In my efforts to keep it local this year, here are some of my recommendations for gifts from the Sunshine State:
Davidson of Dundee - this Polk County business offers a wide array of citrus themed products from Tangelo marmalade to Honeybell Orange candy. Available at citrus stands statewide, I purchased several items at Conway's Red Hill Groves, which has been in business since 1962. We've been enjoying a bag of super-sweet Tangelos we bought there last week. Good ol' fashioned Florida fun!
Tropic Bee Honey - also available at most citrus stands, this Edgewater Florida business has been around since 1940.
The History Emporium at the Orange County Regional History Center- has great Florida items including Florida-themed books, vintage citrus labels and plastic lawn flamingoes. Recently featured in Southern Living, the flamingoes have been flying off the shelves after a mention in the magazine. They also have the very sweet Florida citrus wines, which are great for making Sangria. And they have my favorite, Moon Soup from Polk County's Chalet Suzanne Restaurant which was established in 1931.
Big World Studio features hand-crafted jewelry that is intricate, beautiful and reasonably-priced. My friend Wendy lovingly creates these little masterpieces in her home studio. Likewise for my friend Sonja who makes these beautiful pieces.
Florida Art Pottery Studio - at Renningers Antique Market in Mt. Dora features pottery by Martin Cushman. Martin is often there, working at the pottery wheel, throwing pots. In addition to his Florida themed pottery he also has an amazing collection of Florida-themed art.
Dawn Schreiner - promotes her work with a Facebook page where she does a doodle of the day, often of members of her Facebook group. I've commissioned her to do several small pieces, which are all on recycled materials (usually the back of cereal boxes.) Her work can be found at Seven Sisters Coffee House, which features fair trade organic coffee. And located right behind Seven Sisters is Wild Woman Chocolate, making hand-crafted organic chocolates like nothing else you have ever tasted. They take their chocolate serious there, and if you do too, this is the place for you!
These are just a few ideas from Central Florida. I urge you to think what you can do to support individuals in your own community this year.