ROCKPORT, Maine — The homegrown movement and the shop local philosophy will converge this weekend for what is hoped to be the first of an annual show to display Maine-made products.
“Maine Made 2012” is scheduled for 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday at the Samoset Resort in Rockport.
There will be 40 exhibitors, including food vendors, jewelry makers, and furniture makers.
One of the organizers of the event is Cathe Morrill, a member of the Maine Food Producers Alliance, and the owner and operator since 1996 of State of Maine Cheese in Rockport.
Morrill was once a senior vice president for Key Bank, and worked with companies to convince them to establish retirement investments for workers. But technology changed the need for her position and she looked for another career.
At that time, State of Maine Cheese was for sale. She decided to buy the company but noted she would not have done it if cheesemaker David Baker had not agreed to stay with the business.
State of Maine Cheese began operating in 1983 in an old metal building on the North End waterfront of Rockland, but later relocated to Route 1 in Rockport which is where it was when Morrill purchased the business. In 2000, she moved the business to its current location on Route 1 in Rockport.
Cheese is made in the back part of the store, and Maine-made products are sold in the front gift store — Rockport Marketplace.
Part of the mission of Maine Made 2012 is to encourage people to shop locally, Morrill said.
In addition, it is about promoting a self-sustainable economy.
“It’s about supporting your neighbors,” she said. “Why get something that has been shipped around the world when you can get it locally?”
For instance, the milk used at State of Maine Cheese originates from Maine farms.
The one-day Maine Made 2012 show is co-produced by the Penobscot Bay Regional Chamber of Commerce and the Maine Food Producers’ Alliance.
A three-year commitment has been made for the Maine Made event, Morrill said, but she expects it will continue beyond those initial three years.
“It didn’t take long for the 40 spaces to be filled up,” she said.
Local businesses signed up quickly and will show off their wares even though this is a busy time of the year, she said.
The exhibitors included Angelis Press, Babies Love Them, Blue Spruce Joinery, Bouchard Family Farms, Breakwater Vineyards, Cappy’s Chowder House, Common Folks Farm Herbs, Crazy Dick’s Cajun Foods, Dean’s Sweets, Dockside Quilts, Everyday Jewelry & Wearable Art, Fair Cape Wood Works, Fidelis Biscuit Company, Five Elements Gallery and Studio, Grandy Oats, GreenME, Hamilton Family Farms, Happy Maine/Skaar Design, Highland Foods, Lulu’s Garden, Maine Barn Company, Maine Magazine, Merry Moose of Maine Candles, Nance Trueworthy, Pastor Chuck Orchards, Paulus Fine Furniture, Pemberton Foods, Rock City Coffee, Safe Harbor Confections, Sea Street Graphics, Seaside Soap and Candles, Signature Sweets, Smart Alex Jams, Smith’s Logs Smokehouse/White’s Farm, State of Maine Cheese, Waldo Stone Farm, Windsor Chairs, and Winterport Winery.
Maine Made 2012 sponsors include Eaton-Peabody, Down East Magazine and Bangor Savings Bank. The State Department of Economic and Community Development also is collaborating with producers and sponsors to promote Maine’s small businesses and make the event a success, according to the Chamber.
Admission is $5 for adults and $2.50 for children under 14 and people 60 years old and older.
For more information, visit the Penobscot Bay Chamber of Commerce online at mainedreamvacation.com.