If you don’t have a local handmade soap vendor at your farmers’ market, or even if you do, you can't go wrong giving Healdsburg Soap Company's vegetable-based squares, and keeping at least one to get you through the holidays. The artisanal soaps, made in the food and wine country of Sonoma, California, are $6.50 each, and produce a lovely soft cleansing lather. Lavender soap is flecked with bits of flower hulls; there's also pear/oatmeal, Sonoma rose, sauvignon blanc, and more. Unlike many vegetable soaps, these solid squares didn’t melt away but held their shape till the end (on a soap saver, of course).
Healdsburg also makes a liquid castile soap in lemon, rosemary or natural, $14, and shea butter lotion in many scents--in the spirit of the season, we’ll take the fig, please, $18.