‘Tis the season to (if you can) spend your hard-earned cash by supporting small businesses that are trying to survive during a pandemic. Thus, I’ve created my top ten, made on Martha’s Vineyard, foodie holiday gift guide.
When I tell you I know every single person behind every single product in this gift guide, believe me. I know them all. These ten makers are local to Martha’s Vineyard, have made the island their home, and are creating speciality products that are some of the best in the area. Truly, this gift guide comes from the heart because whenever I run into any of the makers featured in this guide, I smile from the heart. They are that special to me and before I shed a tear, let’s get to this gift guide!
- Martha’s Vineyard Sea Salt in Lemon Verbena, $35 for 5.5 ounces
- Mimi’s Hitting the Sauce in Mild, $8.99
- Island Bee Honey Raw Honey, $20 for 1 pound
- New Lane Sundries Strawberry Jam, $8
- Breezy Pines Farm Elderberry Extract, $25 for 2 ounces
- Chilmark Coffee in Squibnocket Rocket, $17 for 12 ounces
- By the Sea Salt Seasoning Blend, $4.99 for 2.2 ounces
- Enchanted Chocolates Almond Butter Crunch, $14 for 8 ounces
- Not Your Sugar Mamas Mocha Latte Bar, $5.99
- MV Mycological Dried Shiitake Mushrooms, $35
Martha’s Vineyard Sea Salt in Lemon Verbena
This sea salt blend is my go to for anything produce: potatoes, broccoli, carrots – anything from the ground benefits from this herbaceous sea salt and lemon verbena blend. This sea salt is the result of a husband and wife team, Heidi and Curtis, who spend hours collecting ocean water on island, which they haul back to their evaporator to evaporate into sea salt. These magical crystals are truly a gift from nature and delightful in cooking and baking.
Mimi’s Hitting’ The Sauce
I met Cathy over coffee a few years ago to interview her about her hot sauces and it kicked off a friendship and connection! Every time I see Cathy, she’s got a smile on her face and is ready to talk hot sauces with me. Let me tell you – Cathy and her husband grow all the tomatoes and peppers that goes into their line of hot sauces, salsas, and seasonings, which is incredibly impressive.
“Everything that goes into their sauces is either grown by the couple or sourced from local farms. Mark, the head gardener, cultivates tomatoes and peppers, which make up the base of their sauces. It’s a backbreaking job, but someone has to do it, and Mark seems to thoroughly enjoy it. He mentions they will be starting their tomato plants indoors quite soon: seedlings that sprout from a collection of the best seeds they have saved through the years, and a Roma tomato that makes the tastiest salsas and hot sauces. And that’s the thing about these sauces: They have quite a lot of flavor. Most hot sauces are just that — hot — without any flavor to make them sing on the palate.” – from my 2017 Martha’s Vineyard Times article
Island Bee Company of Martha’s Vineyard
I see Tricia at every farmer’s market I attend and she’s always with a bright smile, alongside her jars of island honey. Every time we see each other, it’s like we are long lost best friends because we then talk for long – while the customers in line behind me shuffle and wait. But Tricia’s energy and passion for what she does with Island Bee Company is so contagious, and I love it! Honey is always a part of my pantry and has been so for all my life, as my dad used to be a bee keeper early on in my childhood.
New Lan Sundries Strawberry Jam
My favorite jam maker on island is Linda of New Lane Sundries. Her jams are the perfect sweetness, not cloyingly sweet and very fruit forward. I love classic jams like strawberry jam, but she also has a Cranberry Jalapeño Jam that has been perfect this holiday season on cheese plates.
“New Lane Sundries is the creation of Linda Lee Alley, a life-long native of Martha’s Vineyard. She started in 1987 making preserves for the West Tisbury Farmers Market. One Saturday morning, she happened upon the West Tisbury Farmer’s Market and came upon an idea. That idea then branched into 5 varieties of jams and a table at the market the very next Saturday. The rest is delicious history!”
Breezy Pines Farm’s Elderberry Extract
Heather was one of the first people I met on island and to this day, conversations with her all always filled with so much information and knowledge. This year, she’s celebrating 20 years of Breezy Pines Farm!
Founded in 1964, Breezy Pines Farm was once a working horse farm. In 2000, Travis & Heather Thurber converted parts of the grazing pasture into biodynamic gardens. Now in its twentieth year of operation, Breezy Pines Farm produces medicinal and culinary herbs, flowers, vegetables & berries all from the farm’s own heirloom, homegrown seed. The Farm also cares for a half dozen beehives.
She grows so much to make into her line off tinctures, salves, teas, and so much more. If I had to pick a favorite product, it’s her elderberry extract, which I owe my health to. I’ve been taking it for the past two years, on and off in my smoothies and water, under my tongue when I feel an incoming tickle in my throat. All of her products are handcrafted in small batches with farm grown herbs + honeycomb combining sustainable, organic ingredients that are carefully sourced to lessen their carbon footprint on the planet.
Chilmark Coffee in Squibnocket Rocket
Have you ever had coffee so good that just the thought of it drags you from the comfort of your cozy bed because you must have it? That’s what this Squibnocket Rocket is. It’s the best coffee I’ve ever had, and it’s roasted by one of the nicest, most hardworking guys on island: Todd! If you love coffee, Todd is your guy. Seriously, running into Todd on the streets of Edgartown has he delivers his coffee is always so fun, we also stop and talk for ages trying to catch up on all the things. His Squibnocket Rocket is his dark roast. I promise you, if you have a coffee lover in your life, get them a few bags of this and watch them fall in love with coffee all over again.
“Our goal is exceptional coffee. We stay focused on roasting only specialty grade coffee to the best of our ability and provide training and understanding to our customers of what went into that coffee to now be in their hands. We source coffee from producers/farmers who are being more than fairly compensated for the work they do, which encourages reinvestment in their farms and communities. This is not a new idea, if you buy anything from people who make their own products. Pay them well, so they can continue to make great quality things by hand and live good lives!”
By the Sea Salt
Always in my pantry is “By The Sea Salt”, an all natural combination of herbs and spices used to enhance the flavor of beef, poultry, pork, fish, and vegetables. Blended by Pamela, a friend as well. She’s that kind of friend you can talk about ANYTHING with and I do mean anything. She stand by her product and I love that there are no artificial preservatives or flavorings, which you tend to find in lots of herb seasonings. It’s unique effect on foods is the result of years of experimentation with the ratios of the various herbs and their relationships to each other and the foods with which they are combined. We honestly use it on everything!
Enchanted Chocolates’ Almond Butter Crunch
The sweetest gift, made by hand by Kathleen, who takes so much pride in her work. She’s been tempering chocolate and making these treats for years now, and her Almond Butter Crunch is just so divine, I can’t explain it. But she can! “Crunchy, buttery, hard almond toffee cooked in small batches with 70% dark chocolate spooned over top. A light dusting of roasted almonds is sprinkled on top that and we get our finished product!”
Martha’s Vineyard Mycological Dried Shiitakes
Truman and Tucker revolutionized the mushroom world on Martha’s Vineyard by growing some of the tastiest shiitake mushrooms ever. They sell these also dried, which is what I like to stock up on because dried shiitakes are one of the most medicinal items in my pantry. Throw these in when you make stock and it’s a powerhouse broth that will heal all your ailments. But more about these mushroom guys, in their words:
“We founded MVM to reshape New England’s palette with the region’s most delicious, sustainable source of protein. We make choices every day in our diets which affect our own and our environment’s health, but the right choice should not compromise enjoyment.
Enter the Wild Harvest Shiitake. Closer to animals than they are to plants, mushrooms are the ‘fruit’ of a fungus, whose chitinous cell walls contain all the essential amino acids. By specializing in the cultivation of these magnificent fungi on whole oak logs, we bring differentiation to the commercial mushroom market that chefs and consumers alike can count on for a reliable, superior option that is available all season long.
We have perfected production of the shiitake in natural conditions after the traditional techniques used in Japan for thousands of years. Wild Harvest Shiitakes hold very little water, do not shrivel when cooked, and sear like meat, yielding incomparable woodsy umami. It’s a different mushroom experience than any you have had before.”
Not Your Sugar Mamas’ Mocha Latte Chocolate Bar
I remember meeting Ky Keenan eight years ago at the Edgartown post office. I saw this woman balancing boxes in her hand, packaging some sort of chocolate. That coincidental meeting led to my first byline for a local publication, The Vineyard Gazette. They’ve evolved quite nicely, into this gorgeous packaging and bar you see below. Not Your Sugar Mamas are vegan, gluten free, raw cacao bars that you will love. They would also make perfect stocking stuffers for all the chocolate lovers in your life!
If you stock up on any of the items below, please let me know – your support to these small makers is huge to them. Every dollar spent goes towards their family, this community, and their passion. Every order helps their dreams come true. There are no affiliate links in the blog above either, and I don’t get anything from sharing them. These are true love products – because I not only love the products, but the makers themselves are actual friends. Thank you for shopping this small business Saturday post!