Whether souvenir shopping is on the agenda during a trip to Central Oregon, or the holiday gift giving season is once again creeping up, there is no shortage of shopping here in the high desert. While it has become easier than ever to shop from behind a screen, there’s a special feeling that comes with shopping local—whether it’s for art, local specialty foods or experiences that showcase the best of Central Oregon.
Handmade Products in Central Oregon
There’s a little red building on the outskirts of Bend’s Old Mill District known as the “Little Red Shed” that is worth a visit during a future shopping trip to the area. It’s inside this cozy 20-foot by 20-foot workspace and showroom that Anna Amejko Peterson creates her nomadic woven artwork. For her company, Amejko Artistry, Peterson designs scenes of mountain and desert landscapes, as well as other patterns she’s inspired to make. The artist said she’s inspired by a lot of different global designs, and has a love of geometrics and elements of nature that show up in her designs.
Down the road in Redmond, jeweler Erica Porch handcrafts jewelry inspired by the landscapes of Central Oregon and beyond for business, Derive Jewelry. She creates necklaces with mountain and forest scenes and pieces inspired by the moon and wildflowers. “I’m using inspiration that I derive from the earth,” said Porch, who describes her jewelry as both a souvenir and a travel companion. In addition to selling jewelry on her website, Porch regularly has booths at Central Oregon farmers markets and has displays in local stores. Watch this Central Oregon Makers video to learn more about Derive Jewelry.
With a little digging, shoppers can uncover more Central Oregon companies that take inspiration from the region’s landscapes and spirit to create artwork and handmade products. Other locally made products can be found at The Workhouse in Bend or the Made in La Pine store.
To try making something with your own two hands, make a visit to The Art Corral in Prineville for a paint night or a class on the pottery wheel. Leave with a gift for yourself or someone else that was made with care in Central Oregon.
Central Oregon Specialty Foods
Looking for a way to spice up typical gift giving? Browsing through products from Sakari Farms in Tumalo just might do the trick. With everything from spices such as basil and thyme to hot sauces, salts and teas, these flavor-packed specialty foods are a great way to liven up a meal.
Sakari Farms owner and indigenous agriculturist Upingakraq “Spring” Alaska Schreiner first started a seed exchange more than a decade ago. In 2018, she and husband Sam Schreiner bought land to begin their own six-acre farm in Tumalo, where they run a tribal seed bank, offer on-farm classes and grow tribal peppers, tomatoes, potatoes, garlic, herbs and one-of-a-kind native flowers.
To get a taste of Sakari Farms traditional tribal foods and specialty food items from partnering producers, try the Fall/Winter First Foods Box, featuring Sakari Farms tea and hot sauce along with products including wild rice, coffee and jelly from other Native American-owned companies.
Central Oregon’s specialty food offerings are broad, and range from sauces and honeys to sweets and jellies. Dry Canyon Salt Company in Redmond offers a selection of wine salts, which are hand-crafted, small batch salts infused with wine. Also made in small batches in Redmond, Justy’s Jelly offers sweet, spicy, savory and even boozy jellies. Bend-based Holm Made Toffee offers its signature toffee, along with roasted hazelnuts and other seasonal food favorites that have become staple treats during the holiday season in Central Oregon. In Madras, Casad Family Farms ships out boxes of their regeneratively grazed beef and pastured heritage pork, perfect for a family gathering or any occasion. Foods grown and produced here in Central Oregon make excellent gifts for foodies, but also can offer anyone a tasty reminder of a trip here, or entice others to visit and experience more of the region’s local food scene.
Experiences to Try or Gift in Central Oregon
Whether it’s for a giftee that seems to have everything, or for those who value experiences, gifting tickets, a tour, a gift card or another type of experience in Central Oregon may be the perfect fit.
For a night on the town in Bend, browse the schedule and pick up tickets for a show at the Tower Theatre. Affectionately referred to as “Bend’s Living Room”, the Tower Theatre offers film screenings, live music, comedy shows and theater events throughout the year. Gift cards or tickets to a Tower show can make an excellent stocking stuffer, said Ray Solley, executive director. “Connecting with family and friends through music, dance and comedy makes the best memories,” Solley said.
For winter enthusiasts, book an unique experience with Oregon Trail of Dreams, owned and operated by Iditarod finisher Rachael Scdoris. Choose from a standard sled dog ride (about an hour experience) or opt for the 26-mile round trip sled dog ride for two to Elk Lake (includes a delicious lunch). Trips begin at Mt Bachelor. The Hoodoo Anycard offers skiers and snowboarders five days of access to Hoodoo, northwest of Sisters on Santiam Pass.
For creatives, give the gift of a class at Bend’s DIY Cave, which offers workshops focused on leatherwork, jewelry making, blacksmithing, home brewing and more.
For foodies, set up a private cooking lesson with Ingredient Studio, the Bend-based duo of Marité Acosta and Candy Argondizza, two accomplished chefs who moved from New York City to Central Oregon. Central Oregon’s High Desert Food Trail offers dozens more options for food-centered experiences in the region, with suggested stops at farms and ranches, eateries, farmers markets and lodging ideas.
Give a wine tasting experience with a gift card to Faith Hope & Charity Vineyards, which regularly hosts concerts, and other events at its family-friendly vineyard in Terrebonne.
For more experience-based gifts, Visit Central Oregon has a selection of curated experiences to try, with options such as a visit to the Bend Rock Gym or a scenic hot air balloon flight. Explore more experience ideas to gift here.
Whether it’s an experience, a handmade gift that reminds us of Central Oregon, or the perfect ingredient to put the taste of the region into a meal, there are more than a few ways to approach gift-giving with a Central Oregon spin.
More inspiring stories, adventures, and tips & tricks for planning and experiencing the best Central Oregon has to offer.
Meet the Central Oregon Makers
Central Oregonians are a collection of dreamers, doers, storytellers and innovators who have all chosen this beautiful place as home. The result is a thriving community of makers who help weave the cultural fabric of this unique area. To showcase the depth of creativity that flows here, Visit Central Oregon created the "Central Oregon Makers" campaign. The hope is that the content inspires others to seek out and support the people who bring the Central Oregon region to life. See videos of each of these Central Oregon Makers here.
Get Holiday-Ready with Handmade, Local Gifts
When it comes to holiday shopping, it’s the thought that counts—the thought behind each and every gift that you carefully select for your friends and family, that is. And there’s no better way to shop thoughtfully than to shop locally-made. Here in Central Oregon, we’re surrounded by a wealth of beauty, natural resources and creativity, a dynamic combination that’s fostered a thriving community of artisans and makers. It’s a cinch to cross gift-giving off your to-do list thanks to this inspiring array of small businesses. Let’s go shopping!
Best Shopping in Bend and Redmond, Oregon
Shopping in Central Oregon has evolved over time, thanks to an influx of outdoor enthusiasts, organic farmers, antique purveyors and entrepreneurs of all kinds moving in, and subsequently sharing their products with the community. This mixed bag of motivated individuals creates a marketplace full of locally sourced, handcrafted items that can’t be found anywhere else. In addition to small, local businesses, Central Oregon’s growth in population in recent years has garnered the attention of some larger retailers, who have opened up shop in Bend and Redmond. Shopping in Bend, Oregon and likewise, shopping in Redmond, Oregon, provides visitors with a look inside our local industries, while simultaneously providing opportunities to purchase from well known retailers. It’s also worth mentioning that shopping in Central Oregon and throughout the state is tax-free, offering shoppers a built-in excuse to buy whatever catches their eye.