Fill a Stocking Suited for the Locally Minded
Mall parking lots are a mess and Wal-Mar lines are downright scary. This week we’re shopping around here in Maryland Heights to find five perfect stockings for the special people in your life.
Shoping local isn't only for summertime produce at the farmer's market. There are plenty of excellent winter-time options to fill your locally-minded friend's winter stocking. A careful shopper can find locally made foods scattered through the shelves of Schnucks. If you prefer them concentrated in one place, you can also check out Missouri Mercantile in Westport Plaza.
Plenty of locally made items are availible in the $8-15 dollar range, but since we wanted a respectably full stocking, we opted for cheaper items on the sweeter side.
- $5 - Randy's Famous Salsa
- $4 - Fat Pat's BBQ Seasoning
- $3 - Pure St. Louis Honey
- $3 - 2 bottles of Fitz Soda
- $1 - Teriyaki Beef Jerkey
- $1 - 2 Cherry Mash candies
For under $20, this is a stocking any locally-minded person who spends quality time in the kitchen should thoroughly enjoy.
There's a great deal of debate on the benefits of eating local honey made by bees which collected pollen from local flowers. Regardless of which side you come down on, local honey, much like any city's local water, has a distinctive character.
Fitz Soda is made with cane sugar instead of high fructose corn syrup. Their smooth Root Beer is free of the cloying stickiness found in most 2 liters. It has a rich flavor that brings back childhood memories and makes you recoil at the thought of A&W.
If you like soda but hate high fructose corn syrup, these are a very tasty locally made alternative available in half a dozen flavors. The retro cherry mash (exactly what it sounds like - a mushy cherry flavored filling encased in chocolate) is likewise made with actual sugar, which results in a surprising and distinctive taste.
Randy's Famous Salsa deserves the name. It has a hearty flavor with a hint of sweetness and a nice little bite in the aftertaste. We would've included some locally made corn chips to go with it, but they wouldn't fit in a stocking. The cashier at Missouri Mercantile said Randy's Famous Salsa and Fat Pat's BBQ seasoning tied for their most popular items.
I honestly could've picked up four more sticks of beef jerky in order to try every possible flavor on the Wall of Local Meats. The Teriyaki was less salty and less dry than national brands and had a nice bite to it. At $1, it also cost the same as picking up a random stick of beef jerky at QuikTrip.
If you're feeling extra generous, you could always give up on the stocking and pack a picnic basket with a bottle of Missouri wine alongside chocolates, cheese and sausage made in the St. Louis metro area plus Missouri made crackers. That will cost more than $20, though, so if you're in love with a locavore, you can always save that idea for a romantic Valentine's Day.
Where to Shop:
Missouri Mercantile - in Westport Plaza
Schnucks - 2030 Dorsett Vlg