By Joy Neighbors
The holidays are upon us and once again, if you’re like me, you’re left struggling to find the “perfect gift” for family and friends.
This year, give the gift of Hoosier artisan foods. Indiana “mom-and-pop” shops offer everything from BBQ sauces to popcorn, chocolates, pretzels, jerky, meats, and syrups. The Hoosier State is brimming with a wide selection of fantastic foods, so make holiday shopping a breeze, and maybe grab an extra package or two just for you.
Chocolates and candies
Charlie’s Caramel Corn and Candy Shop
This shop has been a Vincennes tradition for more than 50 years. Charlie and Loretha Hamke started Charlie’s Caramel Corn and Candy Shop in 1955 making caramel corn for neighbors. The treat was so popular that the couple decided to make it a side business. Loretha operated the store until 1968 when Charlie quit his full-time job and joined her. Besides caramel corn, you can also find award-winning chocolates, cheese corn and a variety of seasonal items.
At the age of 12, Brooke Schmidt knew she wanted to own a candy shop. In 2004, that dream became a reality with Brooke’s Candy Company in Terre Haute. Specializing in toffees, gourmet brownies, and baking mixes, Brooke’s offers chocolates that are gluten and rice-free. Her chocolates and mixes are available at Target, Kroger, Baesler’s Market and Giant Eagle Market District in the area. Wholesale orders are also accepted.
Uncle Henry’s Candies
Carl Harvey learned to make chocolates from his Uncle Henry back in the 1980s. Today, Uncle Henry’s Candies, located in Cicero, Indiana, offers a tasty selection of chocolate barks, peanut clusters, pecan logs and chocolate turtles.
This family-owned business began in 1970 selling jars of apple butter. Today the lineup includes more than 100 delicious all-natural foods crafted from whole ingredients. Enjoy fruit butters and preserves, mustards, salsas, fruit barbeque sauces and pickled produce with all products made in the Bloomington, Indiana, cookhouse.
LM Sugarbush Maple Syrup
Located in the rolling hills of Salem, Indiana, LM Sugarbush offers pure maple syrup, and holds an annual Maple Syrup Festival each February. Established in 1981, the family-owned company is located on the 140-acre farm. Maple syrup is graded for color and flavor intensity and syrups for sale include Grade A Golden Delicate Taste, Grade A Amber Rich Taste, Grade A Dark Robust Taste, and Grade A Very Dark Strong Taste. Maple syrup may be ordered by the pint, quart, half-gallon and gallon online and is available year-round.
Local Folks Foods
Located in Sheridan, Indiana, Local Folks Foods provides organic and natural foods. Founded by Steve and Anita Spencer along with Paul Skirvin, the company provides wholesome mustards, ketchups, BBQ sauces, marinara and pasta sauces, salsas, hot sauces and jams. All products are preservative-free and contain no high-fructose corn syrup, oils, artificial colors or gluten ingredients.
Maple Leaf Farms
Maple Leaf Farms of Leesburg, Indiana, began as a small family operation in 1958. Today the fourth generation of the family continues to offer quality farm-raised duck products. Select from duck appetizers, duck bacon, duck sausage, ground duck, roasted duck breast, duck legs, roasted half duck, or a whole duck. Maple Leaf Farms also sells all-natural rendered duck fat for cooking.
Shoup’s Country Foods
This family-owned business began as a small custom meat processing plant back in the 1970s. It has grown into a retail meat store that includes pork, beef, turkey and chicken sold in freezer packages along with hand-made barbeque sauces, seasonings and dry rubs, preserves, honey and custom gift baskets. Located in Frankfort, Indiana, Shoup’s has a country store for perusal and purchase, or orders may be placed online.
Pop Around the Clock
Pop Around the Clock is a gourmet popcorn shop that opened in Vincennes in 2009 by Chris and Amy Bruggeman. The couple decided to use Hoosier grown popcorn so they could offer the freshest product to their customers. More than 50 flavors are available to choose from including Premium Caramel Corn — a Vincennes favorite. Check out Butter Pecan Toffee, Double Drizzle Cashew Crunch and Fort Sackville Style — all are sure to impress. And Pop Around the Clock also offers a fundraising program. Whether you enjoy popcorn that’s savory, sweet or candied, Pop Around the Clock has a tasty selection to choose from. Gift baskets, popcorn tins popcorn balls, and popcorn by the bag are all available for holiday giving.
Ramsey Popcorn/Uncle Willie’s
Ramsey Popcorn began in 1944. Today it’s one of the largest popcorn companies in the world. Cousin Willies’ Simply Better Popcorn was originally introduced for popping on the stove. Today, the microwave line is their most popular. Using 100 percent whole grains, Cousin Willie’s comes in an amazing variety of flavors. Select from Real Butter, White Cheddar, Sea Salt in ready to eat bags or for the microwave. The newest addition is Mauve microwave popcorn that pops in rosy hues.
Yoder Popcorn is Amish-raised in Indiana. A variety of popcorn products are available including premium popcorn in bags, microwave popcorn, Tiny Tender White or Yellow Popcorn, colored popcorn that is red, baby blue or sunburst. Plus, Yoder offers caramel corn, gift baskets and popcorn seasonings.
Cow Chip Jerky
Cow Chip Jerky began when Joe Shepherd decided he could make better jerky than was available for purchase. It was 1989 in Warsaw, Indiana, when Shepherd began offering jerky that was “wildly different.” Using premium choice cuts of beef marinated in secret spices, the jerky is flavorful, easy to chew, high in protein and low in fat. Select from original, hot and spicy, or a combo order of one bag of each. If you’re a jerky connoisseur, Joe suggests you try a bag and “let the chips fall where they may.”
Tell City Pretzels
One bite and pretzel aficionados rave about the crunch. Tell City Pretzels began in 1858 when Swiss master baker Casper Gloor settled in town and began baking his famous pretzels. Today the pretzels are still hand-crafted using the same secret recipe and baking techniques for more than 160 years.