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Serving: WI
Marieke Penterman flanked on two sides by shelves of yellow cheese wheels Abigail Martin
SOMETHING SPECIAL: The Something Special From Wisconsin program highlights products grown or produced in the state, such as cheesemaker Marieke Penterman’s Marieke Gouda.

’Tis the shipping season

Alice in Dairyland: Make shopping for holiday gifts a breeze when you ship local products.

It’s the most magical time of the year, and often the busiest! Schedules fill up with holiday work parties, Christmas cookie exchanges and local town musicals. Gatherings with family and friends from near and far may leave little time to pick up a gift for everyone on your list. When time is limited, we look for gifts we can order online. Thankfully, there are many great locally produced products handcrafted in Wisconsin that ship directly to our homes.

This season, choose “something special from Wisconsin” to ship home for the holidays. Trademarked by the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection in 1983, the Something Special From Wisconsin program helps local farmers and processors market their products and services.

The program requires that at least half of the ingredients, production or processing come from right here in our state. Many of the participating companies offer online ordering to help make your gift-giving season a breeze.

Gifts from Cream City Caramels & Confections are perfect for friends and family with a sweet tooth. The caramels are produced in small batches using plenty of local Wisconsin dairy products. Both sweet and salty, the caramels are available in a variety of flavors; and with a soft and creamy texture, they are sure to melt in your mouth.

Look for unique varieties flavored with Berres Brothers Highlander Grogg coffee or Oasis Bee Co. honey. Select a few bags of different varieties, or order a holiday box of salted vanilla caramels at creamcitycaramels.com.

Treat your friends and family to U.S. and World Championship award-winning cheese this holiday season. Each batch of Marieke Gouda cheeses are handcrafted with pride and passion. Cheesemaker Marieke Penterman uses an old-world recipe from her homeland, the Netherlands, to transform the fresh, raw milk from her family farm into creamy, rich Marieke Gouda.

Gouda is available in 13 flavors, some of which rotate in and out seasonally. Select Gouda Young for a buttery, mild flavor, or choose Burning Me’Lange for herbaceous notes of garlic and parsley. Order Marieke Gouda at mariekegouda.com.

Support one of Wisconsin’s many beekeepers with a gift from Dancing Bear Apiary Honey. Beekeeper Kent Pegorsch began caring for bees and collecting honey in 1976. Since then, the apiary has been harvesting and bottling raw honey. At Dancing Bear Apiary, they handle their honey from the hive to the bottle, keeping a rich, fulfilling taste with all the nutritious benefits.

Their hives are located in woodland areas, so the bees collect nectar from naturally growing wildflowers. This gives the honey a unique taste, sure to impress any gift recipient. Find the perfect jar at dancingbearhoney.com.

Another great option for the cheese-lover on your list is a gourmet cold-pack cheese spread from Pine River Pre-Pack. Every time I bring these cheese spreads to a party, they are an instant hit. My favorite is the garlic and herb variety, but there are so many great flavors to choose from.

Sample their Port Wine for the perfect balance of creamy Wisconsin aged cheddar and sweet, fruity port wine, or their Swiss & Almond for a taste of a gold-medal winner from the 2016 World Championship Cheese Contest. Order a few varieties for those on your list, and maybe add a few extra tubs to the order for your own fridge, at pineriver.com.

This winter make holiday shopping a breeze when you ship local, handcrafted products to your doorstep. With the simple click of a button, you can support farmers and processors in your community, and know you are gifting a high-quality, top-value product.

Martin is the 72nd Alice in Dairyland.

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