You have likely noticed stores around the state selling products with a blue, white, and yellow “Pride of Dakota, North Dakota Originals” sticker on them. You may not have given the sticker much thought, but it is very important to the state’s small businesses and independent entrepreneurs. That little label proves its product has the remarkable distinction of having been made in North Dakota. There is no better way to support North Dakota folks than by buying Pride of Dakota products.In 1985, then Commissioner of Agriculture H. Kent Jones created Pride of Dakota to create an identifiable state brand that would designate products as made in North Dakota. The program started out with twenty member companies; there are currently over 550. Members include food and beverage producers, authors and publishers, manufacturers, artisans, service providers, makers of personal care products, and associate/non-profit members. The requirement for membership is that products need to be created, produced, manufactured, and/or processed within the state of North Dakota.
The North Dakota Department of Agriculture, under the direction of Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring, oversees the Pride of Dakota program. “As Commissioner of Agriculture, I and the staff of our marketing and information division work directly with local entrepreneurs to assist them in developing and growing their businesses,” Goehring explained. “We do so by providing marketing opportunities and business development resources.”
Pride of Dakota is unique in that it supports all types of North Dakota businesses, not just one industry. “Our members vary greatly in size, structure, and the products they manufacture,” Goehring said. “Currently, there are more than 40 companies who have been members for 20 years or longer.”
Several events are planned each year to showcase Pride of Dakota products and companies and give shoppers a chance to purchase unique and handmade items. Take for instance M & S Enterprises from Minot, which is Pride of Dakota’s longest-standing member. The company harvests driftwood, birches, old barn wood, and fence posts to make decorative snowmen, Santas, mirrors, photo frames, and more.
Other popular companies include Perfectly Nuts, which sells cinnamon roasted almonds, sunflower seeds, pecans, and cashews; DeMars Foods, specializing in marinades, Irish mustard, and dry rubs; Apple A Day, which offers upcycled wool, fleece, and Nordic mittens; Memories of Home by Becky, producer of baked goods that are all “made with love just like mom and grandma did;” and Owl Always Love You, which sells handmade owl-themed items and décor. Check out the Pride of Dakota’s website for information on more amazing companies.
The Pride of Dakota’s holiday showcases are some of the biggest events of the year. Thousands of people fill the venues in search of unique holiday gifts, food and drink, and décor. If you have never been to a holiday showcase, mark your calendar accordingly. You will be very happy you did.
Upcoming Events and Holiday Showcases:
Jamestown Harvest Showcase October 21-22
Grand Forks Holiday Showcase November 4-5
Minot Holiday Showcase November 11-12
Fargo Holiday Showcase November 17-19
Bismarck Holiday Showcase December 1-3
More information about upcoming events and featured companies can be found at prideofdakota.nd.gov.
By Jamee Larson