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.”

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!