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“Flavors of Georgia” Contest Celebrates Local Products

Did you know that there is a rum distillery in Georgia? Or that pecan oil from South Georgia can rival the taste of olive oil in cooking?

When you think of food processors, the first thing that comes to your mind may be Kraft or Nabisco. But think outside the box (literally) and imagine a small smokehouse in Sandy Springs where Diana Fitzgerald smokes Norwegian salmon and Blue Ridge trout, or a Shared Kitchen space where Sona Sukumaran cans Indian-inspired chutneys.

Thanks to programs like “The Flavor of Georgia” food product contest, these local entrepreneurs have the opportunity to get their products in front of food brokers and retailers. The annual contest, now in its eighth year, is sponsored by The University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences. It has drawn 35 finalists in 12 product categories, ranging from jams and jellies to snacks.

“The idea started because we worked with a lot of Georgians interested in food processing,” said Dr. Kent Wolfe, Director of UGA Center for Agribusiness and Economic Development. “They were always asking for our help to get their product out to stores, so this became a way to connect them with valuable resources.”

Most of the products in the contest are sold at specialty stores such as Whole Foods Market and some are even used by Atlanta’s top restaurants such as Restaurant Eugene and Miller Union. Previous winners surveyed by the directors have noticed an increase in revenue for their businesses.

So how about this- if given the opportunity, would you quit your job in marketing and move to a farm in Elberton, Georgia to produce cheese?

Tim Young of Nature's Harmony

Tim Young of Nature's Harmony

That’s what Tim Young, farmer and cheesemaker of Nature’s Harmony Farm did in 2007. “I knew nothing about farming or cheesemaking,” he said. “I can’t describe how different cheeses taste, but I fell into a new life of milking cows twice a day and making cheese.”

He says cheesemaking sounds more interesting than it actually is. But life just got a little better, as Young is the overall winner of the contest. He wins a plaque presented by Governor Nathan Deal, a membership in Georgia Grown and of course bragging rights. After he won the award, his first stop was distributing a wheel of cheese to Star Provisions.

-By Alexa Lampasona (@activetastylife) for the Food & More blog

7 comments Add your comment

RK

March 19th, 2014
11:26 am

Congrats, Tim; his cheddar is excellent.

Ned Ludd

March 19th, 2014
11:33 am

http://www.flavorofgeorgia.caes.uga.edu/

Link to the site. Congrats Tim—Job well done. Many others on this list worked hard and need a little PR also! Obviously can’t list them all here but please visit this page and try as many as possible. In this world of work, work, work, it is refreshing to see so many epicurean entrepreneurs chasing a dream that doesn’t end in dot com!

Anton Chigurh

March 19th, 2014
11:52 am

I wonder what Mr. Young said as the photo was being taken.

[...] Atlanta Journal Constitution (blog) [...]

Baltisraul....

March 19th, 2014
2:29 pm

Ned…..didn’t make Hamaknockers on Monday afternoon. It was raining sideways by then and we just kept driving. But we did put a check in the box for everything else.

tammy

March 19th, 2014
4:07 pm

No need to use pecan oil that rivals olive oil. You can get olive oil that rivals the world’s finest right here in Georgia. Georgia Olive Farms in South Georgia is producing olive oil and it has been featured in several foodie magazines. It’s great!!

Noelle Williams

March 20th, 2014
4:00 pm

Another fantastic product made in Alpharetta, GA is Tracye’s Chicken Salad Dressing. It’s in Whole Foods. It’s Gluten free, Dairy free, no carbs, sugar, trans fats or artificial preservatives. It’s really good, easy and healthy. You only need to add any cooked chicken for chicken salad. suggestions are on the side of the jar. It’s sold with the refrigerated dressings in produce by the Veganaise..It’sDELICIOUS & you can cook with it!!