Support your neighbors with Missouri-made gifts
In the summer of 2020, when the pandemic had shut down local businesses statewide, the Rural Missouri staff got a call from Farmers’ Electric Cooperative Manager Rod Cotton. He wanted to know if there was something we could do to help those artists and small-business owners whose livelihood was at risk.
Our answer was a resounding “yes.” The conversation led to the first “Shop local” page that year. Back for the third time, here’s our picks from a host of rural entrepreneurs who will make this holiday season one to remember. For even more gift-giving ideas, turn to the Buy Missouri website at www.buymissouri.net, The Best of Missouri Hands at www.bestofmissourihands.org and Missouri Grown at www.missourigrownusa.com.
A unique location for local art is JoAnn McCoy’s Room for Art Gallery located at 124 W. Main St. in historic downtown Washington. The gallery is a feast for the eyes, with the work of more than 50 artists represented, including the watercolors of her father, Jim Peters. Here you also will find sculpture, hand-forged ironwork, glassware, textiles, jewelry, ukuleles, baskets and more. On Saturdays various artists are on hand to demonstrate their craft.
Nothing is more appreciated than a gift basket of Missouri-made goods. You can find one-stop shopping at Buy Missouri retail partners such as Eclectic Originals in Waynesville (www.eoriginals66.com). The Winding Road (www.windingroadstore.com) in California offers the work of many talented Missouri artisans, including the “Master of Barnwood” Daryl Libbert and potter Ann Grotjan.
You also can shop around and build it your own gift basket. Consider starting with Current River or Elephant Rocks handmade soap from Arcadia Valley Soap in Ironton (www.arcadiavalleysoap.com). They also offer lotions, bath bombs and wax melts made at the shop in the heart of the Arcadia Valley.
The foodie might like something from Lampe’s Bulone Enterprises, the home of Vince’s Gourmet Italian Foods. Shop online at www.buloneentllc.com for Vince’s Smoky Red Pepper Marinara or Caponata Italian relish or keep it simple with a Missouri basket sampler.
Missouri is home to many businesses supplying quality locally raised meats. Check out the Hermann Wurst Haus (www.hermannwursthaus.com) where you can order a Bacon Brat Bundle, a hickory smoked whole turkey or a four-pack of the Wurst Haus mustard. Even better, opt for a gift certificate to one of Wurstmeister Mike Sloan’s sausage making classes.
No gift basket would be complete without a bag of Missouri-roasted coffee. Niangua’s Noggin Bonkin Coffee (www.nogginbonkincoffee.com) roasts an unusual white coffee with a nutty, tea-like taste and coffee from the Congo, Mexico and their own blends. Lamar’s Bearded Bee (www.beardedbeecoffeecompany.com) offers coffee from Central America and Ethiopia along with tea and a good selection of brewing accessories.
Martha and Tom’s Farm in Owensville will help you fill your gift basket with their Cool Cow Cheese (www.coolcowcheese.com). But for the full experience “adopt” a cow by purchasing one of their farm favorite cheese boxes. Their Whole Herd gift box includes cheese, an adoption certificate, T-shirt and a stay in their rustic farmstead.
Subscriptions are the gifts that keep on giving. One of the more unusual is the Beef Jerky Subscription Box from Alewel’s Country Meats in Warrensburg. The monthly deliveries will include a different award-winning jerky delivered to the doorstep. If that doesn’t suit you, www.alewels.com has plenty of gift ideas ranging from the Box O Brat to the Taste of the Farm sampler.
For the outdoors fanatic there are plenty of Missouri-made options. Clinton’s Hann Made Calls (www.hannmadecalls.com) are both beautiful and practical gifts for the deer, coyote, waterfowl and turkey hunters on your list. For the angler, how about a guided trip to catch “the fish of a thousand casts?” Visit www.missourigreatoutdoors.com/pomme-de-terre-guides for muskie guides.
Happy shopping. By buying local, you give two gifts at the same time.