0422 394 149 Spoil yourself for Christmas knowing your purchases of Fair Trade products help artisans earn an income from the beautiful, individual well-made products sold here. This helps them support their families, provide stable employment and promotes investment in local communities in countries where everyday people live close to poverty. Shopping here provides opportunities to many. There's a lot to look at so take your time. There are skillfully crafted trees made from recycled wire, Christmas decorations with a difference, textile products, teas and journals. There's quite a selection of products that fit nicely into a Christmas stocking. See more on Facebook.
Crafted Wire Tree - Sales of these products goes towards the health expenses of its maker who is unwell at the moment
16a Railway ave, Ringwood East VIC 3135 03) 9879 9991 There is a great selection of jewellery and accessories with some interesting pieces in rose gold. The clothing range has a focus on casual and special occasion with sizes ranging from 8 - 18. Stock arrives every week with only Australian brands so you're sure to find something for Christmas and New Year functions and of course, gift vouchers are also available. RSVP online for Lelulah's 'Hello Summer' party on 11 December (look for updates on Facebook Page) and be one of the first 50 people through the door and get a free summer inspired Fedora hat. That's a bonus to buying someone else a present.
03) 8838 0131 If you're bored with the usual mainstream collection of toys available elsewhere, head to The Coffee Apple. I was sold when I saw the Playmobil, Brio and Lyra pencils. Here you can buy the sort of sturdy and well-made toys and games that will last and make it to the next generation. Helen likes to find products for children that are 'fantastically wonderful, inspirational and educational'. Toys are tested by her sons and must pass their quality control. It's also very busy here with three tall elves packing Christmas orders. Click here for their Facebook updates.
The Coffee Apple: What shall I cook?
The Coffee Apple
4. Mountain Song Wind Chimes
Kalorama VIC 3766
0458 150 547
The beauty and sound is in the love and detail that goes into making these beautiful Wind Chimes. Handcrafted and made in Australia to handle the Aussie weather, all components of the wind chimes have been selected for longevity. You can choose chime size, notes, style or buy ready made. The song of these chimes is melodic and beautiful. The vibrational frequency of each chime is measured using a microphone and audio spectrum analyser. Intonation is important to Richard - the master behind the wind chimes. He spends a fair time making sure they are tuned to their correct tones and referenced to concert pitch. You can also commission a chime to ring the song you want. Where possible all materials used to make the chimes are locally sourced and are sustainably produced. Hear chimes here and find more info on their Facebook page.
'Anna' Pentatonic major on C
5. Merri Creek Soaps and BioGlitter
0432 184 774
Sophie did a lot of research on ingredients and soaps made from sustainable produced palm oil and found many furphies. So she decided to maker her own without using palm oil. I particularly like her felt soaps which make for a gift with a difference - a washcloth and soap in one that exfoliates as well. Felted soap also last longer that a bar of soap. Using top grade oils, essential oils and unusual ingredients like shungite, Sophie makes the most divine smelling soaps and the glitter she uses for her soaps, BioGlitter is biodegradable. Other glitter is made of plastic and endangers wildlife when it gets into waterways - which is does - as the small particles pass through filters and thus gets into the environment. So Sophie also sells BioGlitter for guilt free sparkle use. BioGlitter costs nearly the same as plastic glitter. Merri Creek Soaps are available here. Soaps and glitter are available here online. Check out the Facebook page here.
6. Geppetto's Apprentice
Unit 9, Wood's Point rd, Warburton VIC 3799
0418 774 709
The most exquisite hand made wooden toys and furniture made from sustainable natural materials and non-toxic finishes. Recycled or sustainably harvested wood is sourced for the products. The toys are designed with a view to encourage children to engage in hours of imaginary open-ended play. One reason why this husband and wife team decided to make toys is that they didn't like the idea of short use, loud plastic toys ending up in landfill. So no batteries needed. It's all about creative play and imagination. The website is still being updated so contact them via their Facebook Page or website to get an update on what's in stock.
7. Koru Pantry
0449 157 252
0430 546 611
I came across these products at a market and tasted everything. Legumes, teas, chutneys and jams were all good. I especially like the Ancient Wisdom Turmeric Latte. There's Buckwheat Hotcake mixes, Pistachio and Hazelnut Dukkah and spice mixes. They also sell raw ingredients in a variety of quantities for your own creations. Look at their Facebook page for products and meals. Call or message them directly via their FaceBook page for a price list, product and delivery info. Gift ideas include cookie jars with all the ingredients to make a great batch or soup jars.
8. Yarra Valley Custom Meats[/B]
181 Bottings Lane,
Mobile: 0438 396 364
When I cook meat from here it smells different. It smells clean, lean and happy. The meat is all grass fed free range from the paddocks just outside so it's a very short stress-free trip to the butcher's table and shop. In winter the cows, pigs, goat and sheep are fed silage and hay. No antibiotics or hormones are used. Many of the cuts are cryovac packed so you can do a big shop without having to freeze all of it. Remember to check the shop freezer for specials. Prepared variety meat packs make a gift with a difference or a tasty bring along to any bbq. if you're a fish lover, they also stock smoked trout from the local farm at Murrindindi.
Photo Credit: Yarra Valley Custom Meats, Meat tray
It's well worth the drive through this part of the spectacular Yarra Valley but if you can't make it to Dixon's Creek, call with your order and arrange for a home delivery.
[B]9. Juice Junction
Factory 3/12 Molan st, Ringwood VIC 3135
So you've read no.8 and shouted 'I'm vegetarian/vegan'. Then no.9 is for you. You'll feel right at home with Juice Junctions tagline drink raw, eat raw, feel rawesome.
Here you get nutrient dense meals and beverages ready made for you. No need to pack your fridge with volumes of leafy greens, veggies and fruit and no need to clean the juicer. Maybe you would also like some guilt free sweets and rawesome salads for your Christmas meal. If you do heavily indulge over Christmas, maybe you'll need to order your juice cleanse for recovery.
Juice Junction produce a range of cold-pressed juices, superfood smoothies and raw based plant meals with no preservatives, no refined sugar, no gluten and no artificial flavourings.
Everything is made to order (except for the longer shelf life items like Cacao Goji Truffles). Orders placed online by 9am for next day delivery. Because the products are all natural - yes - they are perishable (just like nature intended) so it's recommended these products be consumed within 3 days. So think ahead and time your order for your needs.
10. Red Coral Seafood
20 Michellan Court, Baywater 3153
(03) 9720 6622
Get ready to queue or get here early. Serious home cooks visit here for all types of cuisines including sushi grade fish. They supply many restaurants and establishments around Melbourne so there is usually a good selection in the retail shop. I like coming here because it's fuss free and easy. The factory shucks Coffin Bay oysters on the premises as well as filleting fish. Try the organic Salmon from New Zealand. Salmon from Tasmania is flown in daily.