Goods & Services - Staff Picks
Published: July 18, 2012
Best stuffed animals
Walnut Animal Society
Local artisan Lauren Alane Bradshaw, previously known to Etsyers for her needle-felted birds and custom wedding-cake toppers, has bested previous adorable efforts with her Walnut Animal Society collection. Each Wes Anderson-esque fox, bunny, bear or what-have-you is filled with sustainably gleaned kapok, exquisitely stitched and hand-finished, and costumed in removable clothing. The pristine members of Bradshaw's Society are more keepsake material than kid stuff, but they're nearly irresistible to anyone still in touch with that inner child.
Best homebrew supply
6190 Edgewater Drive
Heart's Homebrew, a nondescript shop in a strip mall on Edgewater Drive in College Park, is our go-to place when we get the yen for making our own beer and wine. The store has a wide range of homebrewing kits and booze-making equipment that'll suit the novice and advanced homebrewer alike.
Best expansion of the local food movement
Homegrown Food Co-op Farm Store
2310 N. Orange Ave.
Since Homegrown has opened its storefront on Orange Avenue, it's only gotten better – more local produce, more local meats and dairy products, a wider selection of prepared treats like popsicles and heavenly homemade flans. But even better: The store is now open seven days a week from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., which means it's super-easy to put your money where it belongs – in the hands of local farmers and producers in our community who grow and raise the food you put on your table.
Best vegan meth
Free ice chips at Artichoke Red
1813 N. Orange Ave., 407-898-3353, artichokered.com
The candy "ice chips" given away free with purchase at Ivanhoe Village vegan supply depot Artichoke Red are homemade, tasty and, well, vegan – all traits that ought to make them unimpeachably wholesome. But the little plastic baggie filled with translucent whitish chips does bear an unfortunate resemblance to Nazi cold. Sweet and habit-forming, though perhaps (thankfully) not as addictive as the street variety.
Best local Zucks
189 S. Orange Ave., Suite 1530-B
Young entrepreneur Neil Dufva and his small team of tech-y imaginers at Crunchy Logistics have a thing for interactive screens – big ones. Investing millions into R&D paid off for the Orlando-based pioneers when they unveiled – via viral video, naturally – what they call the "Padzilla," a 70-inch, fully functional iPad that can double as a conference room tabletop, a check-in tool at a luxury hotel or, as currently on display at various Hard Rock Hotel and Casinos, a multimedia tour guide. Next up for the Padzilla: Xbox 360 Kinect integration, retinal technology and, well, a really big carrying case.