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Locally-Made Ramps Up

Posted on by Sarah Ficenec, Ph.D.

I’m relatively new to Connecticut, as I’ve discussed in previous blog posts, and I’m having fun exploring my new state.

One of the trends I’m noticing is a greater attention to Connecticut-made goods. Attention to domestic production is not a new thing (remember the “Made in the USA” symbol that became popular in the 1990s?), but it has taken on a more local aspect with initiatives such as Connecticut Made. This new effort identifies goods that our fellow state residents have contributed to producing. While this program just started (and is based on similar programs in other states and major cities), there are a lot of Connecticut-made goods already available for those interested in exploring the state.

For example, the Connecticut Chocolate Trail has stops across the state for a sweet-tooth (like me) to experience Connecticut-made candies. Adults can follow it up with stops on the Connecticut Beer Trail, a Connecticut Wine Trail, or the Connecticut Spirits Trail, where you can sample responsibly the various beers, wines, and spirits produced across our state.

I’ve enjoyed the Made in Connecticut expo in the past, learning about the jewelry, candies (I told you I like chocolate), and even hot sauces made here, but visit any of the farmers markets around the state and you can talk to Connecticut entrepreneurs bringing their products to their community. Speaking of farmers markets, they’re also an excellent way to support our local agricultural industry, and joining a CSA is a way to experience fresh, CT-grown fruits and veggies every week during the summer or fall. You’re also helping support the farmers by providing a reliable income stream, which can help them grow or experiment with new products or methods.

While some of these businesses may be quite large (like some of our chocolate companies that have been operating om the state for over 100 years), others are small, maybe functioning only as a side gig and labor of love for the entrepreneur. While no formal impact analyses have been done in Connecticut that I know of, locally-made goods benefit us in many ways: through the jobs create and the skills they teach, by bringing revenues into the state as the products are sold to those outside Connecticut and as tourists to stay a little longer and spend a little more here, and through environmental effects as the trip to market is shorter. These Connecticut-made products are helping make our state full of diverse experiences and goods that we can be proud to see grow and contribute to our economy.

Now, if you need me, I’ll be out on the Chocolate Trail!