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Artisanal Specialty Sources

Martha Stewart Living, August 2008

Your summer plans don't have to include a whistle-stop tour across the country to savor the pleasures of regional delights. Our editors have scoured the states for local standouts, from Colonial ceramics in Connecticut to the most delicious peaches in all of California.

Hog Bay Pottery
Franklin, Maine
The owner of this small gallery near Acadia National Park makes rustic, functional stoneware. Hand-thrown pieces, with subtle details and glazes in earthy tones such as rust and muted green, include large planters, teapots, pie plates, and deep bowls ideal for baking.

Heath Ceramics
Sausalito, California
This 60-year-old Bay Area pottery is famous for its modern aesthetic and handcrafting techniques. Among the four tableware collections is the Coupe line, below, designed in 1948 by founder Edith Heath. The elegant shapes come in soothing hues such as warm gray, sage, and pale blue (seen above left).

Guy Wolff Pottery
Bantam, Connecticut
Influenced by ancient Asian vases and early British and American flowerpots, Guy Wolff throws garden vessels that have a weathered, timeless look. His white stoneware pots, such as the one above, feature roped edges and understated patterns in natural stains.

Twinrocker Handmade Paper
Brookston, Indiana
Papermaking by hand is the expertise of this midwestern company, which produces top-quality paper suitable for watercolor, pen and ink, and letterpress. Air-dried for a rough texture or hot-pressed for a smoother surface, the sheets have deckle edges and come in several weights and hard-to-find shapes and sizes. Custom-made invitations are also available.

Black Ash Baskets
Trumansburg, New York
Shaker simplicity is at the root of Jonathan Kline's gorgeous wooden baskets, made from black ash and hickory that he collects from the forest. Among the various styles are a set of nesting baskets with swing handles, above.

Mae Hall Sweetgrass Baskets
Mount Pleasant, South Carolina
As a child, Mae Hall learned to coil and sew blades of sweetgrass. Her stylish creations include flat fanners (originally used to separate threshed grain from the chaff), trays with asymmetrical handles, and small covered containers.



Burl Treen
Unionville, Indiana
Reviving an early-American woodworking tradition, Michael Combs hand-carves ornate bowls and serving pieces, such as this artful compote, above, from the burl of black ash trees. Long valued for its richly patterned grain, this unusual wood is not only beautiful but also extremely durable.

Allegheny Treenware
Thornton, West Virginia
Stan and Sue Jennings transform West Virginia hardwoods, such as birch, cherry, maple, and walnut, into handmade utensils known as treenware. Among their many useful kitchen essentials are cutting boards and canister scoops, above, in a variety of handy sizes.


Morehouse Farm
Milan, New York
Home to a flock of soft-fleeced merino sheep, this Hudson River Valley farm produces high-quality yarn in several weights (bulky, three-ply, and lace, for example). The spectrum of colors includes Green Tomato, above, as well as natural hues blended from the wool of white and black sheep.

Swans Island Blankets
Northport, Maine
Local Corriedale and Nash Island sheep supply the wool, which is dyed and woven into luxurious, plush blankets. The throws are made in summer and winter versions and are available in subtle stripes, checks, and solids.

Country Cat Loom
Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin
A variety of historical patterns, such as Amish weaves and Shaker twills, are the basis for Jane Connors's vibrantly hued woven runners and hand-laced room-size carpets. The wool fibers used in the weft are dyed by hand, and custom colors can be ordered.


Fenton Art Glass
Williamstown, West Virginia
One of the oldest manufacturers of handmade colored glass in the United States, Fenton first produced carnival glass in 1907. It still creates decorative pieces, such as this fanciful vase, above.

Fisher Forge
Hamburg, Pennsylvania
Blacksmith David Fisher makes ornamental and functional accessories for the home. His diverse collection includes hammered door hardware, candlesticks, table lamps, vine-shaped trivets, pot racks, and a range of kitchen utensils in lustrous copper or brass.

Studio Cortes
San Antonio, Texas
Although the roots of faux bois lie in Europe, Carlos Cortes's family has been crafting exquisite concrete pieces with wood-grain patterns for three generations in Texas. His benches, planters, birdbaths, and other objects are as intricately textured as an ancient tree.

Hinkle Chair
Springfield, Tennessee
More than 170 years after Andrew Hinkle began making ladder-back chairs to supplement his farm's income, his family continues to manufacture rockers and other pieces in classic models, some with rush seats, others with slat backs. New designs include the Plantation Slat Bench, above.


Pipestem Creek
Carrington, North Dakota
Sunflowers, amaranth, and other prairie flowers and grains are harvested at this family farm and then dried and fashioned into wreaths, such as this flax one, above. As a bonus, many of them can double as edible bird feeders.

Odyssey Bulbs
South Lancaster, Massachusetts
This bulb company goes beyond standard-fare daffodils with a trove of spring and fall bloomers, including a colorful collection of corydalis and fritillaria, plus bright-red rhodophiala, a Southern favorite, and tulips that can thrive in warm climates.

Siskiyou Rare Plant Nursery
Talent, Oregon
This small nursery near the Cascade and Siskiyou mountains offers a spectacular range of plants for alpine and rock gardening. Many are western natives, such as Lewisia cotyledon, a wildflower.

Stokes Tropicals
New Iberia, Louisiana
For warm-weather gardeners, this is the source for exotic flora, such as banana plants with edible and ornamental fruit, fragrant plumerias, gingers, and leafy sansevierias.

Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds
Mansfield, Missouri
Dedicated to collecting and preserving rare seeds, Baker Creek distributes more than 1,200 varieties and showcases those with local roots. Its offerings include, above, clockwise from left, hyacinth beans, melon seeds, and the Missouri Pink Love Apple, a tomato grown since the Civil War.

High Country Gardens
Santa Fe, New Mexico
With the gardening conditions of the West and Southwest in mind, this nursery specializes in drought-resistant perennials, many of which attract pollinators such as hummingbirds and bees. On hand are agastache and salvia, above, plus ornamental grasses and cacti.


Bequet Confections
Bozeman, Montana
This candy maker has given the Treasure State a sugar high. Robin Bequet creates caramels in unexpected flavors such as maple, chocolate, licorice, and even chipotle. The ones infused with Celtic sea salt, below, are the perfect marriage of savory and sweet.

Friske's Orchards
Ellsworth, Michigan
Tart, or sour, cherries can be difficult to find because their season is so brief and the fragile fruit is tough to transport. A boon for bakers, Friske's Orchards' luscious Montmorency cherries are pitted and quick-frozen, and then boxed with ice before shipping.

Aunt Ruby's Peanuts
Enfield, North Carolina
These jumbo peanuts, shelled and packed in burlap sacks, above, are excellent roasted or panfried. Their superior taste enhances homemade peanut butter and sweet brittles. There's no need to worry if the nuts aren't eaten right away; they keep well in the freezer.

June Taylor
Berkeley, California
June Taylor produces all manner of preserves and marmalades, sourcing local heirloom varieties such as Santa Rosa plums and Gravenstein apples. The results are extraordinary. The Pluot and lavender preserves are intensely aromatic, and a marmalade made from Meyer lemons has just a hint of bitterness.

Fireworks Popcorn
Port Washington, Wisconsin
Fireworks Popcorn offers an array of jewel-tone kernels, each with a distinctive taste. High Mountain Midnight, a dusty blue, yields an intense corn flavor, whereas the red-streaked Sunset Fire, above, has a buttery richness.

Frog Hollow Farm
Brentwood, California
The 30-odd varieties of mouthwatering peaches from this organic Sacramento River Delta farm have attracted a national mail-order following. Farmer Al also cultivates other stone fruits, including lush apricots and cherries.

Jasper Hill Farm
Greensboro, Vermont
At this Vermont farm, brothers Andy and Mateo Kehler take raw milk from their Ayrshire cows and produce outstanding cheeses. Standouts include Constant Bliss, a soft, mold-ripened cheese with a delicate flavor, and Bayley Hazen Blue, above, a natural-rind blue.

Cooper's Old Time Pit Bar-B-Que
Llano, Texas
There's no need to bother with the grill when Cooper's meats (brisket, two-inch-thick pork chops, hickory-smoked sausage) arrive in the mail, already cooked to perfection over mesquite coals. For those intent on setting up the barbecue, this venerable restaurant also sells seasonings and sauces.

Old Mill of Guilford
Oak Ridge, North Carolina
This 18th-century water-powered mill stone-grinds grains, many of which are organic. The flours, including whole wheat and rye, are first rate, as are the white grits, above, and cornmeal.

Hammond's Candies
Denver, Colorado
These old-fashioned hard confections, above, are as charming to behold as they are to savor. The ribbon candy comes in a rainbow of hues, and the hand-pulled swirled lollipops vary in weight from one ounce to one pound.

McEvoy Ranch Olive Oil
Petaluma, California
Six Tuscan olive varietals are grown in Northern California's favorable climate and crushed in an on-site mill to yield artisanal, organic extra-virgin olive oils. The unfiltered oils, which come in alluring corked bottles, are greenish gold and have a fresh, peppery flavor.

Rancho Gordo
Napa, California
Dried beans indigenous to the Americas are the specialty of this company, which cultivates heirloom varieties. The legumes are grown in small batches to ensure freshness and can have a graphic beauty, as the black-and-white Vaquero and the mottled Good Mother Stallard, above, do.

Holmquist Hazelnut Orchards
Lynden, Washington
This 80-year-old orchard grows DuChilly hazelnuts, which have an oval shape and are sweeter than typical hazelnuts. Because they lack a bitter skin, the nuts, raw or dry-roasted, are addictively delicious straight from the bag.

Hog Island Oyster Company
Tomales Bay, California
A team of former marine biologists sustainably raise more than 3 million bivalves a year in Tomales Bay. Every Thursday, their succulent harvest -- Kumamoto, Atlantic, and extra-small Sweetwater oysters, above, as well as Manila clams -- is shipped nationwide.

The Net Result
Vineyard Haven, Massachusetts
Landlocked seafood lovers can enjoy smoked bluefish, scallops, five types of clams, and other fresh catches from this popular fish market on Martha's Vineyard. Prices and availability vary throughout the year, so inquire before planning a mail-order lobster bake.

Volcano Island Honey
Ahualoa, Hawaii
This rare organic honey, above, derives from a single forest of flowering Kiawe trees on the Big Island of Hawaii. The thick, pale-white honey is unfiltered and unheated during production so that the naturally occurring enzymes and the ethereal floral taste remain preserved.

Charles H. Baldwin & Sons
West Stockbridge, Massachusetts
The producers of this stellar vanilla extract, made from an 1888 family recipe, begin with Madagascar Bourbon vanilla beans that are then aged in seasoned oak barrels.

Blenheim Ginger Ale
Hamer, South Carolina
Flavored with ground gingerroot along with secret ingredients, this surprisingly spicy drink should be sipped, not gulped. Those with adventurous tastes should try Old #3 Hot, above, a powerful concoction topped with a raspberry-hued cap. For more sensitive palates, there's #5 Not As Hot.

Lincoln, Rhode Island
Coffee milk, Rhode Island's state drink, owes its popularity to locally made coffee-flavored syrup. The celebrated blend from Autocrat, a family business dating to 1895, captures a welcome balance of bitter and sweet.

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