Heroku's taps gem is a great way to move your production data to/from your machine, unforuntely it takes an "all or nothing" approach. Smuggle is an attempt at object-level taps.
gem install smuggle
rails c production
Smuggle.out(@obj, "password") => http://gist.github.com/a9s00012d01j20d7as3
rails c (local)
@obj = Smuggle.in("http://gist.github.com/a9s00012d01j20d7as3", "password")
@obj should be able to call all associations BELOW the obj (this allows for scoped smuggling)
How it works
Smuggle.out(@obj, "password") calls @obj.class.reflect_on_all_associations to figure out descendent association information
Walk down all associations and marshal each object into an array
Marshal the entire array itself and encrypt with AES256 using "password"
Post encrypted string to a private gist, and return the url
Smuggle.in("http://gist.github.com/1298da0983as3", "password") gets the encrypted string from github
Decrypt ciphertext with "password"
Unmarshal the array
Walk through the array and create the rows contained and return the parent object