Friday, December 11, 2009

Hidden Gems~Two Of My Favorite Local Businesses

I love finding local goodies to give as gifts. This is especially fun for friends and family down South. When you think of Maryland, I'm sure the first local specialty that comes to mind is crab. I don't think I had ever even tried crab until we moved here. Now, I've become a crab cake snob. One day I'll share my favorite places to find this yummy delicacy. Today though, I want to highlight a couple of local businesses that I visit regularly.

The Bee Folks
The Titus Family have been beekeepers for over 10 years. What began as an avenue to increase vegetable production in their garden has turned into a thriving business. They carry a large assortment of local and exotic honeys, beeswax candles and beauty products. My favorite honeys right now are Southern Belle and Buckwheat. Southern Belle has a peachy flavor. Buckwheat is one of those things that you love or hate, I am told. It has a dark, raisin-like flavor. I love it with Ezekiel Bread for breakfast! Several people on my Christmas list are receiving items from their product line. My boys love honey sticks, so they will find bundles in their stockings on Christmas morning. If you are looking for a unique gift, or a treat for yourself, check out The Bee Folks website. You know you want to try the Killer Bee Honey!

I discovered McCutcheons preserves at our County Fair a few years ago. When I bought my first jar, I had no idea that it was locally produced. Then I read the label! The factory is about 20 miles from my home. I have tried many of their offerings over the past few years and, I must say that I have not been disappointed with a single item I have purchased. A few of my favorites are the Pumpkin Butter, Apple Butter, Seedless Blackberry Jam, Apple Pie Preserves, and the absolute best...Whole Blueberry Preserves. Oh my! There is a line of juice-sweetened products that are wonderful for diabetic diets (my grandfather loves these). They also carry salsas and dressings, dips and marinades, so many lovely things. If you are a cider aficionado, their apple cider is fabulous! I can't resist a bottle from the cooler while I am there. All of their products are available for purchase online. Although, I must admit that their website leaves much to be desired. I would recommend calling 1-800-875-3451 to request a catalog instead, then place an order online or by phone. Oh, and did I mention the unbelievably reasonable prices? 18 oz. Apple Butter ~ $2.25, 18 oz. Pumpkin Butter ~ $2.95, 18 oz. Whole Blueberry ~ $ get the picture!

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