Everyone loves to arrive home and see that they have a package waiting for them on their front door. I’m always amazed at the efficiency of our mail delivery networks, and how easy it is to send items across the country in a matter of days.
Sometimes I run out of creative gift ideas. People enjoy receiving gift cards, but it’s nice to come up with something more personal. What do you give to someone in an age where online shopping is filled with things they could just purchase themselves? How do you personalize your gift and make it truly unique to the person receiving it?
That’s where I came up with an idea for sending “local flavor packages” to friends and family that live far away. The idea is to find your absolute favorite locally-made items in your area that you can’t get just anywhere, put them together in a gift package, and mail them to loved ones.
This can be as much fun picking out the items as it is for the person that will be receiving them. First, it makes you more aware of what your local area has to offer. You can experiment with different local food items to see which you like best. Try out some new local coffee, honey, tea blends, drinks, snacks, and more. You’ll find fantastic flavors and products made in your own region that you may have never tried or knew existed!
Second, you’ll get a sense of pride to share with others the flavors of your own City/State when you find that unique item that outshines any other name brand.
One of my favorite products made in New Mexico (apart from the famous Hatch green chile of course) is New Mexico Piñon Coffee. If you’ve ever been to the high-desert regions of New Mexico, Arizona, and Colorado, you’ll see piñon trees scattered across the landscape. These trees produce a unique variety of pine nut called Piñon Nuts. They have a unique creamy flavor and are often sold locally by individual vendors on the side of the road near Indian Reservations. They have a limited harvest season and the process to harvest them isn’t easy. New Mexico Pinon coffee combines these local high desert pine nuts with arabica bean coffee to create a smooth fusion for a great cup of coffee. I love sending a bag to friends afar, and always get great feedback from them after they try it.
Here are some other New Mexico products that I have hand-picked for sending to friends and family for my own “Local Flavor Package.”
A lot of grocery stores, mostly natural and local-sourcing stores, have set up display islands and end-caps that feature highly reviewed local items. This makes it easy to find many to choose from in one place. Just remember to actually try the foods to see which is the best before sending them and keep in mind that some alcohol products may not be allowed through the mail. Marketplaces are even better sources of local products where artists and vendors sell hand-made items such as greeting cards or jewelry.
It’s a lot of fun to put these together and to follow up after sending in the mail to see what your recipient thinks of the products you picked out. You’re also giving them a unique gift that allows them to taste a variety of the best products from a single region. Maybe you can even encourage them to send you a basket of their favorite local products as well so they can have as much fun discovering and selecting their favorite local items.
If you try this out for yourself, please share with everyone your experience and which products you found in your local region in the comments section. I would love to learn more about what your region uniquely has to offer. Happy flavor hunting!