Food Gifts: Seven Picks from the Farmers Market

The perfect place for one-stop holiday shopping for food gifts is your local farmers market. After visiting all the markets in the 818, I've found that the Studio City Farmers Market (Sundays) has the most […]

The perfect place for one-stop holiday shopping for food gifts is your local farmers market. After visiting all the markets in the 818, I've found that the Studio City Farmers Market (Sundays) has the most diverse selection of packaged items perfect for gift-giving or basket-building. Here are seven standout picks:

Coldwater Canyon Provisions

Rondo Mieczkowski is the guy behind this award-winning local company that handcrafts more than 30 varieties of small-batch jams, pickles, relishes, chutney and more, from handed-down family recipes made with organic or pesticide-free California produce. It's all kosher, vegan and gluten-free. Perfect for the holiday season are spiced crab apples, quince jam and pickled watermelon rind. Take advantage of the "405 Freeway Special": Buy four items and get $5 off your total price.  

Espanolita Foods

Madrid native Carmen Ruiz de Huidobro is a former is set designer who provides a taste of Spain in her market booth and online. Order a gift box that comes in four sizes with fresh or dried flowers, ranging in price from $50 to $150. Depending on price the box includes such items as: olives, almonds, marzipan, chiles, cheese and chorizo. Boxes can be prepared on-the-spot, but pre-ordering is preferred. Or buy items separately. Also be sure and check out her gazpacho and paella. Carmen does catering too. 

Fat Uncle Farms

Straight from the farm in Lompoc, Fat Uncle Farms is a third-generation business with some of the best almonds and nut butters I’ve ever tasted. Favorite flavors include: original with sea salt, rosemary, Cajun, cinnamon, coconut with honey and ginger farm. Discounts are given on orders of 10 bags or more. Special for the holidays are marzipan and almond macaroons.

Forge Coffee 

This San Fernando Valley coffee company freshly micro-roasts raw, green, sustainable coffee on a weekly basis. Single half-pound bags are $8; buy two or more for $7 each. Two gift packs are also available for the holidays: The Cup of Joe features a 15-ounce ceramic branded cup and a pound of coffee ($25); The Perfect Joe takes it a step further with a pour-over setup with a porcelain coffee dripper, coffee filters, three limited decorative tins filled with Forge coffee, a step-by-step guide for brewing and a mug ($55). Both are packaged in a sleek, black market tray.

The Good Cookies

Co-owners Amber Barros and Lisa McCullock bake their own products with only organic ingredients that are all gluten-, wheat- and dairy-free. For the month of December, they will offer pies and cheesecakes ($24 to $40). And in addition to their regular selection of cookies, cakes and other baked goods, they will feature three types of gift boxes: 2½ dozen cookies ($25); a dozen almond butter cookies, five brownies and a dozen macaroons ($40); two dozen cookies, five brownies, six regular macaroons and six chocolate dipped macaroons ($50). Call 310-320-7900 to pre-order pies, cheesecakes and gift boxes for pickup at the market.

Hepps Salt

Brian Hepps has created a unique company consisting of international sea salt flavors, including smoky and spicy variations. Perfect for the foodie: the chef's collection mini-salt bar that includes five different salts in two-ounce jars for $45 (wood display box included). Flavors include Applewood-smoked sea salt, black truffle sea salt, Aussie flake salt, garlic sea salt and black lava sea salt. Each flavor has suggested uses as well. 

Uncle Berch's Foods

Rus Mitchell’s Uncle Berch's Foods is known for its olive oils with gold-medal status from the LA Fair. Don’t miss the newest oils from the November 2014 crop: Mission, Ascolana (an Italian varietal, buttery and lemony), Arbequina (Spanish with fruity and peppery notes), Manzanillo oil and Tuscan blend should be in before Christmas. New for the holidays: cranberry-chipotle jam, plus pumpkin and hazelnut balsamic vinegars. There’s cheese too. Oils and vinegars are $8 to $30; jam, $6.

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