Man, do I like delicious snacks. Grazing on quality food and beverages is truly one of my favorite things in life. If the mood hits you to pack up a picnic, consider these suggestions that are 100% Montana made.

BTW - Out of town guests always get a kick out of this sort of thing. Polite friends will notice your efforts, PLUS they might go spend some good money at a local business to bring some Montana treats home with them. Double win, right?

Full disclosure: I know some of the owners of the following businesses/products. Sorry. I've been around a long time. They don't know I decided to include them in this article, nobody paid me to include them and if you don't like one of these brands...find another brand that's made in Montana. Doesn't matter to me. Let's just keep it local :-)

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(If you're not interested in shopping for all the stuff but still want to keep it all local, places such as Maven's Market in Bozeman will put together a killer picnic box for you. There's no shame in that game, especially for busy people. You're still keeping your dollars local and they've got incredibly good products.)

Sweet Garlic Pickles from Plate and Pantry (Bozeman, MT): Ever heard of these guys? I hadn't until recently but I'm a changed person. If you're a pickle person, these are worth finding at your grocery store. The link has locations.

Beef Jerky from any Montana Company: Montana knows its meat, that's for sure. Honestly, I've tried the beef jerky from just about every Montana company that makes it and I've liked them all. Montana Jerky Company is quite good and award winning. They're out of Columbia Falls, MT but widely available.

Baguettes, Croissants or Ciabatta from On The Rise Bakery (Bozeman, MT): Montana is blessed with talented bread-makers. If On The Rise bread is not available where you are, find your town's best. There is nothing more important for a good picnic than a fantastic loaf of bread. (Their Instagram is totally worth following, btw.)

Bakery items - On The Rise
Bakery items - On The Rise
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Cookies from Elle's Belles Bakery: Based in Belgrade, MT but shipped anywhere you want, Elle's Belles are the gold standard of Montana-made cookies. Other treats like hand pies and custom cakes will change your life. The cookies are individually wrapped so they travel like a pro.

Elle's Belles Bakery
Elle's Belles Bakery
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Nuts and Popcorn from the Nutty Montanan: Whatever flavor you're looking for, the Nutty Montanan probably has it. Small batches are roasted and flavored locally. Honorable mention: Montana Mountain Munch. You'll find bags of the stuff at most Montana-focused gift stores across the state.

Cheese from Amaltheia Organic Dairy: Their cute little tubs of flavored goat cheese make me happy. Amaltheia has tons of good picnic-friendly products, but the goat cheese spreads are my favorite. A little goes a long way. I've turned more than one out of town guest into a cheese smuggler with these things. They're that good.

Honey Mustard with Horseradish from Chalet Market (Belgrade, MT): This stuff is damn good. It's sweet with some heat and super affordable. Total bonus. You can order it online or buy it at the store in Belgrade.

Beers Brewed in Montana: I'm not much of a beer person anymore so when I do have one, it better be a good one. Since 'good' beer is completely dependent on what kind of beer you like, I won't even bother to personally suggest one. You know what you like, right? If you don't, the link above will provide you a list of highly rated Montana brewed beers from across the state.

Montana Cold Spring Huckleberry Vodka from Bozeman Spirits Distillery: If your picnic is cocktail appropriate, this huckleberry vodka is one of my favorites. Mixed with lemonade (and a couple muddled leaves of basil - my trick), you've got yourself the perfect cocktail.

photo - Michelle Wolfe
photo - Michelle Wolfe
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