A Harvest for the Holidays
Connecticut’s more enterprising farms make a practice of jarring, jamming and pickling a fair share of their harvest to augment sales during winter. Many such products, which may include sauces, salsas and a great deal more, not only taste wonderful but also have great gift potential.
As an alternative to hopping from farm to farm to fill your holiday basket, consider stopping by Connecticut Creative Store, which showcases items made in the state. The building, a brick beauty that abuts Colt Park, once housed the park’s caretaker; three of its rooms are now devoted to retail, with proceeds going toward the development of a planned botanical garden in Hartford.
The front room, with cantaloupe-colored walls, features a potpourri of appetizing treats. Among those are Frank’s Sicilian Gravy and Frank’s Marinara Sauce ($6 for each); Porter’s Smokehouse North/South BBQ Sauce ($5); Giff’s Jalapeno Pepper Relish and Giff’s Cranberry Ginger Chutney ($5); several cylinders of Otwell’s ground spices ($6.50); Mel’s Hellish Relish and Mel’s Sweet Inferno Pickles ($7); Bloody Bold Bloody Mary Mix ($4.49); maple syrup, in finely etched bottles, from Norman’s Sugar House ($20); and, for soda swillers, old-time flavors like birch beer, sarsparilla and red cola, from Hosmer and Milligan’s Island ($1.15 to $1.25 a bottle).
The back two rooms, in avocado green, are devoted to textiles and other Connecticut-made goods, including colorful knitted potholders ($1.95 apiece); glass tree ornaments ($3.95); artistically painted gourds ($45 to $110); and woolen hats, scarves and sweaters. You will also find T-shirts emblazoned with “Botanical Garden” and “Connecticut Grown” ($10 and $12), although these are among the items that are not produced in Connecticut. CHRISTOPHER BROOKS
Connecticut Creative Store, 25 Stonington Street, Hartford, hartfordbotanicalgarden.org or (860) 297-0112. Open 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Wednesday through Friday; 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Saturday. Call first to tell them when you’ll be there — the store sometimes closes early.
FOR INFORMATION ON MAKING JAMS, VISIT OUR FRIENDS AT PICKYOUROWN.ORG