Valentine’s Gifts That Love Our Community

We’ve got a lot of love to go around, and we’re just delighted to share some with local businesses- looking at everything not only available, but also created right here in our own communities, how could we not be? To celebrate the season of amor, we’ve put together a few suggestions of gift ideas that make our hearts beat a little faster, made by purveyors we’re crushing hard on.

Soulshine Home & Body

Healthy self-care is a gift everyone deserves, and Soulshine Home & Body brings a luxurious touch into your daily routine.  This small-batch line is committed to doing good by all of the natural world- including the human body. Free of toxins, petroleum, and plastics, and chock full of wholesome ingredients ranging from organically grown plants to pure soy and beeswax, we’d kiss you for any of it but are especially smitten with the “Pro Self-Care Set”, with Toning Facial Mist, Daily Moisturizing Lotion, and 100% clean-burning soy candle. Visit them here to learn more and order.

Community Cultures

Community Cultures is one of our favorite organizations for not only their products, but for their ongoing efforts to spread the word that at-home fermentation is an easy and accessible food preservation method for just about anyone. Workshops are held in a variety of locations around the city, including the upcoming “How to Ferment Kombucha & Wild Soda” at Two Frays Brewery on February 19th; “Wild Fermenting Apples: Hard Cider & Apple Cider Vinegar”  at Velum Fermentation on February 20th; “Kombucha & Other Bubbly Beverages” at Pittsburgh Botanic Garden on February 24th- and that’s just naming a few this month alone. You can also score big with a private lesson for yourself and lucky loved ones. Details on everything here!

Millie’s Homemade Ice Cream

Sweets for the sweet is always a safe bet, and Millie’s Homemade Ice Cream has an irresistible package for anyone with dentistry leaning to dulce. Their Valentine kit includes pints of ice cream, waffle cones, toppings, Valentine’s postcards, cups, spoons, and napkins- two of everything you need to replicate the Millie’s shop experience in the comfort and privacy of your own home. They’ve also got a Sundae Party Box with three pints and no guideline on how many it serves, so two or even one is surely an option, and if you’ve got three we’re good with that too.  Order here through 2.12 to pick up at your chosen Millie’s outpost on the 13th or 14th- and bonus, while you’re there you should absolutely snag a little treaty-treat for yourself as reward for your generosity and gift-giving prowess.

Huckle Bee Farms

Local honey has healing and protective qualities that border on the medicinal, but even if it didn’t we’d still swoon for it based on taste alone. As a splash of joy in steaming cups of tea, to impart a richness sugar just can’t give in baked goods, alongside spice and heat to accentuate savory dishes-it’s just delightful, delicious, and delovely. Huckle Bee Farms not only has raw honey, but infused honey, prepared gift sets, build your own gift sets, and the unbelievably adorable “adopt-a-bee” option- with the purchase of any item, you can register a bee, name it, view pictures, and learn about the hive! There’s even a printable Certificate of Adoption including both the name of recipient and the name of the bee. Check out their  website to catch the buzz!

Baked True North

Sugar + Gluten-Free Flour = True Love Always, and Baked True North Bakery & Cafe has taken up permanent residency in our hearts for their welcoming atmosphere, aromatic coffee, and delectable confections- scrumptious for all, and safe for anyone avoiding gluten out of either choice or necessity. While they boast an ongoing line-up of selections from scones to Lemon Bars to English muffins, including lots of vegan options plus cookie decorating classes and vintage glassware, an annual hit is their Love Cakes. These are only available during Valentine season, which means you better get some for everyone you love while the gettin’s good- order one, or two, or ten (we won’t judge) here!

Cherry Valley Organics

We have a big problem when looking at Cherry Valley Organics’ product line- narrowing it down. Okay, we’ll go with the Dried Flower Bouquet, with USDA certified organic flowers grown on their farm. Wait, what about the chocolate soaps and body and lip butters, like the Raspberry Chocolate Swirl, or the Chocolate Covered Cherry, or, holy moly, Mint Chocolate Meltaway?  Then there’s the Edible Flower Confetti that we just want to put on everything, and can because it’s free of artificial colors and sustainable.  Hold on- gift sets with Chocolate Sauce from Pennsylvania’s own Tait Farm Foods?  Fortunately we don’t have to decide- we’ll go with all of the above. So can you- check out not only these but plenty more temptations here! 

Footprints Farm Store

The dainties that follow a meal are frequently the focus this holiday, but Footprints Farm Store is concentrated on the main course with Meat For The Man!   This series of Valentine’s gift cards gives access to their full range of options, including chicken, turkey, duck, pork, and beef, available in every imaginable form- chops, ribs, sausage, roasts, steaks, and more. Footprints’ mission is “healing land/ nourishing food/ thriving families”, and to that end they create pasture-raised, non-GMO products with an eye on health as well as taste. Select a gift card for your beloved, and maybe some dinner ideas for yourself, here– and you might not even want to save room for dessert. 

Just Harvest

The only thing better than an experience that you can enjoy is one that benefits others as well, and the 27th Annual Empty Bowls Dinner meets all the requirements. This one-night-only fundraising event offers three available seating times for soups, breads, and desserts donated by local restaurants, with  hand-thrown ceramic bowls made by local potters and ceramicists serving as vessels during your meal then transforming to take-home souvenirs once you’ve finished. Held at Shadyside’s Rodef Shalom, proceeds go to Just Harvest and the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank. With the event itself held on April 7th, you have plenty of time to learn about participating restaurants, receiving organizations, and the artists crafting the bowls themselves- tickets and more info here!

Nothing like a gift that keeps on giving, and one spectacular way to do that is through a CSA Subscription! Visit us back here tomorrow for our list of farm-share programs that save a place for you and your table in their weekly harvests. Most don’t start until June, but once they get going bring you the freshest of local fruits and veg each and every week through summer into fall, many offering supplements to the standard packages including options like eggs, dairy, meats, and baked goods. It’s a bestowal of indescribable bounty, and you might even get to partake in the meals that result! 

This is just a smattering of possibilities from a small representation of all the folks nearby crafting, growing, teaching, helping, farming, baking, and more in this area. Check out their websites for other ideas, and our directory for other options, and know that when you choose to support our nearest and dearest in your gifting choices, not only do you show and give your love, you get ours in return.