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Tracy Briggs, Published November 15 2012

Great Indoors: Homegrown gifts for Christmas

It’s estimated the average American will spend about $700 this year on Christmas. Wouldn’t it be nice to know some of that money is going right back into your local or state economy?

That’s certainly a big selling point for buying Pride of Dakota products to put under your tree. But that’s not the biggest selling point. I’ll get to that in a minute.

The Pride of Dakota program was started in 1985 by the North Dakota Department of Agriculture. Twenty businesses signed on to help market their North Dakota-made products. Today, more than 475 companies, both large and small, are members of Pride of Dakota. They are food manufacturers, artists, publishers and more.

Nancy Frid and Deb Wallis know all about Pride of Dakota. Their store, Vintage Point, in Fargo was named Pride of Dakota Retailer of the Year for their efforts in promoting and selling homegrown fare. Frid estimates that they sell about 50 different Pride of Dakota products.

We decided to visit Frid and Wallis at the store to find out about some of their favorites. It wasn’t easy. But we narrowed it down to just food products.

I was a trouper and volunteered to sample a few things. What I won’t give for a good story, huh? So I dug in, trying the salsa and salted nut rolls, the chocolate and the chips. And what we came up with is a list of just some of our favorites. So that brings me to the biggest selling points of Pride of Dakota products. They’re just really yummy.

The Great Indoors top 5 Pride of Dakota food products/brands:

1. Bonnies Country Classics out of Fargo produces five varieties of BBQ sauces and two unique salsas, including Peach Corn Salsa (Bonnie’s No. 1 selling product).

2. Mable’s Taste of Home out of West Fargo makes jams, jellies, syrups, scone and pancake mixes, instant drink mixes and more. Wallis and Frid’s favorites are the raspberry jalapeno dipping sauce or the chokecherry jellies and syrups.

3. Mikey’s Country Candy out of Burlington makes all kinds of delectable treats with chocolate and nuts. Frid says her favorite is the salted nut roll. When she puts it out for samples in the store, it doesn’t last long.

4. North Prairie Signature Gourmet Bison out of Leeds makes bison summer sausages, bison jerky, bison snack sticks, seasonings and more. Their Sweet and Hot Pepper Relish is Vintage Place’s top selling Pride of Dakota product.

5. Vintage Place’s Roasted Nuts. Frid and Wallis might be too modest to say this is one of their favorites, but it’s one of mine. The store roasts both almonds and sunflower seeds, and they’re fabulous.

They offer you a sample as soon as you walk in the store, and who are you to say “no?”

If you go

To check out more Pride of Dakota products, there are two upcoming holiday showcases:

Fargo Holiday Showcase, 4 to 9 p.m. Friday; 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday; 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday at the Fargo Civic Center.

Bismarck Holiday Showcase, Nov. 30 to Dec. 2 at the Bismarck Civic Center Exhibition Hall.

Admission is $2 (save $1 by bringing your own bag).

Children 12 and under are free.