ATHENS, GA (WALB) - The University of Georgia held its 2017 Flavor of Georgia Contest, and three entries from South Georgia took tops honors.
Carroll's Sausage & Meats Inc., won the people's Choice Award. West Foods Inc., of Edison, took best confection for their Chocolate Covered Fried Peanut Cluster. The best snack food was Toasted Sriracha Pecans, from Goodson Pecans LLC, of Leesburg.
Harry and Jaime Foster, owners of Georgia Grinders Nut Butters, claimed the grand prize for their Georgia Grinders Pecan Butter.
The annual contest, conducted by the UGA Center for Agribusiness and Economic Development, is a chance for food businesses to showcase their new products. Showcase events like the 2017 Flavor of Georgia competition help entrepreneurs spread the word about their products. Many participants have landed spots in regional and national grocery chains like Whole Foods, Ingles, Fresh Market, Earth Fare, Kroger and Harvey's.
A team of food industry experts and grocery buyers chose Georgia Grinders Pecan Butter as the best of 33 finalists. They rated the products on qualities including innovation, use of Georgia theme, market potential and flavor.
Governor Nathan Deal, Agriculture Commissioner Gary Black, and UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences Dean and Director Sam Pardue congratulated the category and grand prize winners.
"We had 117 products submitted this year and some of the toughest competition we've seen in the contest's 11 year history. These 33 products represented are truly the best of the best," said Sharon P. Kane, Flavor of Georgia contest coordinator. "The legacy of excellence and camaraderie that our Flavor of Georgia finalists and winners have achieved continues to be remarkable."
The winners are listed below by prize name, product name, company name, company representatives and town.
Grand Prize Winner: Georgia Grinders Pecan Butter, Georgia Grinders Premium Nut Butters, Chamblee
People's Choice Award: Carroll's Vidalia Onion and Cheese Smoked Sausage, Carroll's Sausage & Meats Inc., Ashburn
Barbecue Sauces: Wicked Que Georgia Vinegar Sauce, Neptune Industries Inc., Watkinsville
Beverages: Worryfree Tea, Biron Herbal Teas, Macon
Condiments and Sauces: Midland Ghost White Pepper Sauce, 4Saucerers, Columbus
Confections: Chocolate Covered Fried Peanut Cluster, West Foods Inc., Edison
Dairy or Related Products: Revolution Gelato Chocolate Fantasy, Revolution Gelato LLC, Atlanta
Honey and Related: Honey Pecan Crunch, Hahira Honey House, Stockton
Jams and Jellies: Satsuma Orange Pepper Marmalade, Fairywood Thicket Farm, Fairburn
Meat and Seafood: Carroll's Vidalia Onion and Cheese Smoked Sausage, Carroll's Sausage & Meats Inc., Ashburn
Miscellaneous: Georgia Grinders Pecan Butter, Georgia Grinders Premium Nut Butters, Chamblee
Sauces and Seasonings: Campfire Salt, Beautiful Briny Sea, Atlanta
Snack Foods: Toasted Sriracha Pecans, Goodson Pecans LLC, Leesburg
(With information from UGA-CAES)