Consider Giving Local, Organic, Fair Trade Gifts This Holiday Season

My cousin recently called me up to ask me what her family should get my dad for his birthday. I have a hard enough time figuring out what to get him myself, let alone telling other people what to get him. But then she told me that they were going with consumables as gifts from now on because the members of our family can sometimes be hard to shop for. It occurred to me (although people have been doing this forever) that this was a smart idea.

As the holiday season approaches and the search begins for gifts for those hard-to-shop-for people, consider keeping that idea in mind -- with local, organic, fair trade, and delicious treats. Here are just a few possibilities to get the ball rolling on the shopping list.

Let’s start with the fair trade category. Equal Exchange offers a variety of gift baskets filled with goodies from coffee and chocolate to mixed nuts and berries. Everything is organic and fair trade, right down to the gift basket itself. The organization has been around for more than 20 years and supports family farms that use sustainable methods. Having gotten its start with fair trade coffee in Nicaragua, Equal Exchange now includes farms all over the world, including the US. (They are also offering free shipping through the end of November with this code: freegiftship.)

Moving on to local, with a classic holiday (or anytime, really) gift: Wine. Minnesota is home to several wineries. Northern Vineyards of Stillwater and WineHaven Winery and Vineyards of Chisago City are just a couple of examples of vineyards that are close to the Twin Cities. Northern Vineyards boasts award-winning wines that are distributed throughout Minnesota and Wisconsin. Plus, they’re offering 20% off shipping on their website for the holiday season. WineHaven has been named one of Minnesota’s top winemakers by Minneapolis St. Paul Business Journal and can also be purchased all over the state. According to their website, WineHaven’s owner got his start in local honey and fruit production, and as a result (I’m guessing this is no coincidence) they offer a variety of fruit and honey wines in addition to their reds and whites.

Third, organic ingredients, meet chocolate. Chocolate, meet organic ingredients. (And I know that chocolate is sort of already on the list, but who can have too much chocolate?) Peace, Love & Chocolate, a Duluth based chocolatier, uses single source South American chocolate and local and organic ingredients whenever possible to create their truffles. The husband-and-wife team learned about chocolate-making in Europe, so they must know what they’re doing. Their products can mostly be purchased in the Duluth area, including the Duluth Famers’ Market, but their website says they are willing to ship in cooler months.

Finally, give the gift of a delicious meal without any of the work by getting gift certificates to restaurants that source local and organic ingredients. A few examples include Barbette, Lucia’s, Sen Yai Sen Lek, The Birchwood Cafe, Spoonriver, and Brasa. Some of these even sell gift cards on their websites.



Dorothy Wickens is an aspiring writer/editor who enjoys cooking, baking, and eating delicious things.


You also can buy gift cards at any of the local co-ops, which can be redeemed at all participating co-ops locally and nationwide. At the co-ops, you'll find an array of local, sustainable and fairly traded food and gifts, including soaps, health & wellness products and hand-crafted items.

Right on, Kim, yes! All suggestions welcome.

How about the gift of SHOES, or at least a gift certificate for them, for your favorite shoe-aficionado. Locally-made shoes you say? YES! Sven clogs are made in Chisago City, handcrafted and amazing quality- only available at their store in Chisago City, on their website, and in NYC and California. I'm a huge fan of their clogs - good looking and good for your feet - and they have great boots and slippers too! Not edible, but surely one of the more unusual locally-produced items around. (I mean, most shoes these days are made in

Don't forget specialty retailers that sell locally grown and/or made products! Here are a few of my favorites: Local D'Lish:, I Like You:, Goddess of Glass:, and Northern Clay Company:

All great suggestions - thanks Ann! We love your store too! Thanks for all the links.

Hi Dorothy, Thanks for this reminder to support fair trade and local during the holidays. Don't forget Peace Coffee, the only local company offering 100% fair trade coffee roasted right here in Minneapolis. Visit their new coffee shop at (Minnehaha and 33rd).

Golden Fig on Grand Ave St. Paul has a large selection of local beautiful delicious holiday gifts.

I think organic wine could be the best gift.

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