Every holiday season, but even much more so in this whirlwind of a year, it is important to shop small and local. The Bay Area is such a vibrant community of artists, chefs, and creatives, so use the gifting season as a way to support your city and introduce your friends and family to something new and downright delightful.
Here are some of my top picks (too many to choose!!), hope you enjoy and find a way to squeeze in something for yourself while you’re at it :).
Happy Happy holidays from the Ripen team!
Diaspora was founded in Oakland by Sana Javerikadri in Oakland. From Pragati Turmeric to Kandhamal Black Mustard, Diaspora spices keep your kitchen colorful and your food vibrant, while also supporting single-origin farms in India that pay a living wage and provide health care.
Clouds and Ladders was founded by Kate Joseph in a redwood forest north of San Francisco. Her earrings in Pop Art colors make us sooooo happy! These gorgeous gems are handmade in her studio with soldered brass filled with hand-mixed, artists’ grade polymer clay in every color under the sun.
Formosa is the brainchild of Kimberly Yang in Oakland. These chocolates are our absolute favorite. Almost too beautiful eat, but you definitely should eat them - we even have them on our own website to pair with our boards!
Good Wood is a custom millwork and furniture company founded by Eric Stevens in a small barn on a 220 acre farm in Castro Valley. Their Bar Board is classic, but slightly unique - perfect for a cheese board.
My hometown of Chico in Northern California produces a lot of super creative people - and Natalie is one of them! Her eye for design is exquisite. She's currently selling a DIY winter wreath box that comes with everything you need to create a piney, luscious door wreath.
Yahshimabet Sellassie is a 17-year old baker in Oakland. She makes gorgeous cookies that she ships nation-wide, as well as a ton of sweet swag. This apron is a collab with the CEO of local nonprofit BayGanda and part of the proceeds will be donated to them. I'm so blown away by young folks starting business & making a difference in their communities & love to support them!
This bakeshop in Oakland makes super gorgeous, super creatively flavored macarons. It's such an easy gift that will literally make anyone happy - including gluten free folks like me! They will even hand deliver them to you if you live in Oakland or SF :)
- Link: https://mudwitch.com/
- Bio: Founded by Viviana Matsuda in San Francisco.
- Product: Mud Witch Gift Card
- Description: I love the colors and shapes that Viviana creates with her ceramics. The cute mugs and vases have inspired many a Ripen board!
Maria is an illustrator based in Oakland. I've been obsessed with produce for my whole life, and I get that from my mama - so every year, I buy Maria's seasonal produce calendar as a gift for mom (something like 6 years running!). It's truly a delight.
Local Food & Bev
Restaurants have been hit so hard this year, so I encourage you to buy gift certificates from your favorite restaurants or even packaged food to go! Remember - order directly from the restaurant and not through apps which take a mean cut! You can even get cocktails to go :) A couple of my faves include:
- C.O.E. wines: made by a friend at Artemis Botanical and available in Oakland at The Punchdown, Ordinaire and Snail Bar, as well as in San Francisco at Ruby and Terroir. All of these spots are great for grabbing an interesting bottle to GO!
- Friends and Family Bar’s easy-to-make Negroni Cocktail Set which includes three different Negroni variations, including Mezcal White, Pretty PAscal, and Coconut. They also have amazing food to go. They opened right when the pandemic hit and I love supporting them. Cheers!