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Whether you have already started a countdown to Christmas or waited for November to begin Thanksgiving preparations, the holiday season will be upon us before we know it. Growing up in a large family, our gatherings require a lot of planning. We have to find a house big enough to accommodate grandpa, aunts, uncles, and the growing number of cousins. Then there is the challenging task of deciding which dish to bring.

Tables are often laden with turkey, ham, potatoes, casseroles, cheese trays, dips and desserts. We make several trips through the food line not caring about calories because “it’s the holidays.” While each item is cooked with care, the special touch is using Wisconsin products.

Wisconsin potatoes are a classic for any holiday dish. Potatoes are not only full of flavor but also packed with nutrients like potassium and vitamin C. There are almost endless options for preparing the starchy spuds that include mashed, grilled, roasted, baked, boiled or steamed. Wisconsin farmers make it easy to enjoy our state’s potatoes year-round. Potatoes are grown on nearly 68,000 acres in Wisconsin, and our state ranks third in the nation for potato production.  

As a millennial who is still testing her cooking abilities, I seek simple recipes. To top off the full Wisconsin potato experience, CJ’s Premium Spices offers a consistently delicious and easy-to-make potato salad mix. The Oconomowoc company’s vision is to craft healthy, unique dishes without adding any preservatives so the taste of their spice blends come through every time. The hand-blended flavors don’t stop with potatoes. CJ’s Premium Spices can make appealing appetizers with dill and onion dip mixes.

CJ’s Premium Spices is one of the hundreds of Something Special from WisconsinTM companies. The program requires at least half of the ingredients, production, or processing come from Wisconsin. You can often find products by searching for the red Something Special from Wisconsin logo with yellow letters while shopping.

Another unique way to add flavor flair is with Savory Seeds from Porubcans LLC. Porubcans develops fun alternatives to top holiday dishes. Their Parmesan Italian seeds are a unique blend of toasted parmesan cheese, sesame and sunflower seeds with Italian herbs. This Something Special from Wisconsin ingredient can replace croutons on salads or be added to cottage cheese, chicken salad, roasted vegetables, green bean casserole and more.

Regardless of your family size, purchasing Wisconsin products can have a huge impact on local farmers, processors, communities and economies. Wisconsin is a wonderland of quality food and fun with a unique twist. Anyone looking for local inspiration can find businesses online at somethingspecialwi.com. Let your countdown to the holidays begin with Something Special from Wisconsin!

Kaitlyn Riley is the 71st Alice in Dairyland

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