Local buys can be combined for unique, practical gift

Consider a basket of gifts to make a splash with your sweetheart

A variety of heart shaped necklaces can add sparkle to the holiday.

A variety of heart shaped necklaces can add sparkle to the holiday.

What better way to show your sweetheart you care on Valentine’s Day than through food, aromatic body products or jewelry?

While some might gift one or another to their significant other, putting them all together in a gift basket can make a gift greater than the sum of the parts. This is also the perfect way to price gifts within a budget, cater to any age and feel good about a purchase by staying local.

Local businesses to get foods (the feel good part) include the Honest Weight Food Cooperative (HWFC) on Central Avenue in Albany and online farmers market Farmiemarket.com. Jennifer Grainer of the HWFC said that this year they’ve got some great chocolate dipping demonstrations coming up – organic strawberries will likely be the recipients of the chocolate.

Specialty foods including artisan cheeses (blue, goat and sheep milk to name a few) along with crackers and produce such as pears or apples make for a nice combination. HWFC offers a tasting of cheeses, and prices range from only a few dollars for wedges of cheese. Grainer said many candy bars will be on sale during the month of February, which happens to be Healthy Heart Month, too.

Sarah Gordon-Avery operates three CSA groups, or Community Supported Agriculture, and she said they’re great resources for finding local food items and other products. Heldeberg Market serves Albany and Saratoga Counties, Turning Point Market serves Saratoga and southern Washington Counties, and Uncle Sam's Farmer Stand serves Rensselaer County.

One can think of a CSA as an online marketplace residing at farmiemarket.com. The different categories of products can be browsed as one would aisles in a grocery store.

“We also have really nice cooking ingredients (olive oils, spices, garlic samplers, etc), gift certificates, alpaca wears and all kinds of great local foods to make a great gift,” Gordon-Avery said. Deliveries for the CSAs are weekly and can be brought to your door or a convenient area in your community.

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