Flavor of Georgia 2012 Winners Announced Today

One of my favorite events of the year, the Flavor of Georgia Food Product Contest, just concluded at the Georgia Freight Depot in Atlanta. UGA’s College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences Center for Agribusiness and Economic Development and the Department of Food Science and Technology sponsor the two day event.

115 individuals and companies across the state submitted products ranging from Georgia Peach Chevre to a Hot ‘Lanta Peach Piesicle to a Rum Cake “Musketball”. I don’t know how the sponsors did it, but 26 finalists were chosen to offer samples to the judges Monday afternoon, then to legislators and support teams from the Capitol during a reception Monday evening.

Picking the winners really was a tough job. Every product was a true Georgia treat. If you make it a point to Buy Georgia Made and Serve Georgia Grown, you must seek out these makers’ creations. Your family, friends and guests will be clamoring for more! Guaranteed.

2012 CONTEST WINNERS:

Nicki scoops Brown Butter Praline Ice Cream

Overall: Brown Butter Praline Ice Cream, Nicki Schroeder, High Road Craft Ice Cream, Atlanta

BBQ & Hot Sauces: Sweet Georgia Soul Signature BBQ Sauce, Griffin Bufkin, Southern Soul BBQ (a MUST VISIT eatery), St. Simon’s Island

Confections: Byne Blueberries Dark Chocolate, Richard Byne, Byne Blueberry Farms, Waynesboro

Dairy: Brown Butter Praline Ice Cream, Nicky Schroeder, High Road Craft Ice Cream, Atlanta

Jams, Jellies & Sauces: Lauri Jo’s Muscadine Pepper Jelly, Lauri Jo Bennett, Lauri Jo’s Southern Style Canning, LLC, Norman Park

Meat Products: GeeChee Girl Foods Seafood Gumbo, Debra McFadden-Bryant, The JelSa Group Inc, Albany

Other Products: Mercier Orchards Apple Cider, Rob Kaser, Mercier Orchards, Blue Ridge

Snack Foods: Grits Bits Vidalia Onion Baked Cheese Snacks, Diane Pfeifer, Grits Bits, Atlanta.

Peoples Choice: Three Generations of Chicken Log, Cindy Fulghum, Three Generations of Georgia, Dewy Rose

“The Flavor of Georgia Food Product Contest highlights new and innovative Georgia food products and businesses using Georgia agricultural commodities,” Dr. Kent Wolfe, director of the UGA Center for Agribusiness & Economic Development says. “It is our desire that the contest helps entrepreneurs in seeking to enter the food processing industry or expand their current business, to receive publicity, and get exposure for their products. We want the interaction between food processors, brokers, retailers and others involved in the food marketing distribution channels in Georgia to see the great products these businesses and individuals have to offer.”

Jeffersonville’s Own Miss Amanda

Miss Amanda on her way Home

Miss Amanda, Jeffersonville’s Hospitality Ambassador, deserves a Shout OUT from Georgia Made Georgia Grown! This precious lady walks from her home to the elementary school, to the Senior Center, and around downtown every day, checking on the children, the older folks, and the merchants.

Glowing from within, Miss Amanda welcomes the children to school every morning, dispensing her love and concern. When they are safely in their classrooms, she visits the Senior Center and makes sure everyone is comfortable and happy.

Then, she checks in at every business downtown. If someone needs flyers passed around, she passes flyers around. Whenever she can help, she helps.She is at every event in town.

Miss Amanda, Be Blessed! You deserve rich rewards!

Lovin’ those Georgia Made Exhibitors at the ATL Gift Show

Excitement and pride for strong product lines ran through most of the Atlanta Gift Show temporary exhibitors’ sections. Lauri Jo’s Southern Style Canning had a slide show showing the swiftly-outgrown facility and the beautiful new one. Diane Pfeifer was celebrating her 25th year showing at the Atlanta Gift Show. Her Grits Bits are always a big hit and a perfect Georgia welcome gift. Prissy’s of Vidalia “A Taste of Southern Gourmet” had moved over to a side row of booths and wrote orders. And Sartoria Monica, from right up the street in Madison, showed a couture line of shawls, scarves and garments.

My show faves included brand new exhibitors, brilliant young women, and new ways to use traditional products that are sure to be hits.

"Tea" and Jam Sample Station

BEST SAMPLE:  One Screw Loose – Kathy Senft, Jelly Queen, and her sons – are you reading this, Elizabeth Warnock from 13th Colony? –  mixed a big helping of lemonade with Vodka in a lovely glass container. In individual sample cups, they dolloped a spoonful of their Sweet Tea Raspberry Jelly, then poured the lemonade/Vodka over it. The booth had buyers begging for more!

Monterey Square

These are the ones for me!

BEST SALES PERSON: Savannah Shoe Co. – Katie Johnson. Who doesn’t like a pair of shoes that take you from “Cobblestones to Cocktails”? These colorful, comfortable shoes are stylish, sturdy and wildly appealing. Next time you’re in Savannah, go to 226 W Broughton St and try some on. You’ll be hooked, too. Great, great line!

Katie sat me down and showed me boots and sandals to my heart’s content. She offered to take my order & send them to me. She offered to show me around the Broughton St. shop. Her demeanor was that until I was happy with my new shoes, she wouldn’t be happy. Love, love, loved her style!

BEST NEW EXHIBITOR: Beautiful Briny Sea Salt. Suzi Sheffield, a restauranteur fresh from Columbia SC, and Kat Knetver and one other employee are working like people possessed to get this business running at full speed. For the past two years, they’ve exhibited at festivals and farmers markets in Georgia and South Carolina.

Truffle Salt on Roasted Asparagus

They’ve just opened their warehouse/kitchen five minutes from downtown, and exhibited in the Atlanta Gift Show for their first wholesale experience. Seven salts, including the best seller Truffle Salt, are available in this line. Lavender, Magic Unicorn, Santa Salt and Rosemary turn the ordinary into artisan creations. The booth was a French garden; the salts, remarkable.

honey hot picklesBEST NEW TASTE TWIST:  Jamaican Hots – Hollie Green. “Da Pickles Be Jammin!” The display was small. The product line was front and center. And the owner & originator herself, Hollie Green, offered samples of the “gate to heaven”, “gate to hell” and the “gate to Purgatory”. Those honey hot pickles were stellar! The ad isn’t misleading… it really is “like having a party in your mouth”.

eyedoll chatterBEST CONCEIVED PRODUCT LINE: Eye Doll Chatter – Kali Sharp, one of the sisters who originated this “Shimmer * Share” Tween Scented Makeup Kits line, blew me away with the sisters’ business strategy. The product line is very high fashion – shimmery & scented eyeshadow and lip glosses in a range of colors – that are combined by the young end buyer as she chooses her personal preferences. THEN, the Tween, on her EyeDoll Chatter iPhone App, shares those choices with her friends via Facebook, Twitter, and text!

Kali’s mainstream job was writing apps. So she was able to stretch the fun of choosing, buying, and wearing into high tech. ABSOLUTELY BRILLIANT!

Breakfast Linguine – DelishGA.com, You Have a WINNER!

Breakfast Linguine looks GREAT!

I found DelishGA.com a few days ago and was amazed at all the Georgia eateries Lori Hennesy writes about. But what caught my eye – because Bill Ronay loves pasta more than any person I ever knew – was her DIY Breakfast Linguine post.

Take a look – linguine, Dixie GA’s Thomson Farms Smokehouse (today’s porkmeister of choice) bacon, eggs, garlic, olive oil, parmesan cheese! Tell me what could taste better? According to Bill Ronay, it was beyond delish… scrumptious, awesome, good enough to eat at lunch & dinner TODAY!

Breakfast Linguine + Lori's Recipe

MCSO Recognizes Jim Dale for his Efforts

Jim Dale receives TWO awards

Thursday evening, at the annual Morgan County Sheriff’s Office dinner, Jim Dale received two awards for his service – Court Officer of the Year and Sheriff’s Reservist of the Year.

Congratulations, Jim! You’ve been a wonderful addition to the community and to the MCSO and MCFD in the past five years, since you and your awesome wife Bonnie came to live in Buckhead. We are proud of you and think these awards are very much deserved.

Oddities in Our Front Yard

It doesn’t happen often, but once in a while, we scratch our heads about what’s in our front yard. We’ve found several birds’ nests on the ground and a few cicada shells stuck to the trees. But these three photos are of the oddest things that have  happened…

The bird wasn’t afraid of us. It was almost as if he were waiting for us, much like a visiting cat, checking to see what we were up to. He came back for a few days, but then he moved on.

The morning the fish fell out of the sky, we were on our way down the driveway, chatting up a storm. All of the sudden we heard mighty wings flapping, then SPLAT! This fish landed within five feet of us. It took our breathes away, too!

You can see puncture marks on the fish’s body where the bird clutched him. We’d seen birds dive straight down into the water, catch a fish and bring him into the air. But we’d never seen the fish fall out of the bird’s claws.

We ran to get the camera. Then back for the tape measure.

Today, we saw this mushroom growing up out of the gravel driveway.

I learned all about how mushrooms are cultivated at the Produce Marketing Show we visited last month. But those mushrooms grew in rich, black soil, not gravel. And mushrooms don’t need light to grow. This one seemed very happy in the sunlight.

We are anxious to see what pops round to our front yard next.

Thank You for Your Service, Soldiers

            Morgan County Georgia’s Veterans Day Celebration

Like thousands of other communities, Morgan County residents gathered in our high school gymnasium to honor and to thank those who served in the United States Armed Forces.

Many of the veterans attend the ceremony each year, including our dear neighbors, Bob & Jean Baker.

The Jr ROTC filled the bleachers next to the older veterans.

The mayor’s son, a physician currently stationed at Fort Gordon, talked to us about his service. Major Curt Gilbert spent his five year residency in Radiology at Cook Army Medical Center. He told us how far the limb loss programs had come as wounded soldiers from the Iraq War came to Cook to be re-habed and fitted in the limb loss programs.

Major Curt Gilbert, MD

The work was challenging and rewarding, but the Major felt more & more that his calling was to deploy to a war zone. He came back to Fort Gordon, then got orders to serve in the only expeditionary hospital in Afghanistan.

He experienced wartime medicine in spades. “The care a team can give in a tent is amazing,” Major Gilbert told us, “In military wartime medicine, you are waiting for those helicopters. It is the most efficient setting ever. The mission is to take care of soldiers. And we took it personally when we lost a soldier.”

The Marines were making humanitarian efforts on behalf of the Afghans to find clothes and blankets for them. The literacy rate among the local population was about 15%. So the Marines built schools, too.

The Major, in a communication to his parents, Judy and Bruce Gilbert, told them what the Marines needed. Within two weeks, the elder Gilberts’ neighbors were sending hundreds of boxes of supplies. One Madisonian included a note in his box. “Dear Curt,” it said, “Here are clothes and jackets. I’m not sure if I’m giving clothes to future enemies; but I hope they keep the little urchins warm.”

When his tour of duty was over, Gilbert rode home in the belly of a C-130. He was the only live person among the soldiers in the five coffins around him.

Thank you for your service, soldiers. We will never forget your sacrifices on behalf of the United States of America.