Small Business Saturday - November 30th, 2013

Are you one of those crazy Black Friday shoppers?  Do you get up early, or not go to bed at all, so you can push your way through a crowd at your favorite big box store for that amazing deal?  And this year it seems the "Black Friday" craziness is being spoiled by places being open Thanksgiving Day!

I’m not a Black Friday shopper.  I hate crowds, really hate crowds.  I hate them so much that this time of year my Christmas shopping is done and I’ve stocked up on all those staples like paper towels and laundry soap so I don’t have to brave Target any more than necessary until the insanity is over.   If I do have to go, I go late in the evening when the crazies are home going over all of the amazing deals they found that day.  Usually I spend the Friday after Thanksgiving making Christmas cookies.  This year I’ll be painting our office!

I am a Small Business Saturday shopper.  I love this idea.  For years Dave and I have tried to shop smarter for both food and goods meaning both better for us and for our local economy.  There are some things that you just have to go to a “big box” store or Amazon for, but where we can we shop local and independent.

I’ve already started planning my Small Business Saturday trip and I encourage you to find your local gems and give them a visit on Saturday.  We'll be sticking around St. Paul.  Here are some of our planned stops.

Normally our Saturday mornings would start with the St. Paul Farmer’s Market but they are closed for the holiday on the 20th so we’ll probably start on Grand Avenue at Golden Fig Fine Foods. 

Golden Fig is my back up source for Otis Family Farms eggs and Snappy Dog Salsa when I can’t make it to Farmer’s Market.  They also carry Fischer Family Farms pork.  If you haven’t had some of their smoked pork chops you have to try them.   Another staple we purchase at the Fig is their salted caramel sauce.  Oh my delicious!  I will be drizzling some of this on the chocolate bread pudding I’m making for Thanksgiving dessert.  Other favorites include the cayenne short bread cookies, and anything from their bakery selection (the vanilla brioche is TO.DIE.FOR!).  They have cheeses, pastas, sauces, gifts, coffee, the list goes on and on.  You have to stop in if you’re in the neighborhood!

Right next door to the Golden Fig is a new place called Fox Glove.  Dave and I stopped in there for the first time just last week and were pleasantly surprised at the unique things in the store.  I purchased these beautiful porcelain replica of a Mason jar.  We also found some cool paper straws and an a wick that Dave felt was befitting his etched Woodford Reserve bottle!  We replaced a couch pillow with one from Fox Glove that has a removable, and washable, cover too.   There were so many cool, eclectic things in the store from a refurbished antique stereo cabinet made into a bar, to beautiful paper gift tags you have to stop in and at least take a look!

From Grand Avenue we’ll probably head to the Olive Grove Olive Oil Company in Mendota Heights.  If you know me you know this is another of my very favorite places to shop.  In addition to a huge variety of olive oils and balsamic vinegars, you will find delicious pastas imported from Italy, spice blends to add to your oils for delicious dipping, great gift baskets and even skin care products made with olive oils.  I’ll probably be replacing all the Mushroom and Sage olive oil I used for Thanksgiving dinner and probably pick up some pasta too.  Oh and farro!  The Olive Grove is my source for farro too!

We’ll probably be getting hungry about now so it’s dangerous to make our next stop Cosetta’s but that’s where we’re going!  When you walk in the first thing you smell is the fresh baked bread.  They’ve made it so you can watch it being baked.  How can you not buy a loaf?  I could spend all day in the Market just looking at the cheeses.  They have the best fresh cheese anywhere, never mind the deli meats.  And if you’re feeling lazy, pick dinner out of the case and bring it home!

Ok, now we’ll be hungry and where else would we go than Ward 6?  Love beer?  You’ll love Ward 6!  Love great food?  You’ll love Ward 6.  They’ve been open about a year now and Dave and I got there at least once a week.  We’ve been there for breakfast, brunch, lunch and dinner and it doesn’t matter what day of the week or time of day the service and food are outstanding!  They make me nervous when they change the menu then I fall in love with the new items.  My current favorite is the pork dinner, roasted Fischer Farms pork tenderloin with bacon blue cheese Brussels sprouts!  Oh my!  Did I mention they have pie?

A shop local day would not be complete without a stop at PJ Murphy’s Bakery.  Don’t blink or you might miss this little gem of a bakery in St. Paul.  They have the best soft hamburger and hot dog buns!  They have great sweet treats too!

Sunrise Creative Gourmet is at the St. Paul Farmer’s Market every weekend, even in the winter!  They recently (like last weekend) opened up a store front.  Dave and I will be visiting on the 30th!  Not only will they be selling their great pastas, we’re partial to the Butternut Squash Lasagnetta, they’ll also be selling things from other great local companies like Snappy Dog Salsa!  We may have to try their Parmesan sage sauce!  Looking for a unique Christmas gift?  They have gift packs!

That's the plan, we'll see if we make it to any additional places.  If you have any ideas for us we'd love to hear them!  Please do a little local, independant shopping this season.


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