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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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