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Manufacture This

The blog of the Alliance for American Manufacturing

Toast the holy holidays in Made in America style.

The Jewish holiday of Passover begins on the evening of April 3, while the Christian holiday of Easter will be celebrated on April 5. For our readers who observe these religious holidays, here are some tips for making sure your festivities are Made in America.

Easter

Easter is full with rich tradition. From decorating eggs and hosting Easter egg hunts to attending Sunday services in the morning and feasting in the afternoon, Easter is known for bringing family and friends together.

As with most holidays, the iconification of candies brings about a candy season unique to each holiday’s themes. Santa and Christmas tree-shaped candies for Christmas, heart-shaped everything for Valentine’s Day, egg-shaped morsels for Easter and pumpkin-shaped chocolates for Halloween.

But what makes receiving candy on Easter so much more memorable than any other holiday? The answer is plain and simple — Easter egg hunts for chocolates and jelly beans, the bright array of neon and spring colors that pop-out on every candy and Easter product, and of course, the visual appeal of candies nestled comfortably in the grass of every Easter basket.

With Easter only a few days away, those Easter baskets won’t make themselves, so we’ve put together some tips for making your Easter basket a little more American-made.

Charleston Sweetgrass basket

Easter baskets Made in the USA can be a little tricky to find, but Peterboro Basket Co. features several styles of baskets such as Essence of Easter, His and Hers, and Traditional and Heirloom Easter baskets with numerous coloring options. 

If you’re looking for a more unique basket, consider Charleston Sweetgrass baskets. All of the company's baskets are handmade in Charleston, S.C., with nearly 100 percent of the company's orders hand-crafted from fresh materials.

The next necessities in any Easter basket are Easter grass and egg shells to fill with candy, both of which you can find by eco eggs.

eco eggs

An environmentally friendly approach to the traditional Easter egg and grass, eco eggs are made from plants and can come in five colors and in larger sizes — meaning more room to put candy inside! 

Another USA-made product manufactured by eco eggs is eco grass. Eco grass is made from 100 percent post recycled paper and comes in 1.25 ounce bags of varying color. The grass is 1/8” thick and utilizes a crinkle cut paper that can be kept and reused or recycled.

One more classic Easter tradition is coloring and decorating hard-boiled eggs to fill Easter baskets — and eco eggs has you covered there as well. The eco-eggs coloring kit comes with three primary color powder packs, a color chart to create more custom colors, a crayon for texturing your eggs, and a custom egg dipper made in Maine.

Lastly come the basket stuffers — think candy, candy, more candy — but there are other American-made options as well.

Annie’s Bunny Grahams are honey flavored, whole grain graham snacks that are perfect for satisfying that sweet and crunchy craving. The product's rabbit shape is also a perfect reason to stuff any Easter basket to add a variety from the other chocolatey and sickly sweet treats added to Easter baskets. And most important: These treats are Made in Connecticut!

Another necessity for all Easter baskets are Peeps. Peeps are known to be an almost indestructible marshmallow candy with a delectably sweet sugar coating made by Just Born Candy, a family owned business based in Bethlehem, Pa. These bright yellow, adorable, candy fluffs are sure to brighten any Easter basket.

And no Easter basket is complete without Jelly Belly beans. The world's No. 1 gourmet jelly bean, Jelly Belly boasts 50 original flavors — along with new varieties such as Harry Potter, Sunkist, and Fruit Bowl. Jelly Belly Jelly beans are currently manufactured in Fairfield, Calif. – where you can also take part in free factory tours – and additional facilities in North Chicago, Illinois and Pleasant Prairie, Wisconsin.

Russell Stover chocolate bunny

The final basket stuffer are Russell Stover chocolates. Offering Easter egg, rabbit and Easter sweets, Russell Stover manufactures mouthwatering chocolates at 35 factories in 18 states. The company sells every kind of chocolate you could possibly fill a basket with, including sugar free, dark, milk-chocolate, candy bars, brittle, boxes, peanut butter, nuts, coconut, toffee, cherry, caramel, nougats, marshmallow, creams, mint, truffles and private reserve. 

Passover

The eight-day festival of Passover celebrates the liberation of the Jewish people by God from slavery in Egypt. It is celebrated in in two parts, with the first and last two days marked as full-fledged holidays, while the middle days are considered semi-festive.

The festival begins with the removal of leavened food products (called chametz) before passover begins, and continuing throughout the holiday. That includes anything that includes wheat, barley, rye, oats, spelt or their derivatives — so bread, pasta, cookies and most alcohol is out. Instead of chametz, celebrants eat matzah, an unleavened bread.

The highlight of the holiday is the Seder, which takes place on the first two nights and includes eating matza and bitter herbs, and drinking four cups or wine or grape juice.

Manischewitz Organic Matzos

Our friends at the AFL-CIO put together a list of American-made (and union-made!) Passover options. For Matzo products, the organization recommends Manischewitz, which is produced by workers from the United Food and Commercial Workers union. Founded in 1888 in Cincinnati, the company claims to be the nation’s largest manufacturer of processed kosher food products, and the No. 1 baker of matzo in the world.

UFCW workers also produce goods for Empire Kosher, which can provide Passover meats, according to the AFL-CIO.

As for wine and grape juice, the AFL-CIO recommends a number of options, including Arbor Mist, C.K. Mondavi, Chateau Ste. Michelle, E& J Gallo, Turning Leaf, Minute Maid Grape Juice and Welch’s Grape Juice. Manischewitz also produces grape juice.

Have any other Made in America Easter or Passover suggestions? Email us at info@aamfg.org.