Getting into the holiday spirit

Giving while shopping at Pyramid Farms and Dollar Tree; local cider, olive oil are food-contest finalists; and The Buzz opens

Like it or not, Christmas is here. Might as well get over the old whine about why the shelves are filled with wreaths and doggy Christmas sweaters before Thanksgiving. Just give up, throw in the towel, and accept the damn cheer, OK?

Now that we’re straight on that, let’s celebrate Thanksgiving, why don’t we? Those who frequent the farmers’ markets are likely familiar with Pyramid Farms, which specializes in local, fresh, organic produce. Every year around Thanksgiving, owner Matthew Martin designates a Saturday during which he’ll donate 100 percent of sales to Heifer International. His philosophy: While purchasing food for your own dinner table this Thanksgiving, you can also help a farmer in a developing nation feed his or her family. Heifer International provides cows (and other livestock) and training to poverty-stricken villages in order to teach entrepreneurship while providing a sustainable food and income source. Good deal!

More holiday spirit I was in the Dollar Tree recently and, upon checkout, was asked if I’d like to donate a buck to Operation Homefront. Ever curious, I asked about the charity. Operation Homefront provides financial help as well as food and other assistance for American military families. Not only can you donate cash at checkout, there are also collection bins inside Dollar Tree stores for toys that will be delivered to local children this Christmas. What’s more, Operation Homefront has received stellar ratings from for truly giving back, with 92.3 percent of expenditures going to programs and services. The drive ends Dec. 7.

Santa is coming to town Have you completed your wish list yet? If so, head on over to the Chico Mall starting Nov. 17 and whisper it into Santa’s ear.

An apple a day … Congratulations are in order for Ben Nielsen, owner of Lassen Traditional Cidery in Chico, as his Newtown Pippin cider made it to the finalist round in the Good Food Foundation’s Good Food Awards. The winners will be chosen ahead of the awards ceremony in San Francisco in January. I have tasted Nielsen’s creations and they really are good. See for yourself on Saturdays, noon-5, in the tasting room at 26 Bellarmine Court.

I perused the list of other finalists for the awards, which recognize food and drink makers who master both the art of craftsmanship and sustainability. One other local company is in the running: Berkeley Olive Grove 1913, for its California Mission Blood Orange olive oil. Sounds delicious! The company’s website describes it this way: “Enlivening, some will be tempted to breathe it in or bathe in it.” Go to for more info.

Open for biz If you haven’t heard, Breakfast Buzz closed down a couple months ago and was bought by Isaac and Krystin Anderson (of Ike’s Smoke House, which parks around the corner in front of Ray’s Liquor). They relaunched the restaurant a few weeks ago as The Buzz, with a new staff and new breakfast and lunch menu featuring Ike’s smoked meats. I’m a little biased, as my boyfriend, Chuck Lockhart, is the head chef—so I’ll let you come to your own conclusions. Beer and wine (meaning mimosas!) started up last weekend, so go ahead and get your buzz on at 208 Cedar St.