By Sara G. Stephens
Homegrown and Texas proud, these products resonate with all that makes the Lonestar State unique. They’re in-your-face bold, apple-pie sweet, country-craftsman sturdy, Southern-belle pretty, and rugged-cowboy honest. Read on for a sampling of what your fellow Texans have been cooking up for you. There’s something for everyone, especially if your stars at night are big and bright.
- State “historical markers” It’s a place of significance. It’s a place of memories. Important things happen here, just as they occurred in early frontier days when horses roamed the plains between the occasional town that rose quietly, bearing its status with a general store and local saloon. It’s your home, and it’s Texas proud. Embellish it with its very own state historical marker to let the world know. These markers, which look every bit like their authentic counterparts, also tell the world yours is a home of laughter. Rather than detailing a historical event, they tickle readers with funny remarks, such as, “On April 21, 1836, Texas troops under Sam Houston won independence, as they shouted out ‘Remember the Alamo!’ When we tried that here, the neighbors complained about the noise.”
- Handmade Crochet Shaw Whether you’re sitting ‘round the campfire or dancing in the moonlight, this one-of-a-kind crochet shaw will embrace you in its baby-soft baby yarn. Pamper yourself with its purest white beauty, or give it to the lady who’s the belle of all the balls. Size 62″ long x 19″ wide.
Price: $ 99.00; Postage $ 6.40
- Gator Pit Mobile BBQ Pits Wear your apron proudly. Grab your tongs with authority. You are the Pit Master, and your Gator Pit BBQ Pit shows it. Designed and manufactured by Houston-based Gator Pit, a business that lives and breathes all that is BBQ, your custom unit was voted a Top Ten “Coolest BBQ Pits in the United States.” Whether you BBQ for tailgating parties, competitions, or backyard gatherings, Gator Pits builds what you need to ensure you’re always smokin’ the good stuff! Visit gatorpit.net for features, options, and pricing.
- Aunt Aggie De’s Pralines There’s a little town called Sinton, just 35 miles north of Corpus Christi, where the splendors of nature meet with charms of the country, and whose Main Street beckons you back to simpler times. At 311 W. Sinton, a giant happy-go-lucky squirrel mans Aunt Aggie De’s storefront, welcoming visitors to sample the creamy confections Eleanor Harren has been making since 1987. The delectable goodies are made in batches with the same care and quality of ingredients Eleanor used when she started the company at age 55, in the loving space of her own kitchen, and with $50 in her pocket. Eleanor is committed to creating her confections using only USA-grown and -processed ingredients, with the only exceptions being the Madagascar vanilla beans (which are processed in the USA) and the Belgian chocolate used in chocolate confections.
- The Happy Toy Maker toys The art of quality toymaking lives deep in the heart of Texas, where The Happy Toy Maker cheerfully builds beautifully crafted steel western toys, including pickups, trailers, semi trucks and straight deck cattle trailers—animals, too! Some sets can be personalized with your name on the front porch light and the front bumper of the truck. Custom names and logos also can be added on the truck grill and the back of the cab. These toys are a delightful break from the cheap, disposable toys that flood toy store aisles today. Get one for your little cowboy or cowgirl (they come in pink, too!), and rest assured it will be enjoyed by generations of children to come—a true Texas legacy.
- Apple Pie Publishing After a long summer day of baseball and swimming, and an evening of chasing fireflies, nothing calms tuckered-out kids like a bit of apple pie—an Apple Pie book, that is. The Apple Bunch Book series introduces children to a lovable set of characters, including young frog Fred and his funny, imaginative friends. Apple Pie books are printed using quality, lead-free paper and ink. The publishers are active in the community and are avid supporters of medical research and fundraising, having donated thousands of dollars from the proceeds of their first book, “Apples for Fred.” A percentage of all the profits made by Apple Pie Publishing is donated to local and national charities.
- Bear Feet Shoes From their first steps across your living room carpet, to joyful leaps through autumn leaves, to dainty steps strewing rose petals before the bride, your children’s feet walk many important, beautiful miles. The shoes that take them through life’s adventures should be comfortable and nurturing, so those precious feet can enjoy the many adventures that lie ahead. Bear Feet makes soft, flexible baby shoes that are durable and stylish. They are carefully crafted from high-quality leather and organic cotton. For older kids, Bear Feet offers wonderfully flexible shoes, made with natural crepe rubber soles, sustainably tapped from the Hevea tree. Most importantly, Bear Feet’s leather construction assumes the unique shape of each child’s foot. Unencumbered by thermoforming plastics found in most shoes, Bear Feet toes are non-constricted, and feet are free to develop naturally and beautifully. Giving you further peace of mind, Bear Feet shoes come with a lifetime craftsmanship guarantee.
- Canyon Creek Soap Company Whether you bring home the bacon or fry it up in a pan, Canyon Creek’s artisanal products will never let you forget you’re a woman. Or a man, or a dog, for that matter, as the company makes products for all. From soaps to lotions and foot creams to shaving creams, this company’s vegetable-based products are handmade in small batches in lovely Amarillo. Because nothing feels better than stripping the synthetics from your life and body, most Canyon Creek products are 100 percent natural. Those that are not contain miniscule amounts of pigment and/or manmade fragrance. Each product is labeled with a complete ingredient list to educate customers about both the skin-benefitting ingredients included and also the health- and earth-compromising chemicals thoughtfully omitted. Canyon Creek is earth friendly, top to bottom and all the way around, and manufactures high-end containers from partially recycled glass or plastic. Labels are printed on a 100-percent-treeless paper made from rocks. To top it all off, Canyon Creek bottles are sealed with happiness—colored strips of quotes reflecting the company’s philosophy that fulfills the joyous experience of using these luxurious products.
- Butler’s Smokehouse gourmet jerky The words are practically synonymous: beef and Texas. Family-owned and -operated in Stephenville since 1999, Butler’s Smokehouse further deepens the meaning of both words with its mouth-watering array of specialty meats and gourmet products. The company’s smoked meats are all handmade from the recipes of owners Micah and Lacy Butler, with products that range from sausages and jerky to USDA Prime steaks. A particularly provocative Butler’s treat is a beef jerky marinated with the original Dr. Pepper syrup made with Imperial Pure Cane Sugar. The Butlers take the hand-trimmed beef and slice it thin, marinate it in their unique blend of spices, then slow smoke it to beefy heaven. Low-fat and nutritional, this makes a great snack to serve at your next neighborhood BBQ, while folks are waiting for the hot food to make its way off the pit. They also are perfect school fundraisers and corporate giveaways.
- Texas Gift Baskets Nothing says you care like a thoughtfully chosen gift basket. And a Texas gift basket says it bigger and better than any other (after all, everything’s bigger in Texas). Offered in a wide range of prices, and packaged with an equally wide range of Texas-made products, these baskets make the ideal care package for your college-bound kid, your football fanatic husband, or your grilling enthusiast neighbor. Take it as a gift for the host at this year’s Fourth of July party. You’re guaranteed to be invited back next year.