5 gift ideas from local vendors at 2nd Street Market

More than 370,000 people visit the 2nd Street Market each year.

It’s an impressive number, especially when you stop to think that it’s only open three days a week (Thursday through Saturday) and closes at 3 p.m.

Boasting more than 40 vendors — all locally owned small businesses — it’s a destination that offers a terrific range of dining spots for lunch and an array of food items including fresh vegetables, meat and eggs, artisan breads, cheeses and some of the best Greek yogurt around at Star Dancer Creamery (but be warned, the fine folks at SDC are only there on Saturdays and they sell out early, so be sure to leave one for me).

As if that wasn’t enough, there also are tubs of beautiful flowers, bottles of wine, delectable sweets and even some home décor and gift items to peruse.

As far as food goes, the Market currently is home to 14 local growers, 12 grocers/bakers and nine prepared food vendors.

“The Market is a great destination for anyone looking for locally produced food, which is less taxing on the environment and often healthier and better tasting,” said Jimmy Harless, manager of the 2nd Street Market, a facility of Five Rivers MetroParks. “Food-lovers can stock their kitchens with locally grown and produced food, all while enjoying the fun and social atmosphere of the Market.”

And this time of year, 2nd Street Market is a great spot for friends and family of said food-lovers to scope out some fitting holiday gifts. Here are a few ideas I had as I was strolling through the market a couple of weeks ago:

1. A set of specialty olive oils and balsamic vinegars

The flavor-infused olive oils and balsamic vinegars from the Olive Tree in Dayton are definitely worth seeking out. My favorites are the fig balsamic vinegar for salads, the white grapefruit balsamic for fish and the chile balsamic for beef. The sun-dried tomato parmesan garlic olive oil is great for pastas and the roasted garlic and the jalapeño olive oil are great with just about everything. A 12.7-ounce bottle retails for $15 and three small 5-ounce bottles can be purchased for $20. They are great for hostess gifts or for foodie stockings. Head to their booth at 2nd Street Market and try them all out to find your favorite. The folks helping have been knowledgeable on repeat visits, and I have yet to find a bottle that I haven’t liked.

2. A kit for the food scientist in your life

Dayton Urban Green (DUG) bills itself as a one stop sustainable living shop at 2nd Street Market, offering eco-friendly products for every-day living including green cleaning products, personal care products, food preservation and soap-making kits and more. It also offers DIY items like kombucha starter kits in flavors like strawberry green tea, blueberry black tea and regular tea ($14 each), cheese making kits ($25), edible mushroom mini farm ($12.15) and sprout jars ($9) that a more adventurous foodie might get excited about trying. Traditional methods of preserving, making and growing foods has become a hot trend — you know it’s hit the mainstream when Williams-Sonoma has an entire category dedicated to it.

3. Some pure sweets

The baked goods from Purely Sweet Bakery contain no refined sugars, no processed flours and no chemicals. These all natural sweets make great stocking stuffers or hostess gifts. Gourmet cookies, biscotti, scones and pastries are sweet treats made with love and real deal ingredients. The Bellbrook Chocolate Shop, which just celebrated its 30th anniversary, is also another worthwhile stop.

4. Meats!

Omaha steaks has made a mint on selling meat to folks looking for holiday gifts. The local meats at KJB Farms — the pork sausage and lamb especially — is tremendous. And then there are the amazing chicken patties at Tea Hill Farms with varieties that include Herbes de Provence, Porta-Pesto and my personal favorite, Greek with red onions, roasted red peppers, spinach, kalamata olives and feta cheese. The savory and spicy country sausage is also quite a treat.

5. A local bloody mary kit, or local nacho kit

I like a bloody mary that is complicated, layered and robust. Hot sauces, spices and salsas, are all fair game to keep things interesting in my world, but that’s not for everyone. So if this doesn’t sound good in blazing veggie cocktail, it could also double as a great kit for some nachos. Head to Walt’s Homemade Salsa booth for some sweet hot seasoning ($5.75), spicy Sriracha sauce ($5.99) and a jar of salsa ($5.99), then head over to Spice Rack & Bulk Foods for pickles and smoked cheese to garnish. All you need is a bottle of Belle of Dayton vodka and a splash of tomato juice and you’re ready to go. That, or a bag of chips …

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