Last month, I wandered into the Pride of Dakotashowcase at the Civic Center in Fargo. I had just finished a yoga class and thought I’d breeze through the showcase, not really knowing what to expect.

The Civic Center was filled with vendors selling North Dakotan-made products and services. I was especially pleased that such a large percentage involved food. The rooms were packed with attendees and I quickly gave up my plan to rush through the event. Instead, I resigned myself to joining the thick crowds of people, packed shoulder to shoulder.

The lines were especially busy around the food and beverage vendors but I found that the tastes were worth the wait. Lots of practice in patience.

By the end of my visit, I took home a few items.

Not only was I compelled to buy these items upon first taste, but the vendors were especially gracious. They did not hesitate to offer me samples or tell me more about their products. My appearance makes me look deceptively young and I suspect that this may lead vendors in convention settings not take me too seriously. At one stand, I felt blatantly ignored while the vendor offered samples of delicious looking pot roast to everyone else around me. Needless to say, I didn’t stick around to try it.

The spicy variety of Hunter’s Choice marinade is indeed spicy. Its flavor is Asian-inspired and intense. Sure, I can make my own marinade, but also have no problem stocking high quality versions for days when I could use a boost. The ingredient list didn’t appear to contain artificial ingredients or food additives.

Dot’s Pretzels are addicting. This may have something to do with the fact that MSG is listed  in the middle of the ingredient list. Regardless, I like to grab a handful for a snack after a long day of school and work. Buttery and salty, just to the point of being too salty.

I also picked up a jar of Wild MoonCorn Salsa. The ladies running this stand not only offered samples of their salsa with chips, but incorporated it into dishes they also sampled. This salsa was suggested to me when I asked about their most spicy offering. I can handle a lot more heat but this corn salsa has enough of a kick to hold my interest. The corn kernels provide sweetness that contrast to the tangy and cumin-scented sauce.

Dr. Bop’s Flaxseed Crackers also made an appearance at the showcase. Jake and I have enjoyed these crackers at the Green Market where they adorn the restaurant’s pristine cheese plates. You can buy them at the Green Market. I also picked up a bag at Zandbroz in Downtown Fargo for $5. I like them so much that I suggested them in Simple, Good, and Tasty’s 2012 Local Gift Guide.

I love gifts that I can eat! Do you have any favorite locally-made treats?