During the holiday giving season, buying Wisconsin benefits Wisconsin

Christine Lindner
63rd Alice in Dairyland

With the holiday season in full swing, don’t forget to look for and choose original gifts and unique treasures that are Something Special from Wisconsin.

When seeking the perfect gifts for those on your list, look for products that carry the red logo that tells you it is Something Special from Wisconsin. This logo guarantees that half of a product’s ingredients, production, or processing activities are from Wisconsin.

Buying locally produced Wisconsin products is an investment in our state’s continued strong future. When shopping this holiday season and every day, I encourage you to support the Wisconsin way of life by purchasing items that carry that red logo.

Something Special from Wisconsin is a marketing program of the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection agency involving more than 300 companies and goods from dairy to meats, jams to sauces and soaps to retail outlets that have carried the label since its inception in 1983.

This holiday season, take action with your dollar in supporting Wisconsin’s artisans and family-owned businesses by buying their high-quality locally grown and originally produced products. When you buy Something Special from Wisconsin you positively impact the quality of life we enjoy because you support Wisconsin agriculture, local producers, communities and economies.

Wisconsin wines and cheese-and-sausage gift boxes are great ideas for friends and family, adding that perfect touch to everyday living.

This season treat your skin to soaps from Opie’s Goats of Janesville. This variety of soaps is made from their goats’ milk, using all organic ingredients. This super moisturizing soap will leave your skin soft and smooth.

For another unique gift idea, look to The Pen Men of Milwaukee. Creators of custom-made wood writing pens, they handcraft them from locally grown timber. These wooden pens and pencils are unique, and make beautiful gifts that have an essential connection to nature itself.

For the cheese lover on your list, Jim's Cheese Pantry, Inc. of Waterloo has been shipping cheese all over the United States for many years. These exclusively Wisconsin cheeses – with more than 200 types and 250 cutouts to choose from – proclaim Jim’s Cheese Pantry as “The Cheese Cut Out Capital of the World”! The cutout shapes can be anything from Bucky Badger to a cow.

Celebrate 100 years as “America’s Dairyland” with the 2011 portrait of a Wisconsin Artisan Cheesemaker wall calendar and companion note cards featuring 12 original cheesemakers from Wisconsin Cheese Originals of Oregon.

For someone who likes food hot and spicy, look for the gift of Stump’s of Wausau with a line of hot olives, pickles, peppers and Bloody Mary mixes. Even jams can be spicy if you select them from Hixton Blue Collar Café. Their jams – like strawbañero – are made with home grown habañero peppers.

Wine makes a great host gift. Cedar Creek Winery has two special holiday wines – Christmas Blush, a semi-dry pink blush wine, and White Christmas, a vibrant semi-dry white wine. Wollersheim Winery has a great line of red and white wines, including the truly special Ice Wine.

The season of giving rings true with TerraSource Chocolates of Madison and its offer of “Share Square Chocolates.” The theme: “Eat one, Share one, Donate one” indicates that $1 of every package sold gets directed toward the purchase of solar ovens.

If you need a last-minute gift idea, a great addition to the festivities is fudge is from Wisconsin Dairyland Fudge of Wisconsin Dells.

For new additions to the family, The Baby Foodies of Madison offers spice blends made for babies to help youngsters become adventurous everyday eaters.

Even your decorations can be locally grown and made. Make selecting your tree a family tradition with Wisconsin Christmas Tree Growers by buying a locally grown tree this season. Or you can support your local economy by decorating with a real wreath and bough.

During holiday shopping, treat yourself while exploring the country side and experience the freshest premium Wisconsin cheeses made in Bella Curella's historic cheese factory of Comstock. The store’s more than 500 items include Wisconsin wines and groceries that are all made with natural, quality ingredients. You can also take in their Italian deli which boasts delicious signature sandwiches, salads, Italian meats and Wisconsin sausage.

Supporting the Wisconsin way of life is only one of the many benefits consumers will gain by giving “Something Special.” The best part of a Wisconsin shopping experience is the ease with which these products can be found. The majority of Something Special from Wisconsin member companies own websites and can ship directly to your door. Gift-seekers can visit www.savor wisconsin.com for a complete list of Something Special from Wisconsin companies and their contact information.

Alice in Dairyland Christine Lepple Lindner is Wisconsin’s agriculture ambassador. She travels over 40,000 miles each year to spread the word about our agriculture industry. Alice in Dairyland can be reached by writing to Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCPDairyland Program at 608.224.5080 or by e-mail at DATCPAlice@wisconsin.gov.

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