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Flavor of Georgia deadline for entries fast approaching By Merritt Melancon

The February 8 deadline to submit entries is closing in quickly, but there is still time for Georgian food artisans to submit products for the 2013 competition.

The contest, sponsored by the University of Georgia Center for Agribusiness and Economic Development, helps food entrepreneurs showcase their food products.

Georgia-based food businesses are encouraged to enter their confections, jams, barbecue sauces, meats, cheeses, popsicles, granolas, soups and any other exceptionally edible products.

Many former contest winners now have their products sold in specialty food stores and supermarkets across the Southeast. The 2012 Flavor of Georgia contest winner, Atlanta's High Road Craft Ice Cream & Sorbet, has been featured in magazines such as Southern Living, Cooking Light and Everyday with Rachel Ray and is sold in the freezer section of Whole Foods.

"Flavor of Georgia is a unique opportunity for entrepreneurs to gain publicity and exposure for their products," said Sharon P. Kane, food business development specialist with the UGA CAED. "It's also a chance for them to network with other food entrepreneurs and industry experts."

Georgia-based entrepreneurs can submit as many products as they like. Registration and product submission ends on Feb. 8, 2013. Finalists will be invited to take part in a final judging and public tasting in March in Atlanta.

Contestants can submit products that are already commercially available or foods that are in the market-ready prototype stage. There is not a limit on the number of products that an individual can submit. Product categories include: barbecue and hot sauces; jams, jellies and sauces; confections; meat products; dairy products; and snack foods.

A panel of judges, made up of food marketing experts, grocery buyers, chefs and industry specialists will judge each product based on flavor, use of Georgia ingredients, Georgia theme, unique or innovative qualities, commercial appeal and originality.

More information about the contest and registration is available online at www.flavorofgeorgia.caes.uga.edu or by calling (706) 583-0347. The cost to enter is $75 per product if the contestant registers online. Registration costs $85 per product registered by mail.

(Merritt Melancon is a news editor with the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.)

Flavor of Georgia
Flavor of Georgia

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Flavor of Georgia Photos
Flavor of Georgia Photos

Nicki Schroeder, of High Road Craft Ice Cream in Atlanta, scoops a serving of ice cream for the judges at the 2012 Flavor of Georgia Food Product Contest.

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Flavor of Georgia 2011 - 2
Flavor of Georgia 2011 - 2

Barbara Petit, Georgia Organics, tallies up her scores during the 2011 Flavor of Georgia Food Product Contest.

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Flavor of Georgia Harless
Flavor of Georgia Harless

Caroline Harless poses with her Flat Creek Lodge Aztec Cheddar at the third Flavor of Georgia food product contest. The cheddar won grand prize at the competition.

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