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A green St. Valentine's Day

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Valentine's Day is almost here and you'd like to buy something green for your significant other. Unfortunately, organic flowers don't seem to exist and organic chocolate, when it's available, seems to come only in the form of a generic candy bar. So where does one go for Valentine's Day treats that are both environmentally responsible and seasonal?

Try Whole Foods, the world's largest retailer of natural and organic foods. Founded in Austin, Texas in 1980, it now has stores in Mount Washington and Harbor East, plus six other locations in Maryland. (The store's website includes a "store locator" that enables clients to find the Whole Foods nearest them.) Whole Foods offers a selection of organic flowers, candy (complete with seasonal, heart-shaped boxes), and cookies. Whole Foods also labels those products that were produced locally. The organic chocolate, unfortunately, is more expensive than conventional chocolate, while the flowers seem to be a mixed bag. For more information, visit www.wholefoodsmarket.com. To contact the Mt. Washington store, call (410) 532-6700. To contact the Harbor East store, call (410) 528-1640.

Glarus Chocolatier has a store in Timonium. They also sell their products at Fairgrounds Discount Beverages (www.fairgroundsliquors.com) in Timonium and The Wine Source in Baltimore. (www.the-wine-source.com) They use all natural ingredients and make their candies by hand, following the traditions of Swiss chocolate-makers. For more information, visit www.glaruschocolatier.com or call (410) 252-6601.

A. Kirchmayr Chocolatier is also in Timonium. The founder, Albert Kirchmayr, grew up in Bavaria and thus follows European candy-making traditions. His establishment has been in business since 1985. To learn more, call (410) 561-7705 or e-mail akchocolates@verizon.net.

Another possibility, particularly for those who prefer pastries over candy, is Sweet 27 in Baltimore, which sells baked goods that are both gluten-free and made from all natural ingredients. Their specialty is cupcakes, but also make other types of desserts, including cakes, tarts, and cookies. For more information, visit http://sweet27.com or call (410) 464-7211.

What if your significant other dislikes sweets? They might prefer organic wine, which is made from organic grapes and has few to no sulfite preservatives. Deep Creek Cellars in Friendsville offers a variety of wines. They pride themselves on their low-tech methods and environmental stewardship. To learn more, visit www.deepcreekcellars.com or call (301) 746-4349.

Park Florist, which is located in Takoma Park, is one of the oldest florists in the Washington, D.C. area and has been around since 1935. Most of their flowers come from local farms, and many are Veriflora certified. (Veriflora is a sustainability certification program for fresh cut flowers and potted plants.) www.veriflora.com To learn more, visit www.parkflorist.us or call (301) 270-1848 or (800) 272-8949.

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