North Dakota-made products sought after for Christmas gifts
Linda Johnson, owner of Home Sweet Home, says many of her customers are buying made in North Dakota products to give to family and friends out of state but also to those who are living in the state.
“A lot of the local people are thinking ‘I’m sending it to my children out of state but now my children in state are wanting it too,'” she said.
Johnson’s business on Fourth Avenue NW in Minot has products from Pride of Dakota members as well as other North Dakota products made by people who are not members of the state group. The state organization is part of the North Dakota Department of Agriculture.
Since its creation in 1985 with about 20 companies, the Pride of Dakota program has grown to more than 500 members.
“The vendors keep coming up with new things like Wagner’s Wagon out of Mercer are now producing Bloody Mary mix, a pasta sauce ready to go and a chili sauce,” said Johnson, pointing out some of the Pride of Dakota or North Dakota made food products at Home Sweet Home, located in a Victorian house built in 1899.
“What’s really, really, really a hot seller is this Jack Sauce out of Jack’s Steakhouse out of Bismarck,” Johnson said, referring to the bottled product.
The room of products is filled with salsas, pickles, soups, dips, jams, popcorn, coffee and much more.
Becky Walcker of Minot, a new Pride of Dakota member, has “a great taco sauce and a full line of great jelly and jams,” Johnson said, showing neatly stacked jellies and jams sitting in a shelf.
She said the number of years Pride of Dakota members have been in business can range anywhere from a year to 25 or so years. For example, the famous Mikey’s Country Candy in Burlington has been in business for a number of years.
“It’s just from all over,” said Johnson, indicating products from Pride Dairy in Bottineau, about 80 miles northeast of Minot, to unique jellies and jams from Mares Creations in Mott, about 192 miles southwest of Minot.
“We invented this whole Bakken-theme when the oil boom was going on,” said Johnson, referring to the specialty coffee roast and other Bakken-themed food items. Mojo Roast at Westhope created “Bakken Sunrise,” the specialty coffee roast, which is a big seller, according to Johnson.
Above the Bakken Sunrise display is a photograph of a sunflower done by David Paukert, a Pride of Dakota member who is a photographer from Michigan, N.D.
Gourmet Chef in downtown Minot also sells Pride of Dakota. The two businesses refer customers to each other if one business might be out of a particular product, Johnson said.
In another room are displays of North Dakota-made pottery, coal sculptures, N.D. books and calendars, and other items.
Minot State University Beavers and North Dakota State University Bison and other sports teams coasters are among items on the shelves.
Sculptures of bison, horses and other items made of coal from Coal Craft Products in Beulah are very popular, Johnson said.
Also an online store, many of the North Dakota-made products at Home Sweet Home are packed in gift boxes or baskets, with many of them shipped to various destinations.
Home Sweet Home just released a cookbook called “Home Sweet Home Historical Cookbook.”
Johnson said the Home Sweet Home cookbook includes “the history of Home Sweet Home and recipes from customers, friends and relatives.”