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Artisan Food Tour Connects Community

Artisan food tour group trying samples at long table

November 2016 has been a big month and it’s not over yet! I turned 46, and we had a presidential election. I hosted the Artisan Food and Craft Beverage Holiday Tour (hereby known as the Artisan Tour), and Thanksgiving is around the corner. I had a great birthday, and I am looking forward to Thanksgiving. But so far my favorite thing about this November has been the Artisan Tour.

It was a great event! Producers from Common Wealth Development’s Madison Enterprise Center offered facility tours and samples along with other local producers. We visited Potter’s Crackers and Mad Urban Bees production facilities. We enjoyed samples from those producers as well as Dashelito’s, Yumbutter, Next Door Brewing, Roth Cheese, Gail Ambrosius Chocolatier, Gretchen Olson Arts, and Campo di Bella.

Then we headed to Main Street Industries which houses Quince & Apple, Underground Meat and Old Sugar Distillery (among others). After touring Quince & Apple, we headed into Old Sugar Distillery for a party. There was food from Bunky’s, Willy Street co-op, and Underground Catering. We enjoyed samples and met producers from NessAlla Kombucha, RP’s Pasta, Quince & Apple, Wm. Chocolates, Landmark Creamery, Madison Sourdough and Calliope Ice Cream. Goodman Center TEENworks and Just Bakery brought baked goods and opportunities to learn more about their vocational training programs. No Name String Band provided the tunes and Old Sugar provided cocktails.

But it was about so much more than food. Uh, oh, I think it’s gonna get a little mushy here. At one point I took a breath and looked around. Behind the products are people from so many different backgrounds who all had a vision and a passion. To make a quality product. To boost our local economy. To pursue a dream. To support others’ dreams. To bring people together. To make our community a better place. To give back.

As we go into the holiday season, I want to hold fast to that moment. To remember that each day we can do the same. We can choose to support our community and help people reach their dreams, no matter their religious beliefs, political views, skin color, or sexual orientation. Unless you don’t like beer and cheese, in which case you are on your own. (JK!!) Thank you to my community. I am grateful for YOU (and cheese)! Happy Thanksgiving!