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Urbana Ohio

by Bijan C. Bayne

No matter where you've shopped, when it comes to gourmet dips, wines, and gift baskets, few places can compare with the Robert Rothschild Farm in Urbana, Ohio. Convenient to Columbus, Cincinnati, and Dayton, this is a quiet drive down Highway 36 into gift heaven.

Established by Robert and Sara Rothschild back in 1977 as a 170-acre raspberry farm, today tourists may shop for preserves, pastries, or rare salsas; enjoy a light lunch; or tour the working farm facility. Why not do all three?

The first striking feature is the brightness of the shop and cafe--sun spills through generous windows and shelves display gourmet items in every rainbow shade. Relax to a meal in the cafe, and be sure to try a tropical tea.

To tour the farm, arrive before 2pm Monday through Thursday, when tours are conducted. Groups of 15 or more may schedule theirs in advance on the same days.

Rothschild is a place to visit only when you've room in your luggage and space in your car--they've got salad dressings and gift sets you never dreamed of. Don't despair if you can't take it with you; that's what the website (http://www.robertrothschild.com/) and catalogue are for. Besides, the best time to visit is during a weekend. Get a Chocolate Taste at the Patrick House B & B on 301 Scioto Street in Urbana (http://www.bbonline.com/oh/patrick/).

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