Volume XI, Issue 50 ~ December 11-17, 2003

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Home-Grown Shopping for the Holidays

Two weeks ago, we gave thanks for the richness of Maryland’s culture [“Chesapeake Thanksgiving,” Vol. XI, No. 48: Nov. 26]. But if you’re planning on buying Maryland-made products this holiday season, you have your work cut out.

From home construction to fine dining to health and beauty and even to holistic healing, Maryland offers just about every service you would want. But when you look for products — Christmas gifts to hand with pride to friends and family — you might conclude that Maryland has entered a post-manufacturing era.

In Bill Burton’s columns, we often revisit the era when Maryland made and refined things, from steel to ships to Black and Decker tools to National Bohemian beer.

Today, we’re more likely to fill our homes and Christmas stockings with goods made in China and shipped to America to malls filled from sea to shining sea with the same stores, selling the same stuff. What if you want to bring home a Maryland-made appliance or a gift that carries local pride to your loved ones at Christmas?

Except for arts and crafts, you’d better put on your shopping shoes. If you’re looking for a Maryland future, think small-scale manufacturing. Especially lacking are local goods made from local materials.

We’re excepting arts and crafts, because the art gene seems to thrive in Maryland. From the art galleries in Annapolis, Prince Frederick, Solomons and beyond, to the season’s bumper crop of craft fairs, you’ll find everything you can imagine and a lot more, from artful locally grown gourds to jewelry, wearables, pottery and art for your walls and garden. Fairs showcasing the work of local craftspeople continue this weekend, as you’ll see in 8 Days a Week.

But if you’re thinking practical instead of artful, here are more possibilities:

  • Christmas Trees: Many of the trees and much of the greenery you’ll buy locally come to us from Canada, which is a giant step up from China in fair employment practices. Still, scent and pleasure are sharper when you dig or cut your own Christmas tree. The Maryland Christmas Tree Association omits Anne Arundel and Calvert counties from its listing “Where to Select Your Maryland Grown Christmas Tree” (www.marylandchristmastrees.org). We’ve found two in Southern Anne Arundel County: one on Old Solomons Road south of Friendship; the other off Route 258 east of its intersection with Route 4.

  • Yachts: Chesapeake Country abounds in yacht dealers, selling both sailboats or power craft. Head toward the water and you’re sure to find one. If you want your boat Maryland made, your choices are fewer and require big money. Performance Cruising is Anne Arundel’s only manufacturer of sailboats. Powerboats that are works of art are locally made by Joe Reid of Mast and Mallet or by Larry Belkov in Eastport.

  • Small Craft: Slightly more affordable and just as beautiful on the small scale are the Chesapeake 20 sailboats made by Alex Schlegel and Peter Bell at Hartge’s Yacht Yard in Galesville, and the hand-powered craft made by Andrew Wallace at Traditional Boatworks in Davidsonville. For craftspeople, Annapolis Light Crafts supplies kits to be finished as kayaks.

  • Farm Fare: Many farm markets are closed for the season, but Calvert’s Country Market stays open all year selling local bounty, including wearables locally woven from the wool of local sheep, llamas and alpacas. The Annapolis Farmers’ Market at Riva Road and Truman Parkway reopens Saturday mornings for the holiday season.

When you shop this season, remember that Santa comes to Maryland from the North Pole. But he doesn’t have to detour to China or Mexico on the way.



© COPYRIGHT 2003 by New Bay Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved.
Last updated December 11, 2003 @ 1:08am.