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Give the gift of heart health

It's that time of year, everyone is frantically running around doing your last minute Christmas shopping. Trying to check everyone off the list, and make sure you aren't forgetting anyone. It can be hard to find the perfect gift for everyone.

This year, give the gift of heart health!
My favorite thing to gift or receive is homemade goodness. Whether that be in supporting small homemade businesses or giving baked goods and treats. It is just something special to get a gift that was made from the heart.

We can spend hours trying to think of the most perfect gift for someone, hours shopping in malls crowded with others trying to do the same thing, and then half the time we don't know if the person liked it, odds are they might be returning it after the holidays after all. This seems like a lot of work to me. So for my friends, neighbors and teachers this year, we are giving the gift of homegrown goodness.

Think simple, from the heart
It doesn't need to be fancy. Nuts are truly a great addition to any gift package. This time of year, I love to add walnuts to my baked goods. The little extra crunch and buttery taste just makes those treats that much better. The addition of raw or flavored almonds give a gift of snacking that can be a nice alternative to the candy and sweets you will be indulging in.

I don't go crazy and spent hours, but I think it special because it is all our family's favorites. This year my friends, neighbors and teachers are getting a bag of almonds, bag of walnuts, local honey from our beekeeper, a tin of fresh baked treats and wine for the friends! Sorry teachers, although you may need it the most, I didn't want to get in trouble for bringing wine to school. It isn't fancy or extravagant, but it is all from our farm and from the heart!

If you like the idea of gifting nuts for the holidays, but don't have them readily available, I have a few tips for you!

Shop local
There are many companies that specialize in nut gift baskets. They have options ranging from flavored nuts, chocolate covered almonds, caramel corn, nut butters, and even pies that incorporate nuts as well. These also make great options for gifts for your out of town friends. Buy a beautiful basket and ship it right to their door!

Here a few of my favorites:
Maisie Jane's
Sohnrey Family Foods
Stewart & Jasper

Really this list could go on but just a few of the favorites that I have tried and love. I am not being sponsored by any of them either, so it's my honest opinion!

If you aren't into the flavored nuts or treats that these companies offer, the gift of raw product is always an option. This is what I gift. I am not a processor and do not sell my product, but I have friends and family that love to snack, cook or bake with raw, delicious nuts. This way, your friends can flavor or use the nuts how they like.

You can find bulk nuts at most warehouse stores, health co-op or big box stores. You can also seek out your local nut processor if you are in California and support them. The retail flavored nut shops like I listed above, also offer bulk buys too. If you are in California, I also suggest your local farmers market, you will generally find a nut farmer or supplier at farmers markets throughout the state. If all else fails, Amazon will always pull through even when it comes to nuts.

Festive Red Walnuts, perfect for the holidays
My favorite nut to gift during the holiday season is the red Livermore walnut. Most people do not know much if anything about this rare California beauty. It is a great holiday staple and makes a great addition to your baked treats. The red Livermore walnut is grown the same as the traditional chandler walnut tree but produces a red meat. There are no dyes, or genetic modification to produce the meat, it is naturally red. I love the red meat to brighten up your holiday baskets and baked goods.

They are still a pretty hidden gem, but they have gained more popularity over recent years. My uncle planted the red Livermore variety in the 1990's and our family has been enjoying them ever since. Give them a try, they have a similar flavor profile as the traditional walnut but a slight buttery taste.

Check out for more info on Red Walnuts from my Uncle and cousin, they even sell direct if you want to give them a try. Bertagna Nut Company.

If you are still trying to finish up those last few gifts or even if you haven't started shopping yet, try the gift from the heart this year. Give something that gives back and helps the local farmers in your community.

Enjoy your Christmas season and maybe even a few nuts too!

Until Next Time,
Almond Girl Jenny


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