When I decided to start this blog it was an agreement with myself to write again; and while daytime seems like an obvious time to get some work done, I find it very distracting to write while the world is awake. When the sun is up, stores are open, people are available, and needs must be met. When night falls there’s a quiet in the air that allows me to focus. Nine times out of ten that also means I’m drinking tea. It seems fitting to start my first local products post with a tea focus.
A quick note: These posts will focus on products I own or have tried. I’m trying not to write based on speculation. If you read a post and think something should have been included please let me know. I’m always up for trying more local goods!
If you’ve never tried or even smelled the Sage Rose White Tea from Wight Tea Co you’re missing out. Sometimes I open the jar just to enjoy the aroma of the pink rose petals, sage and lemongrass. I like this tea hot, and frequently drink it while I’m working. It has a delicate floral taste and is low in caffeine. This also means it makes a great iced tea, plus an unexpected addition to cocktails, and while I own many of Wight Tea’s blends, the Sage Rose White is definitely a favorite.
2. Argonne Valley Apiary Honey
While Argonne Valley isn’t a place you’ll find on a map, it exists in the Lauraville neighborhood of Baltimore less than five minutes from my front door. Because it’s hyper-local to me, it has become my ideal everyday honey. Due to the seasonal allergies I’ve developed while living here, consuming honey created by local bees is majorly beneficial to me. The pollen contained in the honey actually helps desensitize me to the fauna that trigger my allergies. Since they’re a micro-business and don’t have any online presence; I usually pick up the AVA honey from my local neighborhood tea shop but they’ve been out for a while. Since then I’ve tried Apex Bee Company’s Wildflower Honey whose hives are located in several counties surrounding Baltimore, though I don’t believe they’re within the city. I’ve also tried Hawks Hill Honey which was slightly thicker and closer to a raw honey, but just as delicious.
When I first discovered Waxing Kara they were vending at the first Emporiyum in Baltimore. The taste of the Autumn honey was the most deliciously sweet honey I had ever tasted, and I never forgot the flavor. While working in Owings Mills in 2016 I discovered that the Honey House had opened, a gorgeous little shop where every Waxing Kara product is sold including every flavor of their honey. While I love to go in and tase the seasonal flavors, I always end up purchasing a jar of Autumn honey. Now that I don’t work nearby anymore I make a special trip for that delicious little jar.
When your nerves are fried, everyone and everything can seem like the worst. I’ll admit that when I first saw the Whoa Calm Down tea from Juniper Cullinary, I was skeptical, but it smelled really good so I took some home. When I tell you that I needed this tea, wow! I won’t say it was instantaneous, but this is some amazing tea! I’m definitely a person who needs a nudge to relax (I say that while I write at 10:40pm). If anything else, when I drink a cup of Woah Calm Down I feel like my body relaxes, and when I stop being super focused my mind can as well.
The design aesthetic at Hollow Work is a major favorite of mine. Bright geometric patterns inlaid on a dark brown clay is completely simple, and unlike any ceramics work I had seen locally. I picked one up at the 2018 American Craft Council show after discovering their existence that same day. I couldn’t leave it behind. Every time I use my mug I feel like a designer. The handle is delicate but sturdy. I can cup the mug in my palm or hold it traditionally. It has a cool factor that most mugs don’t have, and I feel pretty awesome knowing that it’s made in D.C.
6. John Gazurian Pottery Mugs
John is another ceramicist whose work I love to sip from. He lives in my neighborhood which is where I originally saw his pieces. He usually has a table at the Hamilton Festival and when I talked to him about his different methods of firing, I discovered that I have a love for gas fired clay. The rustic earth tones and the way that the glaze melts together is very appealing to me. I also like the texture of the work, which comes out smooth while not feeling sanded down. Drinking from my JGP mug makes me feel like I’m enjoying tea in a cup from another millennium.
Honorable Mention: Rice Krispie Treat Bars at Pillion Tea
When I go into a tea shop I’m not expecting to get blown away by the desserts. I went to Pillion Tea for the first time a few weeks ago, and while I’ll definitely be returning for tea, I’ll also be stocking up on their Rice Krispie treat bars created by local baking extraordinaire Allie Smith of Bramble Baking Company. They’re made with brown butter, so they’re extra decadent. Plus they look pretty with dried flowers and raspberries throughout. They were too good! I purchased two and have no photos. Neither treat made it out of Mount Vernon. Go try them, but don’t take mine.
On My Wishlist: Hon’s Honey
I haven’t tried Hon’s Honey yet. I know it’s made in Baltimore, though I’m not sure where. While I don’t have much info on the product itself, I really love their mission.
“Created and maintained by The Well in Baltimore, Maryland, Hon’s Honey is a social enterprise dedicated to giving dignity and purpose to women survivors of addiction, sex trafficking, generational poverty, and trauma. All products are made by an empowered community of women —each one committed to transforming their lives and embracing the next woman who walks through the door”
What a wonderful idea that’s deserving of support!