The Boomtown blog has a great post on artisan tours in Wisconsin. According to the post, in Wisconsin you can visit:
- 116 different artisan cheese producers
- 60 orchards
- 116 maple syrup boilers
- 26 small vintners
- 25 artisan brewers
It also turns out that Wisconsin produces over 95% of US ginseng root exports. No word on how much Wisconsin ginseng root stays in the US.
Artisan tours have grown in popularity across the US. Many small towns, counties and regions use them as part of their economic development programs to raise awareness of locally produced goods. They also promotes tourism. The post mentions Handmade in America, a non-profit that:
"was founded in 1993 with a belief that economic revitalization wasn't necessarily tied to luring "modern" industry to the region but in making known the hidden heritage and craftspeople that are so vitally a part of Western North Carolina."
The growth of artisan tours is part of the broader trend towards locally produced goods, which is #5 on our top 10 small business trends list for 2008.
Picture from the Seattle Times.