Even though I consider myself a fairly obsessive online shopper (I check West Elm's sale pretty much every morning), there is one thing I don't typically buy online: food. Sure, I would occasionally order from Grub Hub, but that hardly counts as online shopping. However, I've started to rethink this stance as more and more chefs take their nonperishable wares to Etsy.
The Etsy Blog recently rounded up three companies that are selling edibles on the twee marketplace and interviewed their founders. First up is Laura Lee, who makes jams, preserves and jellies from her neighborhood in Cheltenham, England. "I like to use foraged hedgerow fruits and make old-fashioned traditional preserves that you just can't buy any more, like elderberry jelly," she explains. The next interviewee also focuses on creating goods you can't get at the store: infused sea salts and sugars. Nancy Yoder, founder of Saltlandia, collects seawater just down the beach from her home in Portland, Oregon, which she filters and boils to collect salt flakes that she later infuses with herbs, chili and other flavors.
Finally, they've got Rikki Jamalia of Blue Houses, who makes absurdly spicy hot sauce using habaneros and ghost peppers under the brand name Sadistic Mistress. "My initial inspiration was to make customers sweat," she says. "People complain less when their mouth is on fire."
But these three companies are just the tip of the iceberg. A quick search on Etsy for jam returns 1,669 items. There are also numerous sellers marketing homemade jerky. You can find everything from bison jerky to vegan jerky (and of course, more flavors of beef jerky than you probably want or need). You can order mini pies in a jar or whoopee pies by the bunch. There are literarily thousands of food items for sale, and the vast majority of them are handmade.
While I'm still a little wary of buying food from Etsy, there is something quite appealing about getting these carefully crafted items straight from the source. I'm curious to find out: Have any other Food 52 users bought items from Etsy? How did it turn out?
Etsy's Artisanal Foods from The Etsy Blog
Sign up now and get $10 when we open.