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Thursday, Dec. 8, 2011

Made in the Badger State

An online source for Wisconsin foods and gifts

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Twelve years ago, when Linda Remeschatis launched WisconsinMade.com, an online marketplace for Wisconsin foods, the site sold products from only a couple dozen artisans. It now hosts more than 2,500 products from more than 250 suppliers.

“I'm constantly amazed by how many different food manufacturers there are in this state,” Remeschatis says. “It seems that every time I turn around there's a new baker or cheese maker contacting us. It's really been amazing. Over the years we expanded the site to include other state-made products beyond food, too, since there were so many woodworkers and pottery makers who were also creating really great, high-quality products. We saw the site as a way to open up new markets both state- and nation-wide for all these local goods.”

Cheese, sausage, pure maple syrup, sweetened cranberries, Danish kringles and Babcock Hall ice cream are among the site's most popular items. WisconsinMade.com also sells a wide variety of chocolate, popcorn and desserts, as well as more unique products like bison and elk jerky and jars of red-hot pickled Polish sausages.

“Pickled pork hocks and turkey gizzards are really popular, too,” Remeschatis says. “That always amazes me.”

The site offers a wealth of holiday gift options, including cookie boxes, dessert samplers and seasonal gift baskets. A Nueske's breakfast basket, with Applewood-smoked bacon, Canadian bacon slices, pancake mix and maple syrup, is a particularly hot seller. There are also gift-of-the-month clubs for cheese, kringle, pie, chocolate and coffee.

“Over the last few years, we've definitely seen a lot more people interested in buying local gifts,” Remeschatis says. “It really makes sense, when you think about it: The more you support local Wisconsin artisans, the more sales they have and the more people they can employ, which puts more money into the state economy. It just keeps building on itself, so there are a lot of reasons to buy local.”
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