I look forward to the end of March each year when many Montana entrepreneurs head to Great Falls for the Made In Montana Marketplace.
First of all, I am so impressed with the talent living in Montana!
I saw everything from food – teas, jerky, cereal, spices, gluten free products…to CDs from local musicians, everything from cowboy yodeling to classical and blues. And, the list goes on.
I stopped first at the Cream of the West booth – one of my favorite hot cereal products that is made in Harlowton, Montana.
Montana is well known for growing top-notch small grains and it’s great to see it being marketed. Cream of the West has several different varieties of hot cereal products and they also produce Montana Crunch which is yummy stirred in to yogurt.
I’m not a person who seems to come up with many original ideas but as I walked down the aisles I marvelled at the unique items being made in Montana.
My next stop was at Sweetgrass Music where Philip Aaberg’s CDs are recorded and produced. The location of Sweetgrass Music – Chester, Montana on US Hwy 2, a location we locals refer to as Montana’s Hi-Line. The name of the recording studio is “The Bin”, a nod to the area’s massive wheat production.
Most folks think of Philip Aaberg for his beautiful classical music but, I’m also a fan of his blues CD.
Phil recently recorded the blues CD “Movin’ At Midnight” (that is playing in my background as I type this blog!) with the original group he played with many years ago (Perry & The Pumpers).
You’ll hear a variety of instruments on Movin’ At Midnight, obviously guitar, but then a blend of harmonica, organ and accordion. Amazing!
I took a photo of Phil’s wife Patty getting her internet access ready to do business with the buyers attending the show. Enlarged photos of Phil’s CDs are displayed in the background.
Another favorite stop of mine was at Tumblewood Teas. They sell loose tea and, of course, I have my favorite herbal tea blend from them (Montana Almond Joy, yum).
Made in Montana Marketplace is multi-faceted.
Day one of the Marketplace is open to buyers only so the vendors can have one-on-one conversations about marketing their product in wholesale fashion. Organizers of Made In Montana Marketplace also schedule some education events for the vendors in the evening. Day two is open to the public and shoppers can purchase directly from the vendors.
It was an inspiring day seeing all of our creative Montana businesses. My only regret was…I didn’t have time to visit all of the vendors.