Baked Beans

In my house growing up, supper most Saturdays was baked beans and red hot dogs on buttery toasted buns.  Best meal ever. b&m

B&M Baked Beans are made in Portland, Maine by the good men and women of the Bakers union (BCTGM), Local 334.

Most Portlanders know of the factory just off Tukey’s bridge. I was lucky enough to get a tour of the plant a few years ago. The workers were friendly and they patiently answered my nonstop enthusiastic questions.

They cook the beans in HUGE pots, and they get mustard and molasses in such bulk you would be amazed.  It’s pretty heavenly.

They also make the brown bread there.  All the fixings for a classic hearty Maine meal.

Paper Plates

Headed to a cookout or camping? Having a big party? The plates you are eating off of may have been made in Maine by union workers.

I always get Chinet paper plates if I am going to use disposable plates. They are chinetmade right in Fairfield, Maine at the Huhtamaki plant.  They are crafted by the good women and men of United Steelworkers (USW) Local 449.

When you’re camping, you can just toss the dirty plates in your campfire after the meal. They are lightweight but super durable.  Love ’em!

Buy Chinet and you are support good jobs right here in central Maine.





Tri Suit

This post may not be useful to many, but if you are out there internetsearching for Made in the USA Triathlon gear- this is for you.

I was getting ready for the Pumpkinman Triathlon in Berwick last year and needed my apparel for the race day- something to swim, bike, and run in all in one.

I was pumped to find a) a tri gear store in downtown Bangor and b) a made in the USA “tri tank” and “tri shorts” there.

The people at Triathlete Sports in Bangor were very helpful and I found De Soto shorts, tank, and sports bra there. The whole line of De Soto tri gear is Made in the USA.

tri suit 1

Even if you just run, bike, or swim you should check out De Soto.

Here it is in action:

sarah tri



Schlepping my stuff at the State House in a stained, ripped tote bag got embarrassing so I went on the search for a Made in the USA messenger bag or computer bag to up my game.

I ended up with a hemp green and brown bag so I don’t know if I got quite as polished as some, but it’s still my style.

I am branching out from Made in the USA to Fair Trade with this post. I couldn’t find a bag that I liked and was within my budget that was Made in the USA. Most were leather and that’s not really my look.

I found Earth Divas and decided to go with a Fair Trade bag made in Nepal by a women’s cooperative. They say that 100% of the profits goes to the workers who make the bags. It’s hard to know for sure, but I hope they are doing what they say they are doing. That doesn’t always work.

I really like the bag. It has held up well and holds a lot in it. They sell not only computer bags but handbags and other goods.

bag (Small)

Ipad Case- FAIL

Okay, I know, to have to buy an iPad case clearly means I have an iPad, which was made in China, and there are clear reports of bad labor conditions at the iPhone factories. So it’s ironic to insist on a made in the USA case for it, but here I am. Electronics are a whole difficult subject of goods made over seas, a tough category.

After looking at three companies online that make ipad mini cases in the USA, I chose to go with “Treegloo.”  DO NOT ORDER FROM TREEGLOO! They took my money and never sent me the case. I had to finally file a claim with the BBB to get my money refunded.

So, I ordered a case from

They actually mailed it to me which is an improvement on the last attempt, but I find that my iPad mini falls out of the case. I eventually stopped using it and it’s sitting on my bookshelf. It’s supposed to stink on these big stickers on the inside (I got the “hard shell” version”) but it falls right off.

So now I carry my iPad in a cloth bag that Andy’s mom made from fabric. It works. I guess homemade is sometimes just as good.

Anyone have experience with other made in the USA cases for electronic devices?

Swim Suit

My weekly swim workout buddy Emmie was quite worried that my suit was going to break any day now. I guess that’s to be expected as it was my racing suit from junior year of high school in 2001. (Go Rams).

So online I went and found Illusions Activewear and ordered a navy racerback suit.  Made in California.

I was bummed when it arrived and was too small, but when I called the company to figure out a better size, they were very helpful.  They had me measure myself, and they made me a custom suit!  It costs about as much as I would have paid for a name brand suit at the local big box store.

Tip: sizes run small and the fabric (at least on the style I chose) doesn’t stretch out too much. Measure yourself and use the sizing chart.

I took it for a test swim last week and it felt great.

bathing suit


Nothing worse than dull knives! If you are trying to cook and you have terrible knives, I know how you feel.

Lucky for me, Andy got CUTCO knives for the kitchen last Christmas to replace the old ones.

CUTCO knives are made in the USA, by the good women and men of the United Steelworkers.

They have a great selection and they work well.



Cast Iron Pans

Nothing like cooking on a well seasoned cast iron pan.

Lodge cast iron pans are made in the USA– they have small ones, big ones, and many different shapes.  We got a small skillet, a large skillet, a dutch oven and a round griddle.

Note– Lodge’s enameled cast iron pans are made in China, but their season cast iron and seasoned carbon steel products are made in the USA.

From their website:

All of our foundry Seasoned Cast Iron and our Seasoned Carbon Steel products are manufactured in the USA and always will be. All Enameled Cast Iron products are made in China to our strict quality standards.”


cast iron pans

Bonus, you can cook with them on the wood stove when the power is out.