Great mail order food gifts you give
Chow editors posted their top 10 mail-order food gifts (here: http://www.chow.com/stories/11964 ) and I started a comment thread on other great food gifts to give which has proven to be a treasure trove.
People had some great suggestions:
Many recommended Harry & David (http://www.harryanddavid.com/gifts/st... )
HillJ suggested Bella Viva (www.bellaviva.com )
Raedia sends apples from http://www.honeycrispvermont.com
amazinc's pays dividends in the spring: asparagus (http://www.misterspear.com/ct_asparag... )
Cooder had a whole list of local Texas products
"CollinsStreetBakery.com for cakes, cheesecakes and pecan pie
NBSmokehouse.com for ham, bacon, sausage
LammesCandies.com for chocolate pralines
PittmanDavis.com for fruit
SanSaba pecans and Austin nuts"
and bellywizard went DIY with sourdough starter kits (http://www.sourdo.com )
I think these are all amazing ideas and I never would have heard of them were it not for amazing Chowhounds. I've already ordered asparagus and a bunch of apples.
So, what do you send? I think we can create a great, eater-approved mail order directory for all kinds of items.
Besides Harry and David's I also send from Sea Bear Smokehouse. They have tons of fresh and frozen salmon, crabs, mussels, scallops, and soups/chowders. In addition, everything is sustainable. I always get some of their sliced smoked salmon for myself at the holidays so my dinner guests have good snacks and house guests have something to put on bagels in the morning. I sent Copper River salmon and fruit (apples and pears) to 2 sets of friends this year.
Yes, great subject (and timely, too!)
For a local (Twin Cities/Minnesota) slant:
I love Hell's Kitchen (Minneapolis restaurant) gift packages. Any combo that includes their housemade peanut butter or toasted bison sausage bread (sounds gross, but it's absolutely delicious) is fun. Ignore their juvenile "welcome to Hell" theme (although, you may need to exercise caution that the recipient of the gift wouldn't be offended by the theme...) http://www.hellskitcheninc.com/All-Pr...
Also, for MN Native American foods, the BEST is hand-harvested and hand-parched Minnesota wild rice (seriously amazing; puts the commercially-cultivated stuff to shame), but their chokecherry jams and bison summer sausage are pretty delicious, too. http://nativeharvest.com/catalog
Oh, and Kramarczuk's housemade sausages! I've never tried their mail order, so I don't know how their service is, but their sausages are the best. http://www.kramarczuk.com/Sausage/Var...
For Scandinavian food treats, a Minneapolis institution, Ingebretsen's. This is the real deal (for Garrison Keillor/Prairie Home Companion Fans): housemade baked goods (lefse, limpa, julekake) or home-smoked/cured fish (salmon, lutefisk, salt cod, etc.) For the housemade specialties, you have to be certain that the recipient is going to be home, though, as it's perishable. Lots of other imported food goods available through their site, too http://www.ingebretsens.com/categorie...
I've only visited their shop, I don't know good their mail-order service is, and their business is highly-seasonal (very close to winding down right about this time of year) but Dockside in Grand Marais, MN for Lake Superior smoked fish (trout, salmon, herring) http://www.docksidefishmarket.com/cat...
Oh, and completely impossible to resist guilty pleasure, the Chicago Mix popcorn from St. Paul's old timey Candy store, Candyland. I'm sure their other house-made candies are worth mailing, but if I don't send it every year, people will complain "Where is my Chicago mix?" http://www.candylandstore.com/ab_best...
Hey, you're a Minnesota-loving Iowan, I'm an Iowa-loving Minnesotan! Border, shmorder, who can find it under all of that newly-fallen snow anyway. :).
There are plenty of awesome mail order goodies from your side of the border, too:
How about Maytag Blue Cheese? http://www.maytagdairyfarms.com/aspx/...
Or those Chocolate Chunk Cookies that Obama loves so much from Baby Boomer Cafe in Des Moines?
Or, those caramels from the nuns in Dubuque?
And, the prosciutto from La Quercia?
re: The Dairy Queen
Although two years later, I want to thank the Dairy Queen for the nun caramel link - I've haven't lived in Iowa since 1993 and had simply forgotten that they existed.
I'll add my own link:
Van de Rose Farms - I've only had their Duroc Ham but it is simply lovely. (fair warning - the website does not look like it's finished but you can see what they have to offer and pricing but you'll have to order it over the phone)