Friday, April 29, 2011

A Legacy With Layers: The Vidalia® Onion Museum Opens Today

/PRNewswire/ -- Beginning today, Vidalia onion enthusiasts around the country will be able to explore the history of Georgia's beloved state vegetable and the growing region that has made it so famous. The grand opening of the Vidalia Onion Museum is right in time for thousands of tourists attending the annual Vidalia Onion Festival. Today's Museum grand opening event and ribbon-cutting ceremony have drawn an all-star team of chefs, each of whom is creating a Vidalia onion dish for guests, including:

* James Beard Award-winning chef Jeffrey Buben of Vidalia restaurant in Washington, D.C.
* "Top Chef" Fan Favorite Kevin Gillespie of Woodfire Grill in Atlanta, Ga.
* Award-winning chef Gerry Klaskala of Aria restaurant in Atlanta, Ga.
* "Top Chef" contestant Tracey Bloom of Ray's at Killer Creek in Atlanta, Ga.
* "Southern My Way" cookbook author Gena Knox

Also participating in the museum opening ceremonies are Gary Black, Georgia Commissioner of Agriculture, and Wendy Brannen, Vidalia® Onion Committee executive director and museum chairperson. "We have worked for five years to unearth each unique layer of the Vidalia onion story and then portray those layers creatively for visitors," says Brannen. "When we first hired a museum consultant, they asked, 'Really, an onion museum?' But they quickly realized we're not just any onion, and this isn't just any story!" Brannen adds.

The Vidalia Onion Museum provides guests with an interactive, historical experience. The museum is filled with educational exhibits that highlight the sweet onion's economic, cultural and culinary significance. The Vidalia Onion Museum is located at 100 Vidalia Sweet Onion Drive and is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday-Friday.

In addition to the excitement of the museum's grand opening, the Vidalia Onion Festival takes place this weekend, drawing tens of thousands of people to Vidalia, Ga. Activities include pageants, parades, concerts, car shows, onion-eating contests and arts and crafts. For more information on the festival, visit

The Vidalia® Onion Committee was established in 1989 as Federal Marketing Order No. 955. The order authorizes production research, marketing research and development, and marketing promotion programs. The VOC administers the order locally and consists of eight producer members and their alternates and one public member and an alternate. More information about the Vidalia® Onion industry may be obtained at


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Thursday, April 28, 2011

UGA teaches healthy cooking class

May. 4, 2011 11:00 AM - 1:00 PM

Eating well and leading a healthy lifestyle can reduce the risk of cancer by up to 50 percent, according to the National Cancer Institute. To help Georgians learn how to cook cancer-fighting meals, University of Georgia Cooperative Extension offers free classes.

More than 40,000 people are diagnosed with cancer each year in Georgia, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and nearly 15,000 die.

“Making healthy lifestyle choices can dramatically reduce our risk for developing certain types of cancers,” said Denise Everson, UGA Extension Family and Consumer Sciences agent in Athens and Oconee County. “We teach families how they can eat healthy, but still eat well, while improving their health and reducing their risk for chronic disease.”

Everson will teach a free Cooking for a Healthier Lifetime Cancer Prevention Cooking School on Wednesday, May 4, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Athens-Clarke County Health Department. Citizens are invited to learn how to reduce their risk for cancer and chronic disease by making healthy food choices.

“The simple steps we take today, improved eating habits and an active lifestyle, can decrease our risk for chronic disease and improve our overall well-being,” Everson said.

Recipes will be shared and free food samples will be available. Space is limited so call 706-583-2756 by April 29 to secure a spot in the class.

UGA Extension, Athens-Clarke County Health Department and the American Cancer Society sponsor the course.

For more information on healthy life choices or similar classes in your area, contact a local UGA Extension office at 1-800-ASK-UGA1.

By April Reese Sorrow
University of Georgia

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Association for Dressings and Sauces Gives Creative Salad Recipe Ideas On

/PRNewswire/ -- Eating a salad every day with your favorite salad dressing is an easy way to add valuable nutrients to your diet – nutrients that promote good health and may ward off disease. Visit to find creative salad recipes and learn the health benefits of eating salads with your favorite dressing. You will find salad recipes with chicken, salad recipes with pasta and vegetable salads, all with great salad dressing recommendations.

Salad eaters tend to have higher intakes of key nutrients, such as Vitamins C and E and folate. The healthy oils found in salad dressings help to promote the absorption of key nutrients, including many important antioxidants that are found in leafy greens and other vegetables and fruits. In addition, the majority of salad dressings are free of trans fat.

What's the key to a healthy salad? According to Sarah Wally, M.S., R.D., "The nutritional value of your salad depends on what ingredients you choose." Selecting a rainbow of colorful fruits and vegetables for salads ensures you're eating a wide range of beneficial nutrients. is a program of The Association for Dressings and Sauces (ADS), the international trade association that represents salad dressing, mayonnaise and condiment sauce manufacturers and suppliers to the industry. Since 1992, ADS has celebrated May as National Salad Month.


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Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Arby's Offers an Early Tax Break With Free Value Curly Fries

/PRNewswire/ -- The IRS has given Americans two extra days to complete their taxes, which means last-minute filers will be working furiously over the newly coined Tax Weekend. To provide these tax procrastinators with a little break, and to reward those lucky few who have already completed their returns, Arby's Restaurant Group, Inc. has declared Friday, April 15 as Free FryDay at locations nationwide.

Arby's signature Curly Fries are beloved for their appealing shape and flavor. To receive a free value size of these perfectly seasoned ringlets, people must print off a coupon from Arby's Facebook page ( and bring it to any Arby's location during regular business hours on Friday, April 15.

"Now that Tax Day has turned into Tax Weekend, we think everyone could use a little break," said Bob Kraut, Senior Vice President, Advertising and Marketing Communications, Arby's Restaurant Group, Inc. "We hope Free FryDay brings some much needed cheer to those who still need to finish their tax returns."

The free Value Curly Fry offer is valid on April 15, 2011 only, at participating restaurants and is good for one order per customer, while supplies last.

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Saturday, April 9, 2011

Get In The Atlanta Food & Wine Festival Spirit

Drink in all the South has to offer this Spring

Mint Juleps, Old Fashioneds, Sazeracs – the Southern cocktail culture is thriving, and the Atlanta Food & Wine Festival will be the ideal showcase for traditional and innovative spirit creations. From May 19-22, Festival guests will enjoy Southern cocktails and spirits from such beverage innovators and luminaries as Greg Best from Atlanta’s Holeman & Finch Public House and Julian Van Winkle of Old Rip Van Winkle Distillery, while learning about the history and future of distilling in the South.

Inspired by Southern sipping staple Coca-Cola™, the Atlanta Food & Wine Festival will also feature seminars called “Coke-tails,” led by Greg Best, highlighting the flavor profile of the iconic cola.

The Pause that Refreshes, courtesy of Greg Best

5 oz sparkling wine (brut or cava recommended)
3/4 oz. Coca-Cola gastrique*
2 dashes Regan’s Orange Bitters #6
Lemon twist

  • Pour the gastrique and the bitters into a Champagne flute
  • Top with 5 ounces of sparkling wine
  • Garnish with a lemon twist
*In a medium saucepot, add equal parts Coca-Cola ClassicTM, sorghum syrup, and cider vinegar. Reduce by two thirds. Remove from heat and cool before using.

Best has been credited with kick-starting the craft cocktail movement in Atlanta with his work behind the bar at the award-winning Restaurant Eugene and Holeman & Finch Public House and the newly opened H+F Bottle Shop.

Cocktail fans can partake in a variety of spirited Festival attractions over the course of the three-day epicurean weekend, including an eye-opening Breakfast Cocktails seminar with Neil Bodenheimer from Cure; the seasonally- and locally-inspired Farm to Cocktail with Todd Thrasher from PX; and an examination of all things moonshine at White Lightnin’ with NASCAR legend Junior Johnson, Brian Call and Joe Michalek from Piedmont Distillers.

To purchase tickets to the Atlanta Food & Wine Festival, visit For news about the festival, follow and

Friday, April 1, 2011

Vidalia Onions Start Shipping April 18!

Time to get those favorite recipes for Vidalia Onions dusted off and ready to use.

According to several sources, Georgia Commissioner of Agriculture Gary Black has announced the opening of the shipping season for Vidalia onions as April 18.

I can't decide.  Should I have Vidalia Onion Pie first or a broiled Vidalia Onion drizzled with butter and cheese?

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Flavor of Georgia contest winners announced

The names themselves are enough to make your mouth water: Pear Honey Jam, Sweet Savannah Shrimp Cakes, ‘Blue Heaven’ Blueberry Gourmet BBQ Sauce...

These are a few of the winners in the 2011 Flavor of Georgia contest. Winners were announced Tuesday, March 22, at Georgia Agriculture Day at the Georgia Freight Depot in downtown Atlanta.

The annual contest is conducted by the University of Georgia Center for Agribusiness and Economic Development (UGA CAED).

Capturing the top prize this year were Emily Myers and Gina Bodell of Dunwoody. Their business, Jam of Love, makes 24 different flavors of jam ranging from Rhubarb Marmalade to Tipsy Onion and Garlic. The pair’s products can be found in more than 100 stores nationwide or purchased online at

Myers and Bodell were awarded the title of Grand Champion at a ceremony led by Gov. Nathan Deal and Georgia Agriculture Commissioner Gary W. Black.

Pear Honey Jam was one of 21 products sampled and judged by a panel of food brokers, buyers and other food industry experts. Contestants were awarded points based on flavor, Georgia theme, unique or innovative qualities, commercial appeal and originality. Finalists were chosen from 89 entries from all across Georgia.

This year’s category winners were:

Barbecue and Hot Sauces – Kenneth Dasher of Hogwaller BBQ Sauce in Hoboken, won with Hogwaller ‘Blue Heaven’ Blueberry Gourmet BBQ Sauce.

Confections – Beth Cleveland of Cleveland Organics in Fort Valley, won with Coffee Toffee.

Dairy – Nicki Schroeder of High Road Craft Ice Cream & Sorbet in Atlanta won with Caffeine and Cacao ice cream.

Jams, Jellies and Sauces – Emily Myers and Gina Bodell of Emily G's in Dunwoody won with Emily G’s Jam of Love: Pear Honey Jam.

Meat and Seafood – Linda Whiddon of Dubberly’s Seafood in Savannah won with Sweet Savannah Shrimp Cakes.

Snack Foods – Beth Cleveland of Cleveland Organics in Fort Valley, won with Twisted Pecans.

Other Products – Marco Martinez of 100% Artisan Foods LLC in Atlanta won with Jalapeno Tamales.

The people’s choice winner was Lauri Jo Bennett of Lauri Jo’s Southern Style Canning in Norman Park, for Lauri Jo’s Blueberry Pepper Jelly.

Winners and finalists earn the right to have their products stamped with the 2011 Flavor of Georgia logo.

“This contest is an excellent way to spread the news about Georgia specialty foods. It helps increase sales and helps promote the Georgia brand,” said Commissioner Black.

The Commissioner also had the opportunity to sample some of the winners. “Everything was delicious. I am so thankful to live in Georgia – a state that produces a wide diversity of fruits, vegetables and meats and that has a rich culinary heritage. These winners are artists as well as entrepreneurs.”

The annual food contest is sponsored by the UGA CAED in partnership with the office of Governor Nathan Deal, Georgia Department of Agriculture, Georgia Agribusiness Council, Center of Innovation for Agribusiness, Walton EMC and the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences Department of Food Science and Technology.

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