I would be lying if I told you that we only shop locally, because we don’t. There are times when we travel off-Island to get items that we cannot find on the Island. There are also times when we shop online and have items delivered to our home. This said, I firmly believe that people should first shop locally as much as possible, and as often possible.
We’re a farming family, so we know how important it is for people to support local farmers. We rely on our local customers and we work hard to provide the best products we can for the people who buy from us. The same is true for local restaurants, shops, artists, woodworkers, and purveyors of specialty items and services. Local businesses depend on the support of their community members.
Why shop locally?
There are so many reasons to shop locally, however, these are the first that come to mind.
Yes, we try to buy only what we need, eat seasonal fruit and vegetables (mostly from our farm), and keep things local as much as we can. Having said this, we also support businesses that are not local as well. We do shop at bigger stores and dine at some franchised restaurants if we’re off-Island. There are some bigger businesses that also provide employment to many and who also place importance on giving back to their communities. Sometimes there may be an item we need (for example, a piece of farm equipment or a specialty appliance for my kitchen) and we cannot source locally. I am happy to purchase off-Island if what we need is not available on the Island. Also, if a business has a philanthropic spirit and view, I am happy to support. I am not one to say “only shop locally”, but rather “support locally as much and as often as you can”. I don’t believe in making people feel badly or feel pressured about decisions they make. I mean, I love local produce (especially the vegetables and fruit we grow on our farm). I also love peaches, bananas, pineapple and oranges. Those are not things we grow here. Some subscribe to the idea that if it isn’t grown locally, then perhaps we shouldn’t buy it or we do not need it. I love avocado in my salads, sandwiches and smoothies. We also do not grow avocado on Manitoulin. Those are just a few examples of items that I buy that aren’t local, and I’m okay with that.
On Manitoulin Island, we have a variety of local businesses that count on the support of our community. At the same time, our community benefits from these local businesses as well. Though people on my list for gift giving have some specific items they are wishing for this season, many of the gift items I will be getting for loved ones are locally sourced. There is something so special about going into a little local shop, perusing interesting, unique, locally-made items, and chatting with the store owner about the story behind the items.
Manitoulin Island is rich in arts. We have some extremely talented painters, textile artists, photographers and those who create stunning pottery. If you’re looking for a special gift and want to support local artists, there are probably too many to list in this post!
- Peter Baumgarten – Creative Island Photography
- Ireva Photography
- McQuay Click ‘n Clay
- Anchored Jewelry
- One KWE Modern Natural Furniture
- Jackie’s Art Quilts
- Sew Cool & Creative
Each year, I include Manitoulin-made items in my gift-giving. Be it locally-made soaps from Pebblewood Farm, jams and jellies from Our Garden, or chocolate from Manitoulin Chocolate Works and TOFFLES from Ultimately Chocolate, it’s always exciting to see the expressions on recipients’ faces when they open up their gifts. Knowing their gifts were made with careful thought and love, and that by buying local means supporting local, it makes the gifts even more special.
Some Local Manitoulin Gift Ideas
Ultimately Chocolate TOFFLEs – For those who love toffee and for those who love chocolate, how about toffee and chocolate TOGETHER? If you’ve ever tried Ultimately Chocolate’s TOFFLE, you’ll want to go back for more (again and again, and again…)! Perfect gift for those with a sweet tooth and who love rich, decadent treats made from quality ingredients.
Pebblewood Farm Handcrafted Soaps – Looking for great locally made gifts or stocking stuffers? Say I love you with SOAP! Some of you may already by rolling your eyes at me because my Twitter and FB feed are filled with my love for Pebblewood Farm’s Handcrafted Soap! They’re made with ingredients you will feel happy about too!
Manitoulin Chocolate Works – By far one of the most popular spots on Manitoulin Island. Everyone loves Manitoulin Chocolate Works. My six year old is quite partial to the Dark Chocolate Macaroons! I’ve got a weakness for the Mint Meltaway bars! Hubby is a big fan of the Mudge Bay Blend coffee and since he doesn’t read my blog often, it’s safe to say that he will be getting a bag of his favourite ground coffee.
Loco Beanz – There’s nothing like wrapping your hands around a hot mug of hot chocolate or coffee (or a cup of tea!) on a cold Winter day! Well, it’s definitely starting to get a bit cooler on the Island! While you’re enjoying a cup of your favourite coffee, why not have a bite to eat?
Auberge Inn – Looking for a great vacation or staycation? Auberge Inn offers eco-friendly accommodations as well as bicycle and kayak rentals. They’re steps from the beach in beautiful Providence Bay. Why not get a loved one a gift certificate for a stay at the Auberge Inn? Dads, how about getting your children’s Mom a weekend away with her friends? Okay, a weekend at the Auberge Inn WITH the family works well too!
McQuay Click ‘n Clay – Scenic Manitoulin 2015 Calendar and Scenic Manitoulin Through the Seasons is the perfect gift for Islanders, Haweaters, and those who love the Island. Enjoy gorgeous Manitoulin scenes for every month in the calendar! You may also want to consider some of Jan’s pottery! I have a few of her bowls (I have a slight obsession with pottery)! Even better…how about getting your loved ones some pottery lessons with Jan?!
Grandma’s Kitchen Cookie Trays – T’is the season to be jolly…and eat lots of cookies and baked goods! Everyone loves holiday baking. Whether you are the one doing the baking or the one receiving the baking, Christmas cookies are the best. Right? For those who are short on time (or just prefer the luxury of someone else doing the baking…and having to clean the kitchen up after baking), Grandma’s Kitchen has a wife array of cookies all wrapped up and ready to go! Great addition to any holiday dessert table or as a hostess gift! Whatever you do, don’t lie and say you baked them! Everyone on the Island can recognize a Grandma’s Kitchen Cookie Tray!
Art of Chainmail – Dylon Whyte is known for his artwork, including chainmail jewelry and beadwork, as well as his book, The Art of Chainmail. Dylon’s craftsmanship is quite impressive and his pieces have been given by us to our nieces and Hubby’s sister for the past few years. The bracelets, necklaces and earrings make unique gifts for birthdays and Christmas. Jack Whyte, who happens to also be Dylon’s father is a remarkable artist. Jack Whyte pocket art is a miniature collection of some of Jack Whyte’s stunning pieces. Yet another great gift idea.
Gordon’s Park – Hiking, cycling, astronomy and more! If you have some adventurers on your list, how about sending them to Gordon’s Park for a few days? Summer days spent checking out fossils or flora and fauna and then having a campfire in the evening sure makes for great family memories. Surprise the family by giving them a trip to Gordon’s Park. They also have a pool and mini golf that we’re pretty sure your kids will love!
Artwork by Jenna Carter – Scenes of Manitoulin Island captured by the artist, Jenna Carter are bound to evoke memories for those who have visited the Island. Jenna Carter’s beautiful pen and watercolour work = timeless. Cards are also available and make great presents and stocking stuffers for art lovers and anyone who loves Manitoulin Island. Each year, I buy Jenna Carter’s cards to send to loved ones and I also buy a set to give to my Mother-in-law, who is also a fan of Jenna Carter’s work.
Manitoulin Botanicals – Looking for skin care products that are locally-made, fragrance-free, alcohol-free, cruelty-free and with no synthetics or heavy metals? Manitoulin Botanicals offers face and skin creams, healing salves, lip balm, and more. Great as stocking stuffers or put together as part of a gift basket!
The Island Jar is the place to shop for locally-sourced produce, meat, honey, maple syrup, jams and preserves. You can also find bulk food items and health food items at the Jar. If you’re looking for environmentally-friendly gift items (stainless steel water bottles, coffee press, Island Jar apparel, or even a delicious meal and smoothie, The Island Jar is your store.
Still looking for places to shop at? Manitoulin also has a few grocery stores (Valu-Mart, Foodland, Freshmart), clothing stores (like Borderline, Dreamer’s Cove, etc), hardware stores, furniture store, pet store (Kat’s Pet Supplies), and other types of shops like Outpost General Store.
These are but just a few local Manitoulin businesses to check out for your holiday shopping.