By Stephanie Schupska
University of Georgia
Inspired by the coastal low country, Michael Simmons of Savannah, Ga., put concept to plate and created a winning combination of flavors. It was such a good mix that his Low Country Pastry earned Simmons, of Bradley Creek Seafood, the grand prize at the first Flavor of Georgia food competition.
Simmons was one of the 2007 winners. On March 18, the University of Georgia Center for Agribusiness and Economic Development and Department of Food Science and Technology will reveal the winners of the second Flavor of Georgia contest. Gov. Sonny Perdue will present awards for the top products in each category and a grand prize for the best overall product at Georgia Ag Day in Atlanta.
Winners earn the right to have their products stamped with the Flavor of Georgia 2008 logo.
Georgia residents can submit entries through Feb. 1 and semifinalists will be announced Feb. 18. Entries for the 2008 contest are already coming into UGA laboratories for testing.
This year, the judges are looking for market-ready foods – whether commercially available or prototypes – from across the state.
Categories this year are barbecue and hot sauces; confections; natural or organic; meat products; wine; snack foods; jams, jellies and sauces; and other. Entries will be judged on flavor, best use of Georgia ingredients, Georgia theme, unique or innovative qualities, commercial appeal and originality.
“We didn’t know what to expect,” Simmons said of last year’s contest. “We put something together that highlighted all-Georgia products.”
Simmons’ strategy worked. CAED marketing analyst Kent Wolfe says the pastry dish stood out because of the Georgia products it included. “The Low Country Pastry was a unique product because it incorporated Wild Georgia shrimp, Georgia’s famous Vidalia onions and locally produced Roger Wood sausage,” Wolfe said.
To register a product, visit www.areg.caes.uga.edu and scroll down to Flavor of Georgia. For more information, go to www.caed.uga.edu or contact Sharon Kane at (706) 542-2574 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The annual food contest is sponsored by the University of Georgia, the Governor’s Agricultural Advisory Commission and the Georgia Rural Development Council.