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Flavor of Georgia contest winners announced Tuesday in downtown Atlanta By Merritt Melancon

Entrepreneurs, farmers and chefs from all over Georgia will converge on the Georgia Freight Depot in Atlanta March 9-10 for the final round of judging in the University of Georgia’s 2015 Flavor of Georgia Food Product Contest.

Winners will be announced following a public open house and tasting from 10 a.m. to noon March 10 as part of the Governor’s Ag Day festivities at the depot.

This year, 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. Many are from metro Alanta.

Flavor of Georgia was launched in 2007 as a chance for food businesses to highlight innovative and time-tested products and receive feedback from a panel of food industry professionals.

“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.

Winners will receive an award and membership in the state Department of Agriculture’s Georgia Grown program, statewide notoriety 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.

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 Office of the Georgia Governor, Georgia Department of Agriculture, Center of Innovation for Agribusiness, Walton EMC Natural Gas and the Georgia Agribusiness Council.

More information about this year’s contest can be found at http://flavorofga.com or by following @Flavor_of_GA on Twitter.

This year's finalists include:

Barbecue Sauce:

  • 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

Beverages:

  • 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

Confections:

  • Abundtant Love, Gluten-Free Cake Mix, Canton, Shannon Aldridge
  • Byrd’s Cookie Company, Georgia Peach Cookies, Savannah, Katie Wells
  • RC’s Golden Flan, Alpharetta, Roda Lopez

Dairy:

  • Honeysuckle Gelato, Snacks on a Plane Gelato, Atlanta, Wes Jones
  • Mountain Fresh Creamery, Salted Caramel Ice Cream, Clermont, Jennifer Glover
  • Proper Pepper, Get Back Jack Pimento Cheese, Sandersville, Deana 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:
  • Sinclair's Special Sauce, Stone Mountain, Austin Johnson
  • The Original Maryland Fried Chicken Hot Hot Sauce, Blackshear, Richard Heavilon
  • The Salt Table, Tybee Island Coastal Blend, Pooler, Carol and Dave Legasse

Meat and Seafood:

  • Hunter Cattle Company, Grass-Fed New York Strip Steak, Brooklet, Del Ferguson
  • Stripling’s, Jalapeño and 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 and Herb Salsa, Clarkesville, Abby Jackson
  • Tulla’s, White Balsamic Vinaigrette, LaGrange, Tulla and Britt White
  • Alta Cucina Italia, Balsamico Al Mirtillo, Marietta, Adriana Coppola

Snack Foods:

  • Southern Straws, Short Straws (original), Columbus, Margaret Amos
  • Stripling’s, Pork Jerky, Moultrie, Ashley Goss
  • Verdant Kitchen, Savannah Snaps, Duluth, Chandler Case

Miscellaneous:

  • Back to Organic, Bloody Mary Himalayan Pink Salt, Atlanta, Julie Feagin
  • Oliver Farm, Infused Sunflower Oil, Pitts, Clay Oliver
  • Zeigler's Honey Company, Georgia Wildflower Honeycomb, Stockton, Robert Edmondson

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

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