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The Making of the Tucson Local Basket

My wife Melanie and I are based in Tucson, Arizona. So when it came to deciding on where to base our first Local Basket, the choice was easy. We’ve lived in Tucson for three years and have loved getting to know this dirty, crazy, bold and spicy place.

Figuring out our Tucson Local Basket has been a threefold journey for us. In this journey, we’ve been figuring out our business model, the specifics of the Tucson basket, all while learning about Tucson.

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Starting out on our quest to develop the Local Basket concept, we had some notions about what would make a good locally-focused gift basket.  But the ideas were vague, and we needed to get to shopping in Tucson to really see where those ideas would take us.  We knew that our gift baskets must represent the spirit of the city.  But what specific type of items were best at representing spirit was still unclear.

Initially we imagined a combination of souvenirs, art and crafts and food items.  However, as we really began digging in, we found ourselves  gravitating to the food items.  We began to feel that the spirit of a city was best represented by its flavor.  And with that, the direction of our local baskets was made much more clear.

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With our basket agenda made clear, we could get to work on scouring Tucson for locally-produced packaged foods. We began visiting gift shops, local artisan events and farmers’ markets looking for inspiration. And it wasn’t hard to find some great products.

Between its food and art cultures, Tucson is full of all sorts of locally produced food products. From Mexican style hot chocolate to tequila sunrise inspired jam to hot sauce produced in Tucson for over 80 years, our basket began overflowing with the flavors of Tucson.

The process of sourcing our first basket brought us closer to our new city. Going to events and speaking to artisans about their food products was a wonderful experience. Finding a variety of hidden-away shops opened our eyes to new corners of Tucson that we didn’t know existed. And sampling all of the delicious food products injected the bold and spicy flavors of Tucson directly into our mouths!

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The Local Basket Roadmap

Sitting here in Tucson, Arizona, in the middle of the summer, I am wondering where the road ahead will lead. We’re in the middle of putting together our Tucson Local Basket, and it’s been a blast so far. We’ve explored all of the nooks and crannies of this place that we call home in a way that I would have never imagined.

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But the road beckons, and we will soon be venturing out to immerse ourselves in some incredible cities (it’s a tough life, but someone’s has to do it). So what cities will we be headed to? Well, we’ll be taking the path of least resistance, starting out with the places that we both already know well and are relatively close to us.

In a few weeks, Melanie and I will be headed back to our hometown Flagstaff to cool off in the mountains. While we’re there, we’ll be visiting our favorite old shops and gathering up ideas for the Flagstaff Local Basket. Representing Flagstaff will be representing all of Northern Arizona, from Sedona to the Grand Canyon, from Winslow to Williams, and out to the Navajo Reservation.  We endeavor to capture all of this wild, wonderful place in one delicious basket.

After we’ve revisited our Flagstaff roots, the next stop is Sante Fe. While we’ve both spent some time here and there in Sante Fe, exploring from the perspective of basket hunting will be unique. Or put another way, Sante Fe will be the first city that we get to know  through a curation of its flavors. As we did with Flagstaff, we’ll be looking beyond just Sante Fe for inspiration as we’ll also be looking to surrounding areas like Albuquerque and Taos for interesting product ideas.

After Sante Fe, California beckons. San Diego is the first Cali stop, and from there we’ll head to LA and then SF. We haven’t really projected too much beyond these first 6 cities. We expect, however, to continue up the Pacific into Portland and Seattle. We’ll likely be exploring Southern Utah and Salt Lake City and then getting into various parts of Colorado and Texas. And all of this is just the start!

As our momentum builds we have big plans to expand throughout the US. What city would you like to see a Local Basket for?

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The Start of Local Basket

This is the first post of the Local Basket. It’s kind of lonely here, just my wife and myself and an idea.

Our goal is to make it easy to find gifts with real local flavor from all over the US. By curating the greatest locally- produced gifts from all over the U.S., we are sure that gift giving will be a blast.

It’s time to retire the old notion of a cookie cutter gift basket and infuse it with the flavor of local!

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The Original Vision for the Local Basket Logo