Travelers follow Jo Daviess County's sprawling fields and undulating hills toward Massbach Ridge Winery’s 18+ acre estate. Founded by the Harmston family in 2003, the winery’s proprietors select grapes grown in Jo Daviess County to concoct their batches of reds and whites. Members of the winery family escort guests on impromptu tours before rendezvousing in the tasting room or on the patio for samplings. The outdoor patio grants a heightened view of the vineyards below, which visitors can wander through on quests for vine-ripe copies of The Grapes of Wrath. In addition to its frequent tastings and tour sessions, Massbach Ridge Winery hosts a number of wine-related events each year.
A sustainable and community-supported farm collective, First Hand Harvest packs up bushels of broccoli, bok choi, and other organic earth candies for herbivores seeking a locally grown alternative to the supermarket shelf. Three individual family farms combine their crops to deliver a large variety of vegetable options, so customers can expect a soil-grown surplus of greens, reds, and yellows in each weekly half-bushel box. As vegetable assortments are local and seasonal, customers can embrace the thrilling uncertainty of not knowing whether their box will contain arugula, brussels sprouts, or animatronic cucumbers. Most boxes will also contain a healthy cooking green, such as swiss chard or kale, along with recipes and suggestions for culinary pairings.
Cultivating fair-trade artisanal relationships, Phoenix Traders imports clothing and accessories from around the world, including a cornucopian clothing selection ($15+ each) that lets wardrobe-enhancers step back into the pullover ponchos and synesthetic color swirls of the '60s and '70s. Warm up with handmade wool wear from South America or Nepal, or safely carry around an edition of How to Become President of the Moon in a retro purse ($15+). Customers can brighten the area around wrists and necks with fair-trade Nepali silver jewelry ($15+) or boost their carrying capabilities with a recycled silk bag.
Melanie Aitken handcrafts small batches of truffles, brittle, and other dainties with expertise honed over 30 years as an acclaimed confectioner for parties and weddings. Clusters of cashews and caramel emulate turtles as they are dipped by hand into white- and milk-chocolate shells, and fragrant almonds flavor traditional dutch bonquet pastries, re-created based on a recipe from Melanie's grandmother. Lava-salted caramel strains to encase magmatic caramel drops within a sill of milk or white chocolate, and a sprinkling of black-lava salt hints at the eruption of flavor contained within. Melanie’s Country Confections delivers locally, and an online storefront facilitates orders throughout the country.
Bath and Body Fusion's owner, Jen Lancaster, thinks everyone should be able to enjoy spa-caliber pampering in the comfort of their own homes. That's why she crafts therapeutic, natural ingredients into bath-and-body products that turn regular bathing sessions into a sensory experience. Dead Sea–salt scrubs, bath bombs, and freshly made face masks are a few specialties. Customers can customize products with blends of scents such as Egyptian sandalwood, peach blossom, or an assortment of designer fragrances.