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California Christmas Goodies from Ohio: The List (Part 1)

Celebrate Local, located in the Easton Town Center, is one
of my favorite places for all things local
By now, you've seen a tons of articles and blog posts covering the gamut of great gift ideas for the now past Christmas holiday.  I admit I've read my share of them myself since I've moved to the Buckeye State, often just simply to familiarize myself with what's out there.

Another big reason lies in what turned out to be an ideal family setup with my spouse: as all her family gathers at Thanksgiving at her parents' place in Ohio, we always spend that holiday here. Meanwhile, Christmas Eve has traditionally been the realm where all my siblings and numerous relatives gather at my parents' place in California, so December has meant travel time over to the West Coast for us two.

That yearly trip, coupled with the fact that no one else in my immediate family lives outside of California, I've started a tradition of bringing back a little bit of Ohio back for my relatives in some form as a little gift from the Midwest.  This has, in turn, created its own unique challenges for me in that I had to find gifts that met these unique criteria:
  1. Ohio-based products that weren't easily obtained in California
  2. Ohio-based products that weren't necessarily "Ohio-centric" (things like "Columbus 'Til I Die" t-shirts really wouldn't have any real meaning for my family members)
  3. Ohio-based products that would be mostly if not universally appreciated by all (that leaves out things like craft spirits and beer, for example)
With that in mind, I thought a summary of what I as a Buckeye State Santa Claus have toted to California would be both informative and a nice little plug for these Ohio-based makers:


Jams from Sweet Thing Gourmet: Sweet Thing gourmet jams were one of the first things I got to sample at the local farmers markets, including the Hot Pepper Peach, one of our favorite spicy-hot creations my spouse and I have encountered the past few years. In business for almost fifteen years now, this Bexley-based business' jams and biscotti cookies have proven popular with both the locals as well as my family members.

479 N Stanbery Av
Bexley OH 43209
(614) 252-1830
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Buckeyes from Marsha's Homemade Buckeyes: My spouse and I have made these distinctively Ohio chocolate and peanut butter treats from scratch a couple times during our visits to California, but we decided one year to bring plenty for all to enjoy. My spouse has tried many of the pre-packaged Buckeyes and rates Marsha's Buckeyes out of the Toledo area to be one of the best out there (something I would agree with myself.)

25631 Fort Meigs Rd #H (Google Maps)
Perrysburg, OH 43551
(419) 872-7666
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Syrups from Simple Products: Located in Ohio's Amish Country, this company sports a variety of food products from herbs and spices, vinegars and pancake mixes in addition to their signature inventory of simple syrup flavors.  As my first such gift ever, these syrups easily had the title of the heaviest Ohio-based product for quite a few years until I visited a certain Ohio apple orchard (more on that below.)

10336 Township Road 262 (Google Maps)
Millersburg, OH 44654
(330) 674-2448
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Chocolates from Esther Price: Chocolates from this Dayton-based chocolatier (n the midst of their 90th anniversary) seemed to be a perfect way of bringing a taste of my spouse's long time traditions (her relatives in Dayton would always have Esther Price candies available for holiday gatherings) to my family on the West Coast. In addition to their candy line, Esther Price has branched into the craft beer world recently, pairing up with fellow local business Warped Wing Brewery for their annual "Esther's Little Secret", based on one a rotating selection of the company's sweet treats.

The company has multiple stores in the Dayton/Cincinnati area, but for this gift, we stopped by their location at:
1709 Wayne Av (Google Maps)
Dayton, OH 45410
(937) 253-2121
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Apple Butter from Legend Hills Orchard - Run by the Hoar Family for over a century, Utica's Legend Hills Orchard offers a large assortment of country-styled products (many of them Amish-made) from jellies to home remedies, candies and salad dressings, maple syrup and soaps, and much, much more. Of course, products made from the fruits and vegetables grown on their 300+ acres of farmland also abound, and a dozen jars of their homemade apple butter made it back to California on one Christmas.  And as I alluded to above, a dozen pint-sized jars of their apple butter make for a "lift the package with your legs not your back" kind of experience.

11335 Reynolds Rd. (Google Maps)
Utica, OH 43080
(740) 892-2498
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Next Blogpost: Part II of our Ohio-to-California Gift List, including this year's gift...and a giveaway to boot (shhh!)

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