Lucas Farrell (left) and Louisa Conrad (right) of Big Picture Farm, with judge Alex Guarnaschelli (center). Raspberry Rhubarb Goat Milk Caramels, from the Townshend, Vt. producers won the Specialty Outstanding Food Innovation award for 2015.
Vermont specialty food producers took top honors at the Summer Fancy Food Show in New York City, June 28-30. The “specialty outstanding food innovation” awards, known in the trade as the sofi™ awards, are given for quality, innovation, ingredient profile, packaging, and pricing. The awards, formerly known as the NASFT Product Awards, were introduced in 1972.
This year’s 32 winners were selected from 2,737 entries and were announced at the gala red-carpet awards ceremony. Ted Allen of Food Network’s “Chopped” gave the keynote speech.
The Vermont winners included:
Big Picture Farm (Townshend), for their Raspberry Rhubarb Goat Milk Caramels and a second gold for their Goat Milk Chai Caramels
Fat Toad Farm (Brookfield) for their Goat’s Milk Caramels and Cold Brew Coffee Caramels
Vermont Creamery (Websterville) for their Bonne Bouche cheese, Cultured Butter Unsalted and Cultured Butter Sea Salt Basket
Wozz! Creative Kitchens (a New Hampshire producer working out of the Vermont Food Venture Center, Hardwick) for their Kiwi Lime Salsa
“With five golds bestowed on Vermont manufactured products it was a very good night for the state’s specialty food industry. Only the much larger states of California and New York came away with more awards than the Green Mountain state,” said Chuck Ross, secretary of the Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food & Markets.
Jim Harrison of the Vermont Specialty Food Association added, “It is pretty amazing how well Vermont food producers did with the awards this year, as they also did last year. We should all be very proud of our state’s specialty food industry and the positive reflection it has on Vermont.”
The three day Fancy Food Show, held at the Javits Center, features specialty food companies from around the world. Thirty Vermont producers exhibited at the show, gaining direct access to over 25,000 buyers.
The Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food & Markets includes several programs which help local farmers and producers promote their goods to markets beyond the state’s borders as part of its domestic export program. This includes sponsoring a Vermont booth at the Fancy Food Show that samples Vermont product (Vermont is the only state to have such booth). The agency also offers grants to help new producers afford the costs of exhibiting at a trade show. The Vermont Specialty Food Association is a statewide organization representing over 130 food producers and 30 suppliers to the industry.