Judges have selected 33 products to compete in the final round of the University of Georgia’s 2017 Flavor of Georgia Food Product Contest in Atlanta on March 21.
The contest is the state’s premier testing ground for both small, upstart food companies and time-tested products. This year’s finalists represent all corners of the state and the best of Georgia’s diverse culinary heritage.
The 33 finalists, who have passed the first round of judging, were selected from a field of 117 products in 11 categories.
Finalists will bring their products to the final round of judging in conjunction with the Georgia Department of Agriculture's Agriculture Awareness Week celebration March 20-24. Georgia Commissioner of Agriculture Gary Black has designated March 21 Flavor of Georgia Day.
“Georgia is home to some of the best and most creative minds in the food business, and each year the Flavor of Georgia contest helps to showcase that talent,” said Sharon P. Kane, contest coordinator and economist with the UGA Center for Agribusiness and Economic Development in the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.
A food business development specialist, Kane and her center colleagues have organized the annual contest since 2007.
“The legacy of excellence and camaraderie that our Flavor of Georgia finalists and winners have achieved continues to be remarkable,” she said. “It is a competition but it’s also a family. Over the years, contestants have built collaborations and networks that continue to support and enhance food entrepreneurship in Georgia from the coast to the mountains. It’s not just great food, it’s economic development.”
Judges for the final round of the contest will include food brokers, grocery buyers and other food industry experts. Entries are evaluated based on the state theme, commercial appeal, taste, innovation and market potential in each category. Contestants will provide samples to judges and pitch their products in a “Shark Tank” style presentation.
This year’s finalists are listed below by product name, company and city.
- Smokin’ Temptations Championship BBQ Sauce, Smokin’ Temptations Catering, Moultrie
- Uncle Rhett’s Back Slappin’ BBQ Sauce, Uncle Rhett’s LLC, Ocilla
- Wicked Que Georgia Vinegar Sauce, Neptune Industries Inc., Watkinsville
- Aroma Ridge Georgia Pecan Flavored Coffee, Aroma Ridge Inc., Marietta
- Ruby Hibiscus Tea, Sabor Provisions, Gainesville
- Worryfree Tea, Biron Herbal Teas, Macon
Condiments and Salsas:
- Jake’s Reaper Pepper Relish, Jake’s Produce and Cannery, White
- Lauri Jo’s Georgia Peach Salsa, Lauri Jo’s Southern Style Canning, Norman Park
- Midland Ghost White Pepper Sauce, 4Saucerers, Columbus
- Chocolate Covered Fried Peanut Cluster, West Foods Inc., Edison
- Double Chocolate Candied Pecan Cake Pop, Kaylee Cake Pops and More, Stone Mountain
- Gotcha! Praline Cheesecake, Jessicakes Bakery LLC, Covington
Dairy and Related Products:
- Home Grown Jalapeno Pimento Cheese, Home Grown, Atlanta
- Revolution Gelato Chocolate Fantasy, Revolution Gelato LLC, Atlanta
- Thomasville Tomme, Sweet Grass Dairy, Thomasville
Honey and Related Products
- H.L. Franklin’s Healthy Honey—Wildflower, H.L. Franklin’s Healthy Honey, Statesboro
- Honey Pecan Crunch, Hahira Honey House, Stockton
- Praline Pecan Honey Butter, Built by Bees Inc., Atlanta
Jams and Jellies:
- Lauri Jo’s Southern Pecan Jalapeno Pepper Jelly, Lauri Jo’s Southern Style Canning, Norman Park
- Satsuma Orange Pepper Marmalade, Fairywood Thicket Farm, Fairburn
- Wisham Jellies Fire! Pepper Jelly, Wisham Jellies, Tifton
Meats and Seafood:
- Carroll’s Vidalia Onion and Cheese Smoked Sausage, Carroll’s Sausage & Meats Inc., Ashburn
- Georgia Boy Smoked Sausage with Vidalia Onions, D.L. Lee & Sons Inc., Alma
- Mike’s Homemade 100% Boston Butt Hot Dogs, Mike’s Country Store, Albany
- Georgia Grinders Pecan Butter, Georgia Grinders Premium Nut Butters, Chamblee
- Grandma’s Gourmet Quick & Easy Cornbread, A'Zoe Enterprises LLC, Mableton
- Sausage Cheese Balls, Back to the Basics 101, Cochran
Sauces and Seasonings:
- Bootlikker Hot Sauce, Terebinth Tree Inc., Lawrenceville
- Campfire Salt, Beautiful Briny Sea, Atlanta
- Uncle Rhett’s Jackpot 777 Wing Sauce, Uncle Rhett’s LLC, Ocilla
- Front Porch Pecans Habanero BBQ, Front Porch Pecans, Hawkinsville
- Parmesan Cheese Straws, Kim’s Cheese Straws, Statesboro
- Toasted Sriracha Pecans, Goodson Pecans LLC, Leesburg
The Flavor of Georgia Food Product Contest is organized by the UGA CAES Center for Agribusiness and Economic Development, with support from Georgia Center of Innovation for Agribusiness, the Office of the Governor, Walton EMC, Gourmet Foods International, the Georgia Department of Agriculture and the Georgia Agribusiness Council.
(Merritt Melancon is a news editor with the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.)
Judges in the preliminary round of the University of Georgia's Flavor of Georgia Food Product Development Contest have chosen 33 products from around Georgia to compete in the final round of the competition.Download Image