Mary Beth Shaddix Mary Beth Shaddix
February 13, 2014

Need gift ideas for the food and nature lovers in your life? Last week I was fortunate to be amongst thousands of these folks at the Northwest Flower & Garden Show in Seattle, a veritable mecca for all of us nourished by green things. With a maze of lush garden design and landscape displays, vintage finds, a garden marketplace, and over 100 smart seminars from accomplished authors and gardeners, there is something special around every turn. These artists and exhibitors made my heart skip a beat.

1. Tea Towels & Paper Goods by Chavah's Garden, $3- 24. Soft watercolors of delectable vegetables and herbs are printed on luxe flour sack tea towels, cards, notebooks, and bookmarks. A tea towel makes for a pretty, eco-smart gift wrap of any culinary tool or book, too.

2. Handturned Garden Dibbers & Row Markers by Andy Chapman, $10-25. Dibbers do what your fingers don't, poking perfectly round holes in the soil for seed sowing and planting. Turned from locally harvested apple, maple, or cherry, these have handy one-inch markers for easy depth measurement. Row markers help pull a taut line to keep your carrot sowing straight as an arrow (though no guarantee of straight roots!).

3. Natural Olive Oil Soaps by Circle Creek Home, 4 for $24. Heavenly scents and hand-poured, these soaps have all the good things with none of the bad. Essential oils of peppermint, tea tree, licorice, rosemary, and spearmint lend aromatherapy "aaaahs." Absolutely try the licorice scent; it is rather addictive.

4. Pressed Fruits & Vegetable Art by Julie Anne, Pressed Flower Artist. (prices vary) Paper thin slices of vibrant kiwi, blood orange, black radish, carrot, starfruit, and lemons are dried to form a gourmet take on stained glass. Through tedious steps of slicing, dehydrating, pressing, and matting, these natural beauties take on new form. Photographs do not do it justice, so trust my taste for these! Varying sizes fit any kitchen space. Custom orders upon request.

6. Growing at the Speed of Life, by Graham Kerr. Known the world 'round as the Galloping Gourmet, Mr. Kerr has turned his approach to food completely around. Today, at 80 years young, his gusto for sharing a healthy life--fueled by a 420-square-foot kitchen garden--is contagious. He nurtures his wife of nearly 60 years to her best health, saying, "I relish the time that I can take to nourish people with my food." After all, isn't doing what you can to nourish loved ones the very best Valentine?

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