.” We love consumable presents. How about one of these Minnesota food combos?

•Scone mix and jam, or Sturdiwheat pancake mix and maple syrup.

•A sandwich collection of Wee Willy’s Sandwich Topper and Das Wursthaus Mustard.

•Snacks such as Barsy’s almonds, granola and Winter Goddess chai tea and hot cocoa mixes.

•Uncle Johns Bloody Mary mix, organic tortilla chips and Snappy Dog salsa.

Everyone on your list can enjoy something local.

•For a fisherman, a gift-boxed Root River Lure crafted for their favorite fish.

•Aprons, for those young and old who love to cook.

•The most popular product at LL is the recycled jewelry by Tammy Rice—funky earrings and  bracelets made from inner tubes, wires, nuts and bolts.

•Jewelry from scrabble tiles is also a big hit.

•For the ecologically concerned, Nearbayou natural laundry soap and a set of unique dishtowels and washcloths, all hand made.

•For a pet lover or your own pet, try dog obedience classes from A Dog Spot or Gobbles from Mary made from dried turkey.

•For book lovers, select a volume by local authors, including cookbooks and local history.

•Art lovers will be wowed by an affordable Joni Finnegan reproduction.

•Is there a baby in the picture? How about a lovingly knit baby hat to be cherished and passed down?

•Select a set of locally themed and handmade cards. After all, everyone needs a supply to send their thank you notes after the holidays.

Plenty of other fine gift shops abound in nearly every town. Check them out to make your local gift stand out this year by reflecting this special area we call home.

Squash Soup

1 butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut in chunks

1 onion or leek, diced

2 Tbs butter

1 tsp. rosemary

1 cup heavy cream

6 cups chicken stock or broth

1/4 cup packed brown sugar

salt and pepper

dash of hot pepper sauce

In large saucepan, saute onion or leek and squash in butter. Add remaining ingredients. Simmer for 1-2 hours until tender, and puree in a blender or processor. Garnish with 1/2 cup of chopped and toasted walnuts (optional).

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