Today I dragged a very reluctant, nay truculent, Monkey to downtown Petaluma for some Christmas shopping. I wanted to make our gift purchasing as local as possible, including not taking the car, but walking from home, and focusing on buying locally sourced/crafted products from small businesses.
First we stopped in at Bovine Bakery in my bid to turn around Monkey’s mood. I wondered if he might not be a tad hangry (that feeling that crops up when you get to the wrong side of hunger). Sure enough, a decadent and giant slice of pizza topped with gruyere, artichoke hearts, feta and ham, soon put a smile on his face. While I don’t typically eat gluten or cow milk products, I couldn’t resist taking a bite (or two, or three). The crust was yeasty and crunchy in all the right places. The saltiness of the cheese was nicely offset by the artichoke hearts, mushrooms and tomato sauce. The ham gave it a certain weight. Monkey was soon smiling and ready to spend the dollars he’d made selling his Pokeman cards and other toys, on Christmas gifts.
The idea of “slow shopping” cemented itself for me when we stopped in at the relatively new, Free Range Provisions & Eats, on Kentucky. Suzanne, the proprietor, pointed out her array of locally sourced slow food provisions (pictured above). She only offers victuals that were made within a 100 mile radius: everything from spicy mustards to sweet jams, fruity olive oil to honeyed almonds. Standing in the store it struck me that it would be cool to buy as many Christmas gifts that have been made within 100 miles, as possible. I was also thrilled to run into the wonderful Frances Rivetti, the prolific blogger behind Southern Sonoma Country Life, at the store. Turns out another boon to shopping local is running into people you know.
Our next stop was B Street Mercantile, another recent addition to the downtown Petaluma shopping scene. It boasts a wide range of fabulous gifts, many made by local craftsmen and artisans. From hand-printed flour sack cloths to gift cards, natural beauty products and hand-carved wooden boards to jewelry and pottery – you could probably buy everything you need here.
I couldn’t resist taking a peek inside Maude Rare Finds on Western St. It offers beautifully curated items including enamel pots and pans, the most stylish children’s clothing made from linens and wool (I’d be afraid to put them on a kid!), and select women’s pieces too. This time all we bought were two beautifully wrapped praline bonbons to sustain us. They’d make great stocking stuffers.
We popped into PaperWhite to pick up some cheerful red and white polka dot wrapping paper before making a final stop at Copperfield’s Books. With seven stores in Sonoma and Marin, it feels local enough to qualify for our shopping mission, although of course the books we bought weren’t locally printed. (I should have looked for local authors.) I thought I’d lost Monkey, but the staff told me not to go looking for him as he was on a secret mission at the back of the store where the gift wrapping happens. Cute.
We are heading to England for Christmas, so I had to buy small, light items which made it easier on us as we traipsed home, footsore, with lighter wallets. Even if you don’t live in our town, think about shopping within walking distance from where you live, supporting local merchants, and even better, only buying products made within 100 miles.
Happy Holidays to you and yours!!