Still scrambling for holiday gifts? Tis the season to celebrate family, friends and community by supporting local businesses. Consider shopping with head, heart, and hands with some of these favorite local purveyors:
Arkipelago Books– (1010 Mission Street, San Francisco, CA 94103) Located in San Francisco inside the Bayanihan Community Center, a historic event space, this bookstore is filled with all things Filipino. How can you resist?
Ali’i Kula Lavendar Farms– Okay, they’re not as local as we’d like them to be, since they’re situated on the slopes of Haleakala in Maui, but they have an inspiring mission, and their lavender products are heavenly. Taste and take a whiff for yourself.
Blue Bottle Coffee– Perhaps the best coffee in the U.S., their Bella Donovan is a cup of a paradise. They have multiple locations in the city.
Country Cheese Store (2101 San Pablo Avenue, Berkeley, CA 94702 & ) & Country Cheese Coffee Market- (1578 Hopkins Street, Berkeley, CA 94707) With two Berkeley locations, if you prefer making gift baskets, this cheesemonger has all sort of tasty delights: a wide array of tea and biscuits, a wall of artisanal chocolates and other fine goodies that are irresistible. You may find yourself picking up a couple items for yourself as well.
The Spanish Table– (1814 San Pablo Ave, Berkeley, CA 94702) In Berkeley, next to the Albatross, so you can finish your shopping with a nice pint, check out their Spanish cookware, the best of Spanish reds, whites, and cavas, and some autentico cured meats. Que bueno!
Talavera Ceramics– (1801 University Avenue, Berkeley, California 94703) A Berkeley gem for beautiful Mexican ceramics that’ll make your giftee ooooh and ah!
Tokyo Fish Market– (1220 San Pablo Avenue, Albany, CA 94710) – If your culinary tastes lean more towards the East than West, check out their gift shop which has cookery utensils, beautifully lacquered serving ware, and an impressive selection of cookbooks as well as sake sets. Then stop by their grocery store for some fresh seafood.
Urban Kitchen SF– Not sure what to get for the foodie who has everything? How about some first class cooking classes in the food capital of the West Coast?
BATH & BODY
Ali’i Kula Lavendar Farms- (see above, under “Culinary”).
Boony Doon Farm– Part of Boony Doon State Nature Preserve in the Santa Cruz Mountains, unfortunately, they’re not open to the public, but their deliciously scented wares are available at retailers across the country.
HOME & GARDEN
Berkeley’s Horticulture Nursery– (1310 McGee Avenue, Berkeley, California 94703) Speaking of Boony Doon Farm, this botanist’s Shangra Li is where we discovered Boony Doon Farm’s products. In addition to carrying an outstanding selection of plants, shrubs, flowers, veggies, fruits, and herbs for your garden and landscaping pleasure, their shop inside is filled with all sorts of natural goodies. Plus, this nursery is great fun to just walk around and take in the sights and sounds after grabbing a cup of joe or chai at the Country Cheese Store nearby.
EPHEMERA or TCHOTCHKES
Little Manila Foundation– Shop with purpose. The Manila Foundation seeks to preserve the historical legacy Filipinos built in old Stockton. I found a great kitchen apron, some savvy tees, and a wonderful calendar full of pics of Stockton back in the heyday of Pinoy Pride.
Six Degrees Records– Every year Six Degrees hosts a holiday sale, usually 50% off regular retail price on some of the best albums from the most talented global artists.
What are your favorite places to shop that serve the community? Send us your suggestions.