Judges have selected 25 products to compete in the final round of the 2013 Flavor of Georgia Food Product Contest on March 11-12 at the Georgia Railroad Freight Depot in Atlanta.
“Food entrepreneurs from every corner of the state submitted delicious and innovative Georgia products this year,” said Sharon P. Kane, Flavor of Georgia contest coordinator. “From the onion fields in south Georgia to in-town Atlanta, we received products that show off the best that the state has offer.”
The Flavor of Georgia contest is a chance for food businesses to highlight their new products and get feedback from a panel of food industry professionals.
Kane, a food business development specialist, and her colleagues at the Center for Agribusiness and Environmental Sciences at the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, have organized the annual contest since 2007.
The 25 finalists were selected from a field of more than 100 products submitted in the contest’s eight categories.
Finalists will bring their products to the final round of judging on March 11-12 as part of the Governor's Annual Agriculture Awareness Week held across the street from the Georgia State Capital.
Judges for this year’s final round of the Flavor of Georgia contest include food brokers, buyers, chefs and other food industry experts. They judge each entry on flavor, use of Georgia ingredients, Georgia theme, innovation, commercial appeal and originality in each category.
This year’s finalists include:
In the dairy category:
- Applewood Smoked Gouda by Udderly Cool Dairy, LLC in Roopville
- Tuscano Marinated Feta by The Capra Gia Cheese Co. in Carrollton
- Georgia Red by Flat Creek Farm & Dairy in Swainsboro
In the snacks category:
- Savannah Fare Southern Praline Snackin' Mix by Edibelles in Savannah
- Burke Bar by Byne Blueberry Farms in Waynesboro
- Blackhawk Farm to Table Bean & Jalapeno Salsa by Abby J's Gourmet in Clarkesville
In the confections category:
- Sea Salt Caramel Bars by Heidi's Heavenly Cookies, LLC in Alpharetta
- Flavors of the South Chocolate-Covered Caramels by M Chocolat in Alpharetta
- Peach Tea Bonbons by Chocolate South in Atlanta
- Swedish Chocolate Delights by Swedish Traditions in Tifton
In the jams and jellies category:
- Peach Habanero Jam by Webbington's in Stockbridge
- Apple Ginger Preserves by Hillside Orchard Farms in Tiger
- Spiced Blueberry Peach Jam by MiDi Blueberry Farm in Byron
In the sauces category:
- My Sweet Hottie Homestyle Sweet & Sour Sauce by Chinese Southern Belle, LLC in Smyrna
- All Natural Vidalia Onion Steak Sauce by Braswell Food Company in Statesboro
- Lazy Ray's Ketchup & Mustard by Lazy Ray's, LLC in Cumming
In the barbecue and hot sauce category:
- Roasted Garlic B-B-Q Sauce by Williamson Bros. in Marietta
- Classic BBQ Sauce by Q Sauce, LLC in Dacula
- Hotlanta Honey - Honey With a Sting! by Atlanta Bee Company in Atlanta
In the meat and seafood category:
- Georgia Buffalo N.Y. Strip Steak by Georgia Buffalo, Inc. in Townsend
- Hunter Pork Co. Pork Sausage by Hunter Cattle Company in Brooklet
- Sunset Farm Brand All Natural Bell Pepper & Onion Sausage by Sunset Farm Foods in Valdosta
In the “other” category:
- Gayla's Grits by Gayla's Grits in Lakeland
- Georgia Peaches Black Tea by just add honey tea company in Atlanta
- King Louie Collard Green Seasoning by King Louie Special Blend Seasoning in Fitzgerald
Winners will receive a plaque presented by Governor Nathan Deal and Commissioner of Agriculture Gary Black, a membership for Growing Georgia and bragging rights.
All finalists earn the right to have their products stamped with the 2013 Flavor of Georgia logo. They also gain exposure to grocery buyers and food science professionals who judge the final round of the contest.
Kane followed up with the 2011 winners and found that between 70 and 80 percent experienced increased interest in their products, sales and business contacts as a result of the contest.
All of the 2013 Flavor of Georgia entries will be featured in the Flavor of Georgia Product Directory. More information about the contest is available is at www.flavorofgeorgia.caes.uga.edu.
This contest is sponsored by the UGA CAES Center for Agribusiness and Economic Development in partnership with the Center of Innovation for Agribusiness, the Office of Governor Nathan Deal, Walton EMC, the Georgia Department of Agriculture, the Georgia Agribusiness Council and the UGA Department of Food Science and Technology.
(Merritt Melancon is a news editor with the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.)