Judges have selected 30 products to compete in the final round of the University of Georgia’s 2015 Flavor of Georgia Food Product Contest on March 9-10 at the Georgia Railroad Freight Depot in Atlanta.
The Flavor of Georgia contest is a chance for food businesses to highlight innovative and time-tested products and receive feedback from a panel of food industry professionals.
The 30 finalists were selected from a field of more than 100 products in 10 categories, one of the largest fields in the contest's history.
Finalists will bring their products to the final round of judging on March 9-10 as part of the governor's annual Agriculture Awareness Week, held across the street from the Georgia state Capitol.
“The Flavor of Georgia contest allows food entrepreneurs from every corner of the state to highlight their creative and delicious products that make Georgia’s food scene one of the most vibrant and diverse in the nation,” said Sharon P. Kane, Flavor of Georgia contest coordinator.
Kane, a food business development specialist, and her colleagues at the Center for Agribusiness and Economic Development in the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, have organized the annual contest since 2007.
"Every year we are amazed at the quality of the products submitted as part of the Flavor of Georgia contest," Kane said. “It’s increasingly difficult to identify finalists when so many excellent products are submitted.”
Judges for this year's final round of the Flavor of Georgia contest include food brokers, grocery buyers, chefs and other food industry experts. They judge each entry on commercial appeal, Georgia theme, taste, innovation and market potential in each category.
This year's finalists include:
- Buzzy’s Savannah Slather Barbecue Sauce, Savannah, Christopher Myhre
- Causey’s Hot BBQ Sauce, Smyrna, Wynn Bakke
- Sugar Hill Smokehouse – Sweet and Tangy BBQ Sauce, Sugar Hill, Michael O’Rouke
- Friendship Coffee Company Smooth and Black Cold Brewed Coffee, Savannah, Gay Fortson
- Lulu’s Chocolate Bar Sipping Chocolate Sauce, Savannah, Rebecca Radovich
- Paulk’s Pride 100% Purple Muscadine Juice, Wray, Erin Boettger
- Abundtant Love, Gluten Free Cake Mix, Canton, Shannon Aldridge
- Byrd Cookie Company’s Georgia Peach Cookies, Savannah
- RC’s Golden Flan, Alpharetta, Roda Lopez
- Honeysuckle Gelato, Snacks on a Plane Gelato, Atlanta, Wes Jones
- Mountain Fresh Creamery, Sea Salted Caramel Ice Cream, Clermont, Jennifer Glover
- Proper Pepper, Get Back Jack Pimento Cheese, Sandersville, Deanna Bibb
Jams and Jellies:
- Fairywood Thicket Farm, Strawberry Lavender Jam, Fairburn, Kim and John Conner
- Unicoi Preserves, Georgia Apple Cider Pepper Spread, Sautee, Clark Neal
- Wisham Jellies, Cranberry Pepper Jelly, Tifton, Eric Wisham
Marinades, Sauces and Rubs:
- Food Gasm, Special Sauce, Stone Mountain, Austin Johnson
- The Original Maryland Fried Chicken Hot Sauce, Blackshear, Richard Heavilon
- The Salt Table, Tybee Island Coastal Blend, Pooler, Carol and Dave Legasse
Meat and Seafood:
- Hunter Cattle Company, Grassfed New York Strip Steak, Brooklet, Del Ferguson
- Stripling’s General Store, Jalapeno & Cheese Smoked Sausage, Moultrie, Ashley Goss
- White Oak Pastures, Turkey Sausage with Dried Cranberries, Bluffton, Reid Harrison
Salsas, Chutneys and Condiments:
- Abby J’s, Blackhawk Farm to Table Black Bean & Herb Salsa, Clarkesville, Abby Jackson
- Doux South Sweet Georgia Red Relish, Atlanta, Debbie Hungarland
- Tulla’s White Balsamic Vinaigrette, LaGrange, Tulla and Britt White
- Southern Straws, Short Straws (original), Columbus, Margaret Amos
- Stripling’s General Store, Pork Jerky, Moultrie, Ashley Goss
- Verdant Kitchen, Savannah Snaps, Duluth, Chandler Chase
- Back to Organic, Bloody Mary Himalayan Pink Salt, Atlanta, Julie Feagin
- Oliver Farm Infused Sunflower Oil, Pitts, Clay Oliver
- Ziegler's Honey Company, Georgia Wildflower Honeycomb, Stockton, Robert Edmondson
Winners will receive an award and membership in the state Department of Agriculture’s Georgia Grown program, statewide notariety and bragging rights. All winners and finalists earn the right to have their products stamped with the 2015 Flavor of Georgia logo. They also gain exposure to grocery buyers and food industry professionals who judge the final round of the contest.
All of the 2015 Flavor of Georgia entries will be featured in the Flavor of Georgia product directory. More information about the contest is available at flavorofga.com.
The Flavor of Georgia food product contest is sponsored by the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences Center for Agribusiness and Economic Development in partnership with the Georgia Center of Innovation for Agribusiness, the Office of the Governor, Walton EMC, the Georgia Department of Agriculture and the Georgia Agribusiness Council.
For all the latest about the 2015 Flavor of Georgia Food Product Contest, follow us on Twitter 000D @Flavor_of_GA 01F8 .
(Merritt Melancon is a news editor with the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.)