Hamptons Epicure: Keeping Holiday Shopping Ultra Local

Vintage quilts assembeled by Jeanelle Myers
Vintage quilts assembled by Jeanelle Myers, Photo: S. Dermont

I recently hit some fabu crafts sales—but be of good cheer, there are more to come!

For the last 10 years I’ve sold my handmade goods, pies and jams at a local church’s annual St. Nicholas Fair. I prep for it all year because when I was a little one I took the message “keep Christmas in your heart all year”…to heart.

This year that church downsized its event and did not welcome any vendors. I only found this out last month so I really didn’t have time to look into other options.

The “silver-lined pig’s ear” here is that in going out to see other sales I picked up some super cool loot and met some fascinating people.

My first stop was the Hayground School’s annual market. Their gym was full of vendors—prepared foods, jewelry, crafts, books, vintage clothing. Sagaponack organic farmer Marilee Foster was there selling her produce and potato chips. Hayground administrator and gardener Jon Snow sidled up to Foster’s table and, in eavesdropping on their conversation, I learned more than I’d ever known there was to know about heirloom beans.

I was impressed by some of the jewelry on offer—particularly Corinne Lavinio’s lockets (etsy.com/shop/EastEndLight). I bought one that features a crow watching the sun set—I think that’s what he’s doing in there. Shelter Island’s Mirinda Page (etsy.com/shop/MimiPageJewelry) uses stones that she finds on local beaches to make what I call “elemental statement pieces.” I’ll definitely buy some of her work—I just couldn’t choose which ones on the spot.

I also bought an anklet made by organically raised hippie children for our “View from the Garden” columnist Jeanelle Myers, who had a knee replaced last week. It seems like a synergistic thing to have a new anklet to wear with a new knee.

I also visited the Bridgehampton Historical Society. They were doing craft demos. I didn’t see the event advertised anywhere but Jeanelle Myers was demonstrating quilting and invited me to check it out. While there I met decoy artist Capt. A. J. Combs from Southold. His work is both primitive and realistic. He calls making loads of tiny ducks his “group therapy.” (631-316-1069)

I also met a quilter there who owns and operates a quilting machine, which allows her to finish quilts quickly. I ran home, grabbed lunch and an old quilt top I’d bought at an estate sale, and headed back. Janet from Farmhouse Quilt Company told me that the quilt top I thought was from the ’60s was most likely from the ’30s and she’d be delighted to quilt it. Did she want a deposit? “No! This is your deposit!” she said—meaning that she’d happily keep my quilt if I failed to pick it up. That was a deal. She said, with evident disappointment in her voice, that none of her clients ever fail to pick up their quilts. (631-236-6030)

I met Ted Hubbard at the 4th annual Friends Bazaar at Ashawagh Hall in Springs. Hubbard, who lives in Montauk, hand carves one-of-a-kind spoons from local hardwoods. They’re perfect for the cook on your list. I bought one for my mom and one for my stepmom. The two spoons are as different and as interesting as they are. (631-566-7667)

Hit the gift trail yourself this weekend: On Saturday, December 20, 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. , check out the 50-vendor-strong “Holiday Market” at Topping Rose House in Bridgehampton. Look for mucho farmers, artisans and food purveyors. (toppingrosehouse.com)

On Saturday and Sunday, 11 a.m.–4 p.m., visit the Bridgehampton Historical Society’s Holiday Gift Show featuring the work of local artisans at the Bridgehampton Archives, 2539A Montauk Highway, Bridgehampton.

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