Go green gift guide: Distinctly local and eco-friendly presents
Whether you're shopping for your Granny in Chattanooga, your sister's next-door neighbor in Portland, or the ever-fickle Secret Santa at work, Austin has a bevy of green merchants that are sure to satisfy almost every taste.
Although this list is not comprehensive, it does represent a broad cross-section of products and, what’s more, unique green gift ideas.
Handmade and inspired by classic cult movies, television shows and pop culture, these distinct beverage koozies — er, Cozies — are weird, woven, and totally Austin. Noteworthy Cozies include: Frida Kahlo, Jurassic Park, Beetlejuice and Nintendo. Supplies are very limited, so act fast!
This award-winning Austin delivery start-up connects organic, local and sustainably-produced foods (dairy, meats, produce, and more) with consumers in an amazingly simple and eco-friendly way. With Greenling there are no contracts, no traffic or long lines, ten times the local selection of natural food stores, and only a $25 minimum on all orders. This service is available exclusively in Central Texas and Dallas.
Specializing in quirky, eco-friendly prints, pillows, stationary, calendars and apparel, Little Low also touts a completely green and Austin-based work studio. Their “Wild and Free” line of prints and apparel is kind of to die for.
Sabia natural apothecary carries exclusive natural skin care brands such as Kiehl's, Jurlique, and Dr. Hauschka, but also boasts an exclusively local and organic cosmetics line. There is also an aromatherapist onsite to create custom-made essential oil blends.
Wimberley Lavender Farm
Due to the drought conditions of the past five years, the Wimberley Lavender Farm is now permanently closed to the public. Even so, the farm maintains a booth at the Wimberley Farmer’s Market on the first Saturday of every month. For most Austinites, however, visiting the farm’s comprehensive online product catalog — lavender soaps, natural insect repellent, misters, oils and more — will prove the most sensible option.
Located deep in the heart of Austin’s east side, Tillery Park is the city’s latest biodynamic mixed-use retail venues (read: trailer park). The site features the Elphas Maximus vintage clothing store, Nettie’s Cloth & Ink, The Juice Well, a coffee shop, community gardens, and more:
- East Austin Succulents: Give the gift of (plant) life this holiday season with a custom arrangement from East Austin Succulents.
- Tillery Street Plant Co.: Specializing in “exotic and well adapted plants sourced from near and far,” Tillery Street Plant Co. would make the perfect gift for someone with a bit of a green thumb.
Although most people regard “Wheaties” as their go-to neighborhood grocer and co-op, it is also a fantastic source for green, local, and often edible gifts:
- Third Coast Coffee Roasting Company: These bean experts import their product from Fair Trade cooperatives in 15 different countries and then roast it at the Third Coast shop on South Congress. Every blend is especially tailored to the best preparation method (drip, French press, percolator, etc), so do a little research before diving in.
- Soy Delites: Soy candles are not only more aromatic than the traditional paraffin variety, but also longer lasting. Soy Delites are made locally by a husband and wife team and from 100 percent soy wax and cotton wicks. December’s scent of the month is “Jack Frost.”
- Austin Natural Soap: These soaps are handcrafted and handmade in South Austin using only plant-based oils of olive, palm and coconut. Soaps include so many natural moisturizing elements (cocoa butter, sweet almond oil, avocado oil, shea butter) that skin is left clean and soft, no lotion required. Try the oatmeal honey exfoliating soap or the Lone Star Soap Sampler, for out-of-towners.
- Goodflow Honey: Goodflow is the table wine of Texas honey, supplying wildflower, Orange Blossom, Clover and raw varieties from several hundred Austin area hives. Honey products can be purchased onsite at Wheatsville, from the company’s East Austin location (2601 E. Cesar Chavez Street), or by calling 512-472-6714.
- Carter’s Select Salsa: Local salsa is a great gift for out-of-towners, especially those who are used to more mainstream brands. Carter’s Select, available in Hatch Autumn Roast, Original, Spicy, Fireside, Chimichurri, Smokey Peach, and En Fuego Con Habenero, might just blow their minds.
- Pecan Shop Natives: Relatively new to the Central Texas pecan-harvesting scene, this product is among some of the best, and most sustainable. Try the Apple Pie Pecans for a sweet treat or the Mesquite Smoked variety for a more savory flavor.