Top 10 Washington Gifts
1. ApplesDuh. It's No. 1 on our list because it's the easiest. There are also several options to choose from so you can try to find the best price. When I lived in Utah, I got these from my aunt in Richland nearly every year. The downside is they're not hard to come by. In the words of Peter Boyle when Ray Romano signs his "Everybody Loves Raymond" parents up for Fruit-of-the-Month Club: "We can't go out and get our own fruit?"
Any Cabernet from 2007 or 2008 is good. Our office recommends Preston Winery in Pasco, Hogue Cellars in Prosser and the Horse Heaven Hills Appellation.
Located in Prosser, Chukar got a lot of votes from our staff, partly because they have such a wide variety to choose from. In fact, it got so many votes the only thing keeping it from being No. 1 on our list is you'll have to explain where it's from.
4. Northwest Smoked Salmon
When people think of the Columbia River they think Lewis & Clark and salmon. What did Lewis and Clark see while floating through the Tri-Cities area? Natives smoking salmon. After apples, nothing says Eastern Washington like pink fish. There are several options; we suggest shopping at MadeInWashington.com.
5. Cougar Gold Cheese
Show some pride people. Support the Washington State University Creamery and give a great gift the whole family will enjoy.
This Kennewick business sells a wide variety of holiday-themed treats made locally. This is a great idea for children, but everyone likes food and candy.
Boehm's Candies were my father's favorite Christmas gift. The factory is in Issaquah but there is a store in Richland. Seattle Chocolates are also popular, and let's be honest, Seattle is the only place in Washington other Americans can find on a map. The Tri-Cities are Yakima, Spokane and Tacoma, right?
8. Applets and Cotlets
Liberty Orchards in Cashmere, Washington, is world famous... if you're a fan of applets and cotlets. During the factory tour they claim to send product around the world. I don't know if that's true, but I do know I love to say those two words, and I'd rather not share a box.
Made from the ash of the volcano. The company has a variety of tree ornaments. If you can't afford to send an original Chihuly, this stuff is good too. The studio was forced to close recently, so who's to say it won't become as rare and famous as Dale's work?
10. Locally-roasted coffee
There's the Walla Walla Roastery to the east, and St. John the Forerunner Monastery to the west. Father Michael's blend has two benefits: it's from Washington but it's also from a monk. For some reason that makes everything cooler.
Left out in the cold:
Two ideas that did not make our list, but should have: anything from Allied Arts Association in Richland and wreaths made from local materials. The Allied Arts Gallery has knit items, bags, jewelry, glassware, pottery, thumb pianos and more. Staff claim to have purchased wreaths made from local hops or vines, but I couldn't find any online. It's a great idea and should be pursued if you can find someone selling them.