When pondering gifts for the holidays, think local first
If the person on your Christmas list has enough electronic gadgets, jewelry or clothing, consider giving a western Colorado gift that shares a bit of local color with the sounds, smells, tastes and feel of the Grand Valley.
There are a number of local bands that not only make sweet music; but also produced some amazing CDs. And Rock Cesario with Triple Play Records in downtown tries to carry all the music put out by local bands. Sure, they’ve got the latest Stray Grass. They’ve also got CDs from Exit 42, the Pineapple Crackers, Jack + Jill and are hoping to have the latest from Sweet Sunny South, too.
In addition, Cesario likes to carry any bands that play locally, regardless of their popularity on Top 40 radio. It’s the place to go if you remember how much you loved Robert Earl Keen or Beausoleil at the Riverfront Concert Series a few years ago or are looking for something by Bobby Walker or Lauren Austin.
Giving someone a taste of the Grand Valley is easy, with small entrepreneurs creating everything from salsa and jam to cheesecake-in-a-jar at the Business Incubator Center, 2591 B 3/4 Road. And for your shopping convenience, the incubator will be hosting an open house from 4 to 7:30 p.m. on Dec. 9 where shoppers will be able purchase all those tasty and innovative products.
There are also several specialty shops that carry local food products, including Alida’s, 500 Main St.; Interiors Etc, 602 Main St.; Quality Meat, 340 North Ave.; Fisher’s Natural Meat Market, 625 24 1/2 Road; and the Artisan Cheese Shop at Crossroads Wine & Spirits near 24 Road and Patterson.
Be sure and stop by Crossroads before your holiday gatherings, too, for great appetizer ideas, incredible wine and cheese pairings or simply to sample some of their amazing chocolate. The store carries several specialty cheeses from Colorado and all over the world as well as a great goat cheese from Castle Valley, Utah with both sweet and savory flavors.
If food and music isn’t on your list for parties or gifts, consider the gift of warmth, with hand-knitted scarves, hats, mittens or socks made from Western Slope alpaca wool. Alpaca wool is extremely soft and hypoallergenic. Those who can’t wear traditional wool from sheep may be amazed by the feel, warmth and comfort of alpaca fleece. As a bonus, alpaca wool is also naturally fire retardant.
Suncrest Orchard Alpaca Farms in East Orchard Mesa also carries a comforter stuffed with alpaca fiber. According to owner Mike McDermott, it’s one of the best things to put on the bed of someone who suffers from asthma or allergies.
Right now, the small store at the Suncrest Orchard Alpaca Farm is the only place to buy their yarn and finished products, although Tangle, the downtown knitting store, carries alpaca yarn from other Colorado growers.
Still not sure if something local will be suitable? Remember, the Grand Valley produces some of the best wine in the state and a gift basket that includes a bottle of Colorado wine is sure to please any wine lover. Most local liquor stores have a section devoted to Colorado wine, with sommeliers who are more than happy to discuss and give advice.
The riches of Western Colorado are abundant and easy to share this holiday season, so take the time to find a locally produced treasure and give a little local color and flavor to someone special on your list.